Sunday, December 10, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN! Mini College Review: Snowpiercer: The Escape by Jacques Lob

Title: Snowpiercer: The Escape
Series: Transperceneige #1
Author: Jacques Lob
Illustrator: Jacques Lob
Format: Paperback, 110 pages
Pub. Date: June 10th 2014
Source: Amazon

Book Description:

Snowpiercer is the enthralling and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic graphic novel that inspired the critically acclaimed movie starring Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four). Originally published in French, this marks the first time that Snowpiercer will be available in English.

In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice.

The surviving community are not without a social hierarchy; those that travel at the front of the train live in relative luxury whilst those unfortunate enough to be at the rear remain clustered like cattle in claustrophobic darkness. Yet, things are about to change aboard the train as passengers become disgruntled...
The movie Snowpiercer, due for release in 2014, is directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host) and is already causing a stir with parallels to 1984 and Animal Farm.



This is a book that I had to read for my apocalyptic fiction course in college.

One thing I liked about my literature courses is that it forced me to read books that I'd normally never pick up for myself, or that I'd never heard even heard of. This is one of those titles.

Translated from French, this is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic graphic novel. I adored the concept: the world has gone to hell in a handbasket, and the way to save humanity is thanks to the inventor of the Snowpiercer train. This train houses all of humanity and it never stops: ever. If it stops, they'll freeze and die. Like all dystopian novels, there's a hierarchy. The very front cars of the train are for the rich and the elite, and it gets worse as you go farther along. The back is terrible, full of violence, and no one really cares about them. They're not allowed to travel upward in the train.

Except for the protagonist, of course, who gets fed up with the upper crust of the train, and takes matters into his own hand.

The actual writing leaves a lot to be desired. It's awkward and choppy, and it doesn't always make the best of sense. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the author, and how much of it is caused by the translation. The characters aren't as developed as they could be, and because of the jagged nature of the writing, the pace is off. Sometimes it's boring and slow, other times it's crazy fast.

The artwork was okay, but not to my taste. It's typical "old school" style comic art, which is boring. Especially with all the white space, because, the world is full of snow.

It's worth a read though, and even if you don't decide to read it, you should check out the movie Snowpiercer. It's not without its flaws, but it was entertaining and worth a go.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Release Week Blitz & Giveaway: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron


Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
by Erica Cameron

presented by Entangled Teen!

Grab your copy today!


Congratulations Erica!




Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
by Erica Cameron
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen


Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | Kobo | iBooks







Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads


Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**
* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers
* A $20 Visa gift card
* A swag pack
**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Christmas Recipes From Five of Your Favorite Authors by Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Jennifer Chambers & Elle Medler

Title: Christmas Recipes From Five of Your Favorite Authors
Authors: Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Jennifer Chambers & Elle Medler
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 2nd 2017
Source: Author

Book Description:

5 Incredible Authors — 50 Amazing Recipes

What's better than sharing some favorite recipes for the holiday season? It brings together family traditions and love.

There is a recipe for everyone. Including: vegetarian, vegan, main courses, side dishes, drinks, and of course luscious desserts.



What I like best about this book is that it's normal recipes for normal people. And what I mean by that, is that it's all approachable with easy to find ingredients and equipment that most of us have in our homes already. I like that.

It very much feels like it's a book of recipes handed over personally by these authors. It reminds me of the ring-bound books that you can buy used from like, Girl Scouts troops or book clubs. I feel like these recipes are well loved and it makes me more excited to try them.

There's a lot of variety in the recipes here. There's everything from entrees and desserts to sides, and even how to make your own pickles. There's also some drink recipes that, if your family is like mine, will be well used during the holidays. If you have some dietary restrictions, these lovely ladies have you covered. There are vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten free recipes.

The steps are short and to the point, and easy to follow.

There are photos of every dish, which I appreciate. Some photos are better than others, but I appreciate them regardless.

Some of the recipes that sounded the most delicious to me include Whiskey Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Snowdrift Bliss, and Tutti Fruitti Real Fruit Cheesecake.

If you're a fan of any of these authors, or are looking for something new to cook this season, this is a good place to start. I bookmarked quite a few dishes to try out this season, and I think you'd find some you like too.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: North by Brontë Aurell

Title: North: How to Live Scandinavian
Author: Brontë Aurell
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 7th 2017
Source: Aurum Press

Book Description:

Why are Scandinavians constantly topping the happiness table? How do you get more Scandi-style in your life? Just how do you use lagom? Whether you want your apartment to look like it belongs in Copenhagen, to workout like a Norwegian or to make cinnamon buns like a Swede, this is the ultimate insider’s guide to the countries of the north.

Full of inspiration and ideas, how-tos and recipes to help you experience the very best of Scandinavian design, philosophy, cookery and culture, this honest behind-the-scenes look at the culture provides an invaluable insight into the wonderful and visually stunning world of Scandinavia. Like her viking ancestors before her, Brontë Aurell left Denmark to explore the world beyond home shores and in her travels has come to understand the fascination with her kinfolk, as well as seeing the idiosyncrasies of the Scandinavian lifestyle that locals take for granted.

With a signature wit and a keen eye for detail, she takes you on a journey through fjords and mountains, farmlands and cities to better understand these three nations and what makes each one so unique. So get outdoors, learn the life lesson that there's no such thing as bad weather (only bad clothing) and you may discover your inner Scandi sooner than you think.



I really enjoy reading cultural books. I'd like to think that they help to make the world feel just a little bit smaller, and a little more connected. Surprisingly enough, I don't think I've ever read a book on Scandinavia. This is weird, because I have a strong love of Norway. Also, because growing up around the American Northern Midwest, you grow up with some familiar Scandinavian words and customs. (I'm looking at you, Minnesota and Wisconsin!)

This book is divided into smaller sections that include: What is Scandinavia?, Style, At the Table, Life Outside, Family Life, Culture, and Celebrations.

I love the tone of this book. It's very playful. There's a lot of information here, about a lot of different places and countries and customs, but it never, even for one page, feels like a text book or a bland travel guide. The author has a fantastic sense of story telling that makes you feel like you're at the table with them, listening about their experiences. It has strong dashes of humor and there's jokes made at all of the countries' expense in turn.

This is a good crash course for the region. There's information about values and aesthetics and the differences between regions and countries. Perhaps my favorite part, this also includes recipes.

This is a lovely, quick read that will make you want to visit the area soon for yourself. The photos are gorgeous, the tone is clever, and there is just so much charm.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mini Review: Our Love Grows by Anna Pignataro

Title: Our Love Grows
Author: Anna Pignataro
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: 2016
Source: Sourcebooks

Book Description:

In the deep green forest, Pip asked,
"Mama, when will I be big?"

Pip is an adorable, roly-poly little panda who sees the world changing and growing. But Pip is feeling a bit left behind. Luckily Mama is there to show playful and curious Pip that, like the trees in the forest and the stars in the sky, he's growing and changing too. And no matter how much Pip grows, the one thing that will never change is how much Mama loves him!



This is a very cute book.

I really liked that the book rhymed. Those were always my favorite books as a child, and the trend continues now that I'm an adult looking at children's books.

The story is a sweet one, that asks the question, "Mama, when will I be big?" Mom explains that he is growing like so many other things around him, and that as he grows so too does her love for him each and every day.

It's a simple book that's a fast read, but I think it makes for a sweet bedtime story.

The illustrations are gorgeous water color type paintings that are beautiful to look at, compliment the story well, and give the book a soothing sort of feel to it.

I think it's good for small children and it's a picture book that I don't think I'd get tired of reading on repeat.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Review: The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Title: The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: December 19th 2017
Source: Cleis Press

Book Description:

Whether you are simply curious about submission or regularly revel in the delights of BDSM, these sixty-nine erotic short stories about submissives will turn you on! From participating in a musical recital that takes a very kinky turn to making a grocery run while using sex toys to indulging in a risqué office encounter during working hours, these subs delight in obeying (or deliberately disobeying) their masters and mistresses in public and in private. They are rewarded and punished in the most wicked of ways that will leave you breathless. Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, with stories by Selena Kitt, Jade A. Waters, Dorothy Freed, and Sommer Marsden among other talented writers, The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 offers arousing tales that delve deep into the thrills of spanking, bondage, power dynamics, service, exhibitionism, erotic adventure, and much more.



Rachel Kramer Bussel and Cleis Press have done it again. It's no secret that I absolutely adore these erotica anthologies. This one is no exception- in fact, The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 goes above and beyond. There's so much erotic goodness to unpack here.

As mentioned, this is an anthology of erotic stories, the connecting theme of which is submission. There are 69 stories total. People tend to think of submission and domination as strictly black and white, perfect puzzle pieces. But this book just goes to show that if you ask 69 people what "submission" means to them- you will get 69 very different interpretations. Which is good news for us, since it ends up producing books like this one.

Submissives of so many different types get a story here. This is hands down the most inclusive erotica (anthology or otherwise) that I have ever read. There are switches. There are dominant Females both with men and with women. There are Dominant males, both with men and with women. In some instances, there's more than those two in the scene. There are some that fit into neither gender category. There are people of color. There are those who are young or new to the idea of BDSM. There are those who are more experienced (such as a grandmother) and those who have been in the scene a long time, sometimes even professionally. There are different body types; those who are small, or curvier, or scarred, or surgically affected. They have representation of so many folks here, it's awesome. Proof that not all erotica is a stuffy white hetero dude in a suit and a doe eyed brunette who has no idea what's going on. *cough* moving on.

As for kinks, there is absolutely something for everyone. Kinks for days, my friend. Including some very specific ones that I enjoy that I did not expect to see. (But which ones? That's up to you to figure out, a lady never tells unless we're Fetlife friends). Here's a very oversimplified list of some of the things you can expect in the way of kink: BDSM (obviously), bondage, rope, training, power struggles, pet play, spanking, a host of different toys, affairs, pegging, role play, blades, gender play, tickling, different time periods, accents/language, food, and strangers. There's bound (pun intended) to be something on this list that sets off your fires.

There are some stories that focus heavily on the connection or romance between characters, so if you're more vanilla-minded don't be scared away!

The few issues I had with this anthology are pretty standard comments about anthologies. Namely, they won't all be winners to everyone. There are some kinks that are not my kinks (and that's okay!) so I didn't enjoy them as much. There are some names/titles/euphanisms that turn me off. There are some writing styles that I just don't enjoy. But the good thing is that in 69 stories, the ones I enjoyed far outweighed the ones I did not.

Plus, each story is completely independent of the other stories, so you can scan or skip or delay the stories you don't think you'll enjoy, without effecting story lines or anything like that.

Rather than talk about all 69 stories and their negative and positive traits, I'm going to highlight my three favorite stories from this collection.

The first is "Chased by the Wolf" by Mischa Eliot. It involves a male Dominant and a female submissive, a costume party, collaring, and a Predators and Prey themed party hosted at the zoo. This party- where dominants dress as predators, and submissives as prey- sounds like one I would absolutely go to. The writing style is playful but alluring, and stands out to me because of costuming and event type.

The second story is called "My Girl, My Boy, My Enby" by Annabeth Leong. The pairing in question here involves a female Dominant, and a submissive who is gender non-binary, who has "girl days" and "boy days" and "non-binary days". This stands out to me because it is honestly the first erotica I have ever read that has a non-binary character in it. And that means the world to me. My fiance is NB, so I was more into, more connected to this story and it set off sparks I didn't know I had. Well done you. It felt very intimate while still being dirty, it was a good balance.

The final story I'd like to highlight is called Oktoberfest Addiction by Roxanna Cross. It involves a male Dominant and a female submissive. It also involves Oktoberfest, risque themed outfits, hair ribbon bondage (fantastic idea), and German mustard in some very interesting places. I like women in dirndl dresses, food, and Germany. Sue me. It was very fun to read, and again the tone was a bit playful and a bit cheeky. It sounded like a fun festival that I'd love to be a part of.

Some other 5 star stories that get a shout out include "Metamorphosis" by Emanuelle de Maupassant (books, public play, libraries), "Imago" by Anna Sky (tattoo guns), "Cari's Recital" by Rod Harden (ha) [public play, bondage, piano], and "Apprendimento" by Kathleen Tudor (punishment, clothes pins, f/f).

All in all this book is one that has a secure place on my erotica shelf. It's such a mixed bag (in a good way!) of different stories and pairings and fantasies and even time periods. It's like hitting "shuffle" on my dirty thoughts, and that's a great thing.

If you're a fan of BDSM, erotica, RKB's other anthologies, or even sex in general, there's something in this book for you.

Thanks to Cleis Press who gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mini Review: The Petite Fairy's Diary by Jun Asuka

Title: Fairies: The Petite Fairy's Diary
Series: Disney Fairies
Author: Jun Asuka
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: December 2017
Source: Tokyo POP

Book Description:

Petite is the smallest fairy in all of Neverland. She’s even smaller than a bug! Petite’s small size makes her clumsier than all of the other fairies in Pixie Hollow. With the Moon Banquet coming soon, all of the fairies must present their talents to Queen Clarion, but Petite hasn’t found her talent yet! Can Petite find her talent before the Moon Banquet in just a few days?

Join the fairies of Pixie Hollow in another whimsical adventure!



I love Disney, manga, and fairies, so the new Disney Fairies Manga series is definitely right up my alley. Though I wasn't crazy about Vidia and the Fairy Crown, I saw that this upcoming edition to the series had a different author/artist so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did, as I liked this one better!

The characters are really cute, and so is the story. It's a feel-good type plot that goes to show that even if you're different, you're fine just the way you are, and in some ways, even better! I think that's a lesson that we all need to hear every once in a while.

I liked the artwork better as well. I found it more detailed, and it went very well with the words on the page.

I think this is a good book for pre-teens/kids who are just starting to get into graphic novels or manga, though if you're older than that you can still certainly enjoy this book.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.