February Recommendations

Another month, another set of recommendations prompted by the Goodreads group Monthly Recommendations. February’s recommendations are graphic novels/mixed media!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


Chantel, being the way she is, actually banned me from choosing a book. Thanks a lot, Chantel. So, here are my recommendations.

1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Yes, I know that this has been made into a movie. But I don’t like the movie and have no plans of watching it all the way through. This book follows a boy who has been orphaned and his job is to wind the clocks at a Parisian train station. He has to find his own way in the world, really.

This story is such a touching one and one of my favorite quotes comes from this book:

“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

Now, it might not be immediately clear why this is a mixed media book if you don’t know the book. Basically, Brian Selznick illustrates his books. Hundreds of hand-drawn pictures that he made especially for the work.

2. The Marvels by Brian Selznick

The Marvels

Yes, another book by Selznick. See a theme appearing? I just love him and this book is no different. It covers the journey of a family from 1766 through today. Another gorgeous one, that also has HIV/AIDS and gay relationships. And, even better, the book just shows how accepting kids are. As I put in my review of this, you don’t have to explain gay relationships to kids. They get it.

3. Hark! A Vagrant series by Kate Beaton

Hark! A Vagrant

Step Aside, Pops (Hark! A Vagrant, #3)

I’m choosing a whole series. Sue me. Please don’t. I’ve read the book Hark! A Vagrant! and Step Aside, Pops. The former actually has pictures that I took of the comics in the book that I loved. The other one has just me describing it.

But, they’re really just comic interpretations of history, literature, superheroes, and anything else that Beaton thought would be hilarious. Really, I loved them all. Perfect coffee table books, tbh.


I would just like to state for the record that I did not ban Caidyn from anything. I simply called dibs. By the way, I absolutely loved all three books I picked so I would highly recommend them. If you know anything about me, you will not be shocked by the recommendations.

  1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Illustrations by Jim Kay

A Monster Calls cover

This is the book I called dibs on when Caidyn and I were talking about this topic because Patrick Ness is my favorite author and this book is amazing. I’ve talked about this book multiple times and Caidyn is the one who told me to read it. The premise of this book is there is a young boy named Conor whose mother has cancer. Yeah, pretty heavy but it’s so good. The book also features illustrations from Jim Kay who also illustrates the Harry Potter illustrated editions, this guy is talented. If you haven’t read this book already, what are you doing with your life?!

2. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Honor Girl cover

Last October, I participated in my first readathon called GetGraphic Readathon which took place over a weekend. This was the first and best book I read during the readathon. It’s about a girl who goes to camp and has a crush on a camp counselor. It’s really a great memoir and maybe I liked it more because I had crushes on camp counselors when I was young, but you know, it’s really good.

3. Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Blue is the Warmest Color

Okay, so I know that the movie based on this graphic novel is controversial. I get it. I think I’m in the minority as someone who really enjoyed it. Despite being three hours and entirely in French. I digress. However, if you want to read a story about two girls who fall in love when they are young and discover as they get older that they may not be the best for each other but does not include long sex scenes directed by a man that goes on so long it becomes hilarious, then this graphic novel is for you. It’s really good and if you didn’t like the movie, I think you’ll like the graphic novel.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

(Caidyn)

1/5 – DNF at 30%

Thank you to BookishFirst for the raffle I won this in and to Simon & Schuster for the copy!

Yes. I DNFed this. Hardcore. Now, I really do want to start this off with a positive before I delve into my problems with the book. I thought this was a solid debut. While I didn’t care for the plot or characters, I thought the writing was beautiful, the characters were obviously hashed out and felt accurate, and there was an obvious craft given to this book. I’d read another thing that Vaughan came out with, so long as it wasn’t this style.

I hate the books that are coming out for mystery these days. I think that they’re all the same, styled after Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. Funny enough, I liked both of those books. I love Flynn’s work and I think Hawking did a good job of making me like her characters. Yet, everyone now is wanting to copy them. This book branched off but was fundamentally the same.

The plot focuses on three women: Kate, a prosecutor for sexual assault victims; Sophie, the adoring wife; and Holly, some student from the 1990s. It’s told in first person for Kate and third person for Sophie and Holly. Then James, the husband, got a couple of random chapters.

James had an affair with none of the women in the perspective. It gets out. The news dies down. Then the woman he had the affair with accuses him of rape. Kate is against him. Sophie is horrified. Holly is nowhere to be seen because she was in the 1990s, not 2016.

You’d think that with all of these perspectives and a plot that deals with a prescient topic, something interesting would happen.

Image result for sherlock wrong gif

Kate keeps going on about her work and that she obviously has some past that hadn’t come out yet. Sophie dwells on her husband and the case and how much she *~needs~* him… without any mention to the two kids they have and taking care of them and the problems I’m sure they’re having from their father. Holly talked a lot about going to school in Oxford and watching Sophie and James start their relationship.

It just didn’t feel real. At all. I found everyone annoying. I couldn’t care about Sophie since she seemed to be a bad mom for not focusing on her kids. Kate bored me, even if I found her the most compelling perspective. Holly made no sense to me although I have an idea of what her purpose would have developed into if I cared to find out.

It fell into the trap that most books do that are based on other writers. There were too many “unique” perspectives that didn’t add up and didn’t matter. I think the only two perspectives that worked were Kate and Sophie. Yet, why have one in first person and one in third? Make them both in third. (I have a bias against first-person narration, though.) Narrow the focus.

With all the perspectives, it felt like nothing important was happening. I kept waiting for some reveal that never happened. While the writing was good and I will keep an eye out for her future books, this one was just a huge miss for me. I love mystery, but not the type that keep coming out.

The Awesome Blogger Award

What an honor this is. Just started back in March and we’re an awesome blogger? Sign us up!

But, seriously, thank you, Emma, for the nomination. Both of us really appreciate it and it means so much. It’s hard starting out and, admittedly, we’re still figuring it all out. Every single like or comment you leave — and all of you guys as followers — makes us happy. We appreciate it more than you guys can know.

This award was created by Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala

This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

THE RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Include the reason behind the award.
  • Include the banner in your post.
  • Tag it under #awesomeblogger in the Reader.
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
  • Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.

Caidyn’s answers will be in blue.
Chantel’s answers will be in purple.

Now, onto the questions!


1. Your bookshelves have caught fire and the flame is spreading, so you can only save one book. Which book do you save?

Wow, Emma. Thanks. One book. I’d just stuff my backpack full of stuff and run out with my computer and a few other things. But, if I had to theoretically pick one single book, I’d probably grab my really nice copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray since I’ve never seen a copy of it before. (Also my Kindle.)

Well, I’d kind of look like the biggest jerk in the world if I didn’t grab my kitty, Watson. After him, I’d have to say I’d grab my hardback 20th Anniversary copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Hufflepuff edition). That was very specific, but those books are gorgeous. Plus it would be a great comfort to me after losing everything.

One, Watson probably set the fire because his 3 AM meowing didn’t get your attention. Two, that is a good answer. I own too many Harry Potter books to conceivably save them all. I’d probably attempt to save my British editions.

I can see this happening. He knows just how to get my attention: by annoying me. 

Watson 1

See? He’s plotting my demise. 

Or just trying to get your attention by being a drama queen.

2. Favorite thing to drink while you’re reading?

Wine.

If I was cool, I’d say coffee or tea, but really it’s usually soda. Right now, it’s Squirt. 

Dude, I answered wine so there’s no chill with me. I didn’t know you drank soda while reading. I would have said water since I literally have to drink my weight in water per day, but wine is for relaxing.

I drink soda pretty much all the time. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing. 

3. Something you love to do besides read?

I’m fond of writing, but not always. I also watch too much TV.

I absolutely love movies and TV. So that’s usually what I’m doing outside of work. I also like writing but I haven’t written in months….

Don’t we sound alike? TV, movies, and writing. Also, we need to schedule our movie watching.

I’ll have to check my schedule. 

4. Worst book you’ve read so far in 2017?

Oh, Jesus. Alison Weir’s new book on Anne Boleyn. God damn, that was bad.

I could go with the book I DNF-ed and gave one star, but I’m going to go with a book I read all the way through and hated the ending. Which is, I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. I know Caidyn liked it, but my expectations were way too high and the ending was so predictable. 

Yes, I did like it, but I can see what you’re saying. I got a lot more out of it reading it backwards after reading it from front to back. 

See, if you have to read it twice to enjoy it that’s too much for me. I was just hoping for something more original. 

I enjoyed it the first time and even more the second time.

5. Favorite movie?

Shutter Island all the way.

This is one of the hardest questions for me because I love movies so much and I have so many favorites. Like, I should’ve created a film blog, but books are cool too. If I had to pick one, it would be Clue. Yes, a movie based on the board game. I just know that when I’m feeling like shit, I can put that movie on and feel better. 

You should have made a movie blog, honestly, but then I wouldn’t have been able to join in as well. If I go off of movies I watch when I feel like shit, Sweeney Todd.

6. Favorite song?

My favorite song changes almost every day, so wow. Save Myself by Ed Sheeran, Dust Bowl Dance by Mumford & Sons, The Mariner’s Revenge by The Decemberists, Misguided Ghosts by Paramore, You Won’t Be Mine by Matchbox Twenty, Someone New by Hozier, Queen of Peace by Florence + The Machine, Aura by Lady Gaga, All of Me by John Legend, Hurt and The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I mean, I could go on forever about this since I can’t choose favorite songs. It’s all context dependent.

And I thought I liked music, jeez. Instead of the wall of text, I’ll give you a top five.

  1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
  2. Latch by Discourse feat. Sam Smith
  3. Live and Let Die by Wings
  4. Pumpin Blood by NONONO
  5. Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey

These are songs I adore and my body does unnatural things when I hear them. I have plenty more, but these five are the ones that speak to me in this moment. 

This is so weird because your top five songs are either ones I’ve never heard of or by artists I’m not fond of in the least.

Because you don’t listen to good music. Even though we like some of the same songs. 

I don’t like Lana del Rey. I didn’t like her from the first time I listened to her.

Psh, rude. I only like that one song from her. I’m not a super fan or anything. I don’t even know what she looks like. 

This is her.

Image result for lana del rey gif

And I have a slightly mean theory about her that I will not share here.

Oh, well I still like her…or just that one song. Other than that, I’m pretty indifferent. She’s not like Adele or anything. 

7. Favorite villain/antihero?

Villain: Bellatrix Lestrange
Antihero: Jorg Arancrath

I don’t…like villains.

Well, that sucks, doesn’t it?

Indeed it does. 

8. First thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Reach over to see what time it is on my phone. And then, probably, respond to messages half awake. Sorry, Chantel. If you get messages from about 6 AM my time that makes no sense, that’s because I was about to go back to sleep.

None of your messages make sense. I grab my phone as well and if I have time, I’ll watch a little YouTube before getting ready for the day. 

Hoe, that’s because you don’t get my awesomeness. I also think that I may have a mild case of dyslexia sometimes.

Titus andromadon

Don’t you leave with a gif from a show that I’ve never seen.

It’s your own fault that you haven’t seen it. It’s on Netflix and it’s called The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and you don’t like comedies. So you probably won’t watch it. 

I have no plans of watching it but whenever I drink pinot grigio I fucking hear this song in my head without ever seeing it.

Image result for pinot noir gif

Good, you could use some Titus in your life. 

9. Last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

Turn my phone on silence so it doesn’t wake me up.

Shout at Watson to stop meowing. Seriously, though, it’s putting my TV on sleep timer because I love that white noise yo.

Okay, that’s what you do when he wakes you up at an insane hour, like when you texted me at 7:30 my time… which is 5:30 where you were.

It happens multiple times at night. Nobody understands my torture.

Cry me a river.

That gif killed me. 

10. Favorite food?

Chicken noodle soup or tuna casserole. Or grapow. Or pizza. I just love food. (And I have a feeling I know Chantel’s answer!)

Do you? I’m interested to see how well we know each other. 

Anyway, it’s 100% potatoes. In any form. French fries, potato chips, roasted, baked, scalloped, and of course mashed. When I got my wisdom teeth out, not only did I lose my wisdom, but I ate mashed potatoes for a week straight. I also love steak, I started a tradition where I make it every weekend because I can never have enough steak in my life. Sometimes I have it twice in one week!

I was going to answer steak, actually. Since you have it once a week at the very least and we’ve been watching things before only for her to disappear for a while to tend to her precious steak. Actual picture of Chantel with it:

Very accurate. I have time set aside for my precious steak and nobody comes between me and my steak. 

Benedict Cumberbatch wink

Or gratuitously using that gif.

It accurately represents many things. Including my love for steak. 


And now for our 10 questions! Since basically everyone we follow has probably been tagged, anyone is welcome to answer them because, to us, you’re all awesome. Feel free to answer them in the comments or make your own post for them!

  1. If you could choose any job to have in the world (fictional or real) what would it be and why?
  2. What is your favorite book series?
  3. Who’s your favorite actor and actress?
  4. Who is your favorite booktuber/blogger?
  5. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  6. What fictional world would you travel to?
  7. Would you rather only be able to read new books without being able to reread them or would you rather only be able to read a book you hated?
  8. What was a book you did not like the ending to?
  9. What’s the book and/or movie that scared you the most?
  10. Do you have a favorite author whose books you will read no matter what?