Book Review: Malorie by Josh Malerman (4/5)

8 Aug

I made no secret of my love for Bird Box. Malerman is local to the Detroit area and I found a virtual event last year to hear him speak about his books and discovered that he was publishing a sequel, Malorie. I was pumped! I’ve made good progress in ebooks lately so I was excited to pick this one up and surprised myself with how fast I sped through it.

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Cover image via Amazon

Malorie (Bird Box #2) by Josh Malerman

Other books by Malerman reviewed on this blog:

Bird Box (and Book Club Reflection and Movie Review)
A House at the Bottom of a Lake

Summary from Amazon:

Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. One glimpse of the creatures that stalk the world will drive a person to unspeakable violence.

There remains no explanation. No solution.

All Malorie can do is survive – and impart her fierce will to do so on her children. Don’t get lazy, she tells them. Don’t take off your blindfold. And don’t look.

But then comes what feels like impossible news. And with it, the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope.

Someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive.

Malorie has already lost so much: her sister, a house full of people who meant everything, and any chance at an ordinary life. But getting her life back means returning to a world full of unknowable horrors – and risking the lives of her children again.

Because the creatures are not the only thing Malorie fears: There are the people who claim to have caught and experimented on the creatures. Murmerings of monstrous inventions and dangerous new ideas. And rumors that the creatures themselves have changed into something even more frightening.

Malorie has a harrowing choice to make: to live by the rules of survival that have served her so well, or to venture into the darkness and reach for hope once more.

It was so hard not to picture Sandra Bullock when reading this. She was an amazing Malorie in the movie. I felt like this story was very consistent with the first book. It takes place only a short time after the first book ends and pushes the characters into another tense situation. The world they were in was so dangerous that it was hard to think there was a happy ending to the first book. The characters had hope, but it was so fragile. I liked where this one went. I thought it was a realistic way for the world to develop. The division between those who were surviving, thriving, and rebelling was stark and felt real to me.

Reading this one as a mother, I can see why Malorie is as nervous and conservative as she is. The people who we see portrayed as rebels don’t have children from what we know. The burden of keeping another person alive has crushed Malorie into being a different person than she was before the Creatures showed up. She’s lost her identity because she can’t relax and get it back. Her survival mode instincts are strong.

I grew to love Olympia. She’s torn between her deep love for her mother and her connection with her brother. One wants to hold close and the other push away. The revelations about her at the end were heartbreaking and made her my favorite character. I was able to think back through the story and trace times that I could have figured out her secrets, but they were artfully subtle and made for a great reveal.

I related to Malorie’s protective nature over her kids. I would do anything for my Baby and I know who I’ve been since they were born is different than the person I was before. Having a Baby during COVID is different than Malorie’s situation, but I was able to draw some parallels in the precautions I had to take and my distrust of strangers who might inadvertently harm my baby. Mama Bear instincts are strong.

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Josh Malerman Image via Nelson Literary Agency

The train was an amazing part of the story. The details of how it got going were really fun and knowing Michigan geography as well as I do, I could picture it so easily. I loved the visual and the appeal of a blind train. It was so original and so fun to read.

Some spoilers here about my least favorite part so skip to the next paragraph to avoid those. I thought the ending was a bit too clean. Tom’s invention working right away and Malorie’s father being in Indian River seemed to clean up the story a little too fast. I felt it would be more realistic if the glasses didn’t work for everyone or they left and were able to find her father further on the rail line.

Parent-child relationships are complicated at best. In the world Malorie lives in, they’re insane. She’s had to sacrifice so much of herself to keep Tom and Olympia alive that she doesn’t recognize herself anymore. Tom is so resentful of how protective Malorie is that he doesn’t recognize the safety she provides. Now that I have a kiddo, I can see how they’ve changed me and how I’m not the version of myself I was when I got pregnant. I can also see their little personality flourishing and how, even now, they don’t want me being around and helping or keeping them safe when they want to explore and learn. And we don’t have creatures to worry about.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think Malerman was smart to revisit Malorie. It might seem like a cash grab, I know. I did listen to a talk he gave during the lockdown where he said he wrote this book because he couldn’t get Malorie out of his head and wanted to tell more of her story. Bird Box ended with a happier state than it began, but it was still not a goods state of the world. This book wrapped that up better, even if I did have some issues with it as stated above. I think he’d be hard pressed for a third book, but this second was a nice way of ending things.

An enjoyable read that I sped through. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the ‘Future’ time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.When Are You Reading? 2022 Progress

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Malorie by Josh Malerman | Bookworktopia
Malorie by Josh Malerman | Book Review | Callum McLaughlin
Review: Malorie by Josh Malerman | Obsessed with Fairy Tales
[REVIEW] Malorie- by Josh Malerman | Aiden Merchant
Malorie: A Review of the Bird Box Sequel | The Kate at Night

WWW Wednesday, 3-August-2022

3 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


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Currently reading: I’m still moving forward in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton though I’ve slowed down for sure. I know this story so well that I’m not motivated to find out what comes next which I think is keeping me from pushing forward as fast as I would with a new read.
I made some pretty good progress in Dollface by Renée Rosen. I’m about 3/4 done now so I’m hoping this one wraps up soon and I’ll get to a new audiobook shortly!
I started Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner as an ebook. I’m a little hesitant to dive into this one because I remember not being a huge fan of Faulkner in high school. Though I think knowing there was a project at the end deterred me from enjoying it. I’m not far in now and so far, it seems a little dense to be reading while the Baby is falling asleep, but we’ll see if that changes.

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Recently finished: I flew through Malorie by Josh Malerman much faster than I expected to! It was a thrilling pace and I enjoyed a lot about this book. Malerman has been knocking it out of the park for me this year and I’m loving that. I’m working on the review still. I gave it Four out of Five Stars

I was able to post my review of Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab and illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri! I’m not great at reading and reviewing graphic novels so this was a bit of a challenge, but I still enjoyed it. I gave the series Three out of Five Stars.

Reading next: 
My next audiobook is going to be Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. It’s been a bit since I’ve read anything in space so I’m looking forward to this one!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince (Vol 1-3) by V.E. Schwab (3/5)

28 Jul

After reading the Shades of Magic series, I was intrigued by another story set in the same universe. I’m not great with graphic novels because I tend to skim the pictures and just read the words, but I thought I’d give this a try. It was a good thing to pick up and ready while Baby was falling asleep, even if it was hard to read on my phone at times. I got faster at it and ended up blowing through the first volume in two days. I thought I’d finish the collection before reviewing it here.

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Cover image via Amazon

Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince Volumes 1-3 by V.E. Schwab

Other books by Schwab reviewed on this blog:
A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

Summary from Amazon:

Delve into the thrilling, epic tale of the young and arrogant Prince Maxim Maresh, long before he became the King of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic.

The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape.

It’s been about three years since I finished this series so I didn’t remember a lot of detail about King Maxim. This book didn’t require that I knew a lot since it was a backstory and I enjoyed a relatively fresh slate in a very rich world that I knew well. It was nice not to have to set up the magic that existed and be able to jump right to the story. The stories were a little more surface than I’d hoped for, but appropriate to the graphic novel format. The artwork was also superb. I enjoyed these, but I didn’t fall in love like I did with the original trilogy.

Maxim was so confident and cocky that it was hard for me to believe he was real. But the character I remember from the original series was also cold and distant so this version of him, a boy who had to be hardened, made some sense. He became a little less likeable and believable in Volume 2 but I liked him by Volume 3. His relationship with Isra was really great to develop and I liked that character a lot.

Isra was a great character, but she didn’t get quite the amount of ‘screen time’ I would have liked. She was very much a side kick and a great source of backstory. She was most involved in Volume 1 and I would have liked to see more of her in the other volumes since we know she and Maxim become very good friends. It felt like she was planned into the first story, but was almost forgotten about after that.

I could empathize with Maxim in the second volume when he felt he had to prove himself to earn respect. I’ve felt that way when I come into a new situation, whether it be a job, a social group, or a community. I’ve never put my life at risk the way he did, but I could understand why he felt compelled to do so.

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V.E. Schwab Image via EW

The Night of Knives, Volume 2, was my favorite. I liked the idea of a magical tool to test yourself. It reminded me a bit of the Divergent series when the characters would take a serum to test their fears. I liked the magical take on it instead of future science.

I was expecting a little more of the Rebel Army in volume 3. Rowan is built to be such a big villain and he’s able to cause so much destruction. It seemed to be rather easy to defeat them. I wish it was a little more of a struggle which I think would have been realistic.

Rather than talk about the narrator as I do for audiobooks, I want to talk about the illustrator. Andrea Olimpieri was the main illustrator and I liked the art for the most part. There were times I struggled to determine who the character was became some scenes were very dark and a few of the characters looked alike. I think he did a great job with the color scheme and the clothing for the characters. Sometimes the clothing was more helpful at figuring out who someone was than the faces!

King Nokil sent Maxim to Verose to teach him to lead and I think that was accomplished across these three stories. I’m not sure if there’s need for a fourth volume or if one is in the works. Maxim starts as arrogant and it doesn’t serve him well. He learns to lead and earn respect and is tested in the end. The story has a nice arc overall and I did enjoy revisiting the world of the Shades of Magic.

Writer’s Takeaway: I read that Schwab wrote these plots from one line of dialogue in the original trilogy and the idea of that is amazing to me. She thought so much about her characters and what made them the way they are that she could write a comic series about it. I think it’s wonderful to see her still living in the Shades of Magic world and exploring it so deeply. It can seem like a bit of a ‘cash grab’ to publish prequels and sequels to a series as successful as hers was, but I like that she took a very different approach by switching to comics for this release.

I enjoyed this overall but I’m going to stand by saying that comics aren’t my thing. Three out of Five Stars.

This book/comic series fulfills the 1700-1799 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Review | The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab & Andrea Olimpieri (Shades of Magic Vol. 1) | Servillas Speaks
Graphic Novel Book Review: THE SHADES OF MAGIC COMICS by V.E. Schwab | Sifa Elizabeth Reads
V.E. Schwab and Andrea Olimpieri – The Steel Prince | SFF Book Reviews
The Steel Prince by VE Schwab | the words gremlin

WWW Wednesday, 27-July-2022

27 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


44510181Currently reading: I made a little progress with Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton but with a sick Baby at home, I’ve been collapsing into bed at night instead of reading before I shut off the light. Hopefully, things will turn around and they’ll be on the mend and I’ll be back to reading.
I’ve been keeping a good pace with Dollface by Renée Rosen. I’ll be on this one for a while, but it’s not going to be here forever. I’m hoping once my partner is fully recovered, I can run more and it will move faster.
I picked up Malorie by Josh Malerman a little sooner than I thought I would. It was a struggle to read a comic while holding the baby, so I picked this up to have something where it was easier to change font size. It’s a good adventure so far. I’ll see if I can keep up the pace!

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Recently finished: I did wrap up Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab and illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri! I enjoyed the backstory of Maxim and the adventure in this book, but I’m still not sure comics are a format for me. I tend to read the text and turn the page without really looking at the art enough. I’m not good at slowing down and appreciating that much. I’m a bit backed up on reviews but I know I’ll get to this one soon!

I was also able to post my review of Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I absolutely loved it and gave it Five out of Five stars. Please pop over and read my thoughts!

51mXdAaJ+lLReading next: It’s hard to guess what I’ll need next, an ebook or an audiobook. If it’s an ebook, I’ll probably pick up Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. I’ve had this on my list for a while and while I own a physical copy, I’m likely to get to an ebook sooner.
If it’s an audiobook, I’m likely to go for Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols. I’ve had this on my list or ages so it would be great to finally knock it out!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) (5/5)

25 Jul

I was a little hesitant to get into this because I’d heard there was some controversy about it being anti-trans. I also didn’t want to stop reading a series I’ve become so heavily vested in, so I pushed forward with caution. While I listened to audiobooks of the first four, I decided to do this one as an ebook while I nursed or rocked Baby to sleep. I haven’t looked forward to rocking them down so much in their life. I couldn’t wait to read a few pages of this book. I stayed up way too late one night to figure out the culprit and regretted the loss of sleep the next day. But it was sooooo good.

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Cover image via Amazon

Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike #5) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Other books by Rowling reviewed on this blog:

The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y las reliquias de muerte by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling

Summary from Amazon:

Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough – who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one 40 years old. But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on; adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.

As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer, and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly…

OK, wow. This one had me on the edge of my seat. I can’t remember the last time I read a book this long this quickly. The character building was great, the pacing was amazing, and the mystery was complex and enjoyable. I thought I might not enjoy this as much as an ebook as I did an audiobook, but I might have enjoyed it more. Though I had a narrator’s voice in my head the whole time.

I wanted to address the anti-trans opinions in this book. From what I read online, those who were upset were upset because of a character who is a serial killer and would dress in woman’s clothing to lure his victims into his van or home. This character himself is not transgender. I can understand why this is upsetting to some readers. I do want to share my opinion on the portrayal in this book only. This was a very minor part of the killer’s backstory and he himself is not transgendered. I barley noticed the few times this was referenced. It had minor impacts on the plot or even that character. I don’t feel there was a purposeful attempt to shame or slander the transgender community with the inclusion of this character and backstory. However, I know I’m speaking from the position of a cisgender woman and those with a different background might see it differently.

One of my favorite things about this series is how real Robin and Strike feel to me. I can see them being people I’d run into on the street. Robin has always felt very relatable and I often think “Yep, that’s what I would do” while we’re in her head. The cast of side characters are equally enjoyable and distinct in their own right.

Irene was one of my favorite side characters because she was so well drawn. I could picture someone just like her (and she reminded me of someone in my family at times). I didn’t think she was purposefully malicious, but she struck me as untrustworthy more than once. Well, we find out why but I won’t dive into that. Rowling/Galbraith has a way of describing people that are so real it’s almost hard to read about them. I was laughing through most of her interview.

I haven’t shared many experiences with the characters in this book, but I always seem to feel for Robin. Matthew always felt like a combination of all my horrible ex-boyfriends and her exasperation when dealing with him felt very real to me. In earlier books, we were around the same age and a lot of the familial pressures she shared were similar to ones I’d felt. My job is just less exciting.

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J.K. Rowling Image via Biography

The reveal at the end was wonderfully done. (No spoilers, I promise.) The way it was revealed, you got some answers you didn’t expect before you got the answer to the ‘Who’ part of the mystery. The pacing was just excellent. I stayed up WAY later than I should have one night to finish the chapter where everything was explained. It was a masterful display and I adored it.

The sub-plot with Saul Morris bothered me the most. He felt so icky and I don’t have better words to describe that. It seemed a bit out of place in the book and I have to imagine it’s a set-up for a future book, but it left me feeling put off. I almost hope he doesn’t turn up again.

A lot of people in this book were not listed to or believed. No one believed Brian Tucker’s theories about his daughter’s disappearance. No one believed many of the eye witnesses about what they’d seen on the night Margot disappeared. Few people believed Roy when he gave his account of the day. And no one believed the Athorn family and what they said. Many of the frustrations in this book seem to be from people who spent years not being listened to and they’re so happy Strike is finally taking them seriously.

Writer’s Takeaway: As with the other Strike books I’ve read, I wasn’t able to figure them out before everything was revealed. Honestly, I’m OK with that. I enjoyed the ride and when everything was presented, I remembered all of the evidence being readily available and in front of my eyes if I’d cared to look at it the way Strike did. I don’t write mysteries and I’m not sure I could. The way Galbraith/Rowling has layered them together is wonderful and enjoyable and I can only aspire to that level of nuance and subtlety.

A wonderfully fun book to read. Five out of Five Stars. This kickstarted my reading again.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Post:
Book Review: Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith | Richard Fox’s blog

WWW Wednesday, 20-July-2022

20 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


91m+9RkhGfLCurrently reading: Because of a push to finish other books, I didn’t make much progress in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton. I’m hoping to get back to it a bit more now. I love this story and it’s helping me practice some new vocabulary and utilize some language skills I haven’t had to use for a while.
I made a respectable amount of progress in Dollface by Renée Rosen. Some of the book has been predictable, which is a bit of a shame, but I’m still enjoying the setting and some of the characters. I hope I can keep pushing forward in this one.
I was able to start Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab and illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri. Reading a comic on my phone hasn’t been as hard as I thought! Yes, it’s a bit of pinching and zooming, but it’s still very doable while rocking a baby to sleep. I believe there are three volumes out and I’m hoping to read all three before I write a review.

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Recently finished: I stayed up way later than I should have to finish Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). It was hard to concentrate at work one day with this hanging over my head so I figured I’d be better of with a late night to wrap it up and I’m glad I did in the end. It was a great ending. I’ll have a lot more to say in a review but I’m not sure how soon that will be up. I hope soon! I gave the book Five out of Five Stars.

44510181Reading next: It’s crazy to think I’ll need another ebook so soon, but I’m flying through this comic! I think I’ll pick up another Josh Malerman book next, Malorie. I know I just read one of his books, but I had a lot on my TBR and I feel like I’m flying through it lately! Just got to keep rolling.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 13-July-2022

13 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


15850930Currently reading: I made okay progress in Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton but have stalled out because I’ve been prioritizing my ebook. It’s probably better for my eyes to read this one before bed, but my heart is telling me to pick other things.
I’m absolutely loving Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I’ve read it while feeding the baby, while rocking them, before bed, and at any spare second I have. This is my first time reading a Strike book instead of listening and I was worried it would feel slow but this is quite the opposite.
I was able to start Dollface by Renée Rosen on audio and I’m making descent progress. I’m not quite yet at the main action so I’m waiting to see what that will look like. I’m enjoying the ride so far!

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Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Into White by Randi Pink late last week. It was okay, but it had some elements too it that took me out and there were times I felt the book was trying to do too much. My review went up on Monday. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

I also finished another review! I posted my review for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling on Thursday. This was a bit of a disappointment, but I hadn’t enjoyed the movie so I wasn’t expecting a lot. I gave it Three out of Five Stars as well.

91m+9RkhGfLReading next: I’m nervous to do this, but I’m going to try reading a comic on my phone. I’m going with Shades of Magic Vol 1: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab and illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri. I’m nervous about the small screen and large pictures and how that will go. I hope well, but we’ll see!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Into White by Randi Pink (3/5)

11 Jul

This is an audiobook I got for free as part of a summer reading/listening program at my library. I’ve liked some of these books but none have hit it out of the park for me so I was skeptical going in. I probably didn’t give it the fair assessment it deserved. But I still think I’m right in saying this book has some issues that could have easily been fixed and made the book more enjoyable.

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Cover image via Amazon

Into White by Randi Pink

Summary from Amazon:

LaToya Williams lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. It seems as if her only friend is her older brother, Alex. Toya doesn’t know where she fits in, but after a run-in with another student, she wonders if life would be different if she were . . . different. And then a higher power answers her prayer: to be “anything but black.”

Toya is suddenly white, blond, and popular. Now what?

This book had a lot going for it. It had some strong points to make about race, class, and gender. There were points in this book that gave me bad flashbacks to high school because they felt accurate. However, there were some points that were too much for me. I felt the way Pink worked Jesus into the story as a character was inconsistent. Toya goes from disbelief to acceptance to a very casual and angry attitude very quickly and that upset me. I thought the book tried to put almost too much into such a short story and I felt a bit overwhelmed at times, too. Let me get into this more.

The characters here felt well drawn and credible. Toya and her family were great. I loved her parents and Alex. A lot of YA books either ignore or villainize parents and Pink did neither of those. Her mother and father were very distinct characters and I liked seeing the development of their characters and how they interacted with their children. Alex was a great character and I thought his progression seemed logical. The other students were great, too, and their catty attitudes reminded me of high school. Deante bothered me just a little because I don’t like the idea of ‘Boys are mean to you because they like you.’ I don’t want to teach a girl to think that. If a boy is mean, don’t be friends with him. If you’re a boy who likes a girl, be nice to her. Why can’t we push that narrative?

I liked Alex best as a character. Toya was a bit of a yoyo at times with her emotional state and it seemed overexaggerated. Alex was more level headed, even when he was being a rebellious teenager. I was a little thrown off by his desire to be popular and fit in at the beginning because it seemed to fade pretty quickly. After finishing the book, that seemed more like an out-of-place blip compared to his character the rest of the book.

While I didn’t relate to Toya’s feelings of rejection based on race, I experienced feelings of rejection in high school because of how I looked and dressed. I know I’m probably not the first woman who was teased for being pudgy, having glasses and braces and dressing in ‘uncool’ clothes but that doesn’t make it hurt less. I was never one of the twins or in that social circle by any means. Like Toya, I wondered what it would be like to be a ‘popular kid’ for a few days. If this any indication, maybe it’s best I never found out.

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Randi Pink Image via Goodreads

I was on a run when I listed to the part about Alex fighting Josh and that honestly pumped me up for the rest of my run. Alex was such a good older brother and the fact that he got in a fight to defend her made me like her more. I don’t encourage violence, don’t get me wrong. I probably wouldn’t have done with Alex did. But I respected him for that being his only fight.

Please read this whole paragraph before jumping on my back. I didn’t like that Jesus was a character in this book. When he first appeared, I was weary because I thought it would make the lesson feel a little heavy handed which is something I feel a good YA book avoids. In the end, it did feel heavy handed so my fears were founded. The second reason I didn’t like it was that Toya’s attitude toward him fluctuated wildly and it felt inconsistent. If it was a less divine character, it would have felt even more odd. I felt that her change could have either been unexplained or Jesus could have been a voice instead of a physical character. Especially if that character is going to borrow stranger’s cars to go joy riding and talk about the virtues of the Twilight series.

The audiobook was narrated by Adenrele Ojo. I liked how she voiced Toya and her family. She let silly elements of them feel like caricatures without it feeling belittling. I loved how serious the family got about Unsolved Mysteries. There was a wide cast in this book and I felt Ojo gave them all a good voice.

Toya longed to be someone different and felt her life would be improved if she changed. Though a bit heavy handed, she saw that. She saw how beautiful her life was as is and how cosmetic changes don’t change who you are as a person. And, as always, the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. I thought the lessons in this were a bit run-of-the-mill but Pink did have a unique approach to it.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think Pink wanted to do too much with this book. Throwing in racial-based ideas of beauty with rape and social cliques and religion started to feel overwhelming. I wish she’d focused a little more so she could dive into one or two of these topics instead of feeling like I was drinking from a firehose a few times.

Overall, an enjoyable book but nothing that blew me away. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
REVIEW: Into White by Randi Pink | The Neverending TBR
The Debut Club: An Interview with Randi Pink | The 2017 Debuts

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling (3/5)

7 Jul

I went into this with mixed feelings. I saw the movie on opening night because I was so excited for a new Wizarding World story. I left highly disappointed. I got the screenplay thinking that maybe reading it would help me understand it better. I’m not sure it did. I don’t have plans to see the third movie at this time and I’m thinking I’ll wait until I can stream it.

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Cover image via Amazon

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts #2) by J.K. Rowling

Other books by Rowling reviewed on this blog:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y las reliquias de muerte by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Summary from Amazon:

At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world. This second original screenplay from J.K. Rowling, illustrated with stunning line art from MinaLima, expands on earlier events that helped shape the wizarding world, with some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of both the books and films.

It’s been a few years since I saw this movie but I don’t think I’d forgotten much. This story feel very flat for me. There was almost no character development and what we do get seems a bit too far from what we learned in the first film. Queenie’s logic makes almost no sense, Newt and Tina’s relationship doesn’t develop at all, and Jacob adds no humor to the story. Maybe it’s Middle Book Syndrome. Or maybe the writing just wasn’t that great this time around.

Queenie sticks out in this book for seeming inconsistent with her previous self. Jacob has somehow overcome a spell that was not reversible in the original series and now Queenie is willing to do morally questionable things to marry Jacob. Where did this person come from? Her decision at the end is even more illogical as she thinks Grindelwald will somehow make it so she and Jacob can be together after he explicitly calls Muggles ‘other’ from Wizards. How she sees this playing out, I can’t understand.

Honestly, Grindelwald was my favorite character in this book. He was the only one who got some real character development. While he’s a total jerk and a big ol’ baddie, we’re introduced to him and what he wants and how he plans to get it. Maybe I’ll see the next movie when it goes to streaming just to see what happens to him.

None of the characters were very relatable. Credence might be to some, but I didn’t relate to him much. Newt’s odd crush on his brother’s fiancée was a bit odd and gave some relatable feelings of pining after someone you can’t have, but the relationship between he and Leta was very poorly defined and it wasn’t clear if there had ever been anything between them and how she came to be engaged to Theseus.

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J.K. Rowling Image via Biography

There wasn’t a part of this story that stuck out to me and that I enjoyed. In the movie, the circus was fun visually, but that fell flat in the screen play. I also got frustrated at Nagini’s character so that wasn’t helping anything. Again, might be Middle Book Syndrome, but I was a bit bored.

The ending of this one frustrated me for two reasons. One was Queenie deciding to join Grindelwald. The logic the story used to make this seem plausible was paper thin to me. After knowing Queenie from the first book, it was very out of character. It might have worked if it was earlier in our acquaintance with her, but at this point it took me out of the story. The second was revealing that Credence is a Dumbledore. I’m not sure what to think of this at all. Part of me wonders if it’s true and part of me thinks it’s one of Grindelwald’s lies. Either way, it upset a lot of fans of the original series who are already upset about the original timeline being ignored completely. I’ll have to see how it plays out in the next books, but I don’t know if this will ever be recoverable to me.

Credence wants to know who he is and wants to feel important. It’s similar to Harry at the beginning of the first book. There’s something about him that makes him believe he doesn’t fit in and wants to know what it is. As Harry learns about his wizarding family, Credence similarly looks for answers. Whereas the original series shows us how Harry can fight against Voldemort for what is right, this series shows us a contrast where Credence is taken under the wing of someone who wants to use him to fight. Harry and Credence are easily foils of each other.

Writer’s Takeaway: In an effort to bring in elements of the original series that readers enjoyed, this story suffers from having too much surface level elements that don’t get to the heart of the story. It’s fun to see Flamel as a character, but it would have been better to learn the backstory of Newt and Leta. Seeing Nagini as a woman is cool, but having an accurate timeline of when McGonagall was teaching would be better. This tries too hard to appease fans without trying to win new ones.

An overall disappointment but possibly setting up a great ending? Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay | Stephen Writes
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald | The Original Screenplay | Fantastic Beasts #2 | Lost in Fiction
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald | The Humpo Show

WWW Wednesday, 6-July-2022

6 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


51807232Currently reading: I’ve stalled some on Into White by Randi Pink. My partner had surgery and I’m not getting much time to myself between him and baby needing something all the time. I’ll get back to this when I can but life is getting in the way.
I have been able to make some time before bed to read Rebeldes (The Outsiders) by S.E. Hinton. I’ve tried to make this a priority to read a few pages and it’s going better than expected!
I’ve been able to make a routine of reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) while I rock the baby to sleep and it’s working well! I’m almost 20% of the way through already. This is the first Strike novel I haven’t listened to and I feel like I’m reading it in Simon Vance’s voice anyway.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished, I’m afraid. With how big of a week I had last week, I’m not surprised. I did get my review of True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Caray posted. It was an OK read, but didn’t blow me out of the water. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

15850930Reading next: I’m looking forward to Dollface by Renée Rosen for my next audiobook. It’s been a while since I read a 1920s novel so I’m looking forward to that.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.