Tag Archives: humour

ARC Review – Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

23281892Title: Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible

Author:  Ursula Vernon

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Harriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you’ll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather . . . dull. One day, though, Harriet’s parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she’s twelve and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she’s invincible until she’s twelve! After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey…until her twelfth birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way.

Huge thank you to Penguin Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Earlier in the year I had the chance to read Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon and I thought it was a wonderful, quirky read. In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Harriet is cursed as a child. However, the curse doesn’t exactly go as planned, because she was made invincible until her twelfth birthday. Harriet, completely in love with her new found powers, enjoys fighting dragons, jumping off high cliffs, and never worrying about the possibilities of a scratch. Until her twelfth birthday hits, and everything goes array.

This book is beyond hilarious. Harriet frequently breaks the fourth wall at her readers with tons of sass and charm. In fact, she’s just completely kick-butt for a twelve year old, and her courage and tenacity is admirable. I feel like she’d be an amazing role model for young readers, as her can-do spirit is quite infectious.

Moreover, Ursula Vernon’s writing is fantastic and vivid. She has this way of capturing the reader’s attention with such humour. Plus, the artwork is fantastic, well-detailed and eye-catching. I found myself whipping through the book, laughing as I was reading on public transit and just having a ball with the cast of characters and Harriet’s overall adventure. I thought her friendship with Prince Wilbur was honest as it was entertaining. Especially there responses at the end of the novel when given the suggestion that they should marry each other. Ick!

I feel like Hamster Princess will be one of those unexpected reads that will even capture the attention of reluctant readers. If there’s any criticism I can impart, is that the cover may not appeal to male readers, which is a shame because I feel like boys would get just as much enjoyment out of this story as girls would.Hamster Princess is worth looking into when it releases, especially for those who love parodies of fairy tales, and sassy heroines.

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ARC Review – Model Misfit by Holly Smale

23460954Title: Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2)

Author: Holly Smale

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book!

River’s Review:

I will admit that I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up if Harper hadn’t sent a copy to me. I do have the first book, but I haven’t read it and wasn’t really planning on it… but after some asking around I found out that I don’t HAVE to read the books in order so I put this back up towards the top of my TBR and got to it.

Oh did I mention that this book takes place in Japan? Yes, another reason that I picked it up as soon as I did. I feel like it’s my duty to read ‘white-girl-goes-to-Japan’ books to determine if they’re accurate or not.

Surprisingly this book was really well done in that aspect! And I’ll get into that in a second.

This book is about Harriett’s continued journey of being an unconventional teen model. As I said, I haven’t read the first book, but I can assume that she was this super geek-y math/science/physics loving girl that got accidentally discovered and due to her uniqueness she shone as a model and got a modeling contract. She’s much like that in this book anyway. Harriett loves, and knows!, a lot of facts. A LOT of them. So many that it got to be a little annoying that every. single. chapter. started with one. I wish it would have been a little more random. I mean, I guess I learned a lot, but it was getting predictable and a little monotonous.

Anyway, Harriett is upset about her boyfriend, Nick, stepping out of the picture, and about her BFF going away for the summer. So when she’s offered the opportunity to go to Tokyo for the summer for a modeling job, she jumps right on it! Harriett is young, fifteen, and has to convince her parents (who were SO hilarious, I loved them!) to let her go. In steps her eccentric grandmother and off they go!

So I have yet to find a book about a white girl going to Asia that I don’t have some small problem with. I have found one that I didn’t DESPISE and I will now add this one to the list. I did nitpick while reading (see my updates) but overall this was very accurate and on point for a book about a girl going there as a tourist. And I think that because Harriett wasn’t moving there and living there that the surface observations and the tourist-y picture of Japan didn’t bother me. Yes I was annoyed that some of the Japanese was romanized wrong, yes I was annoyed that the white-girl-goes-to-Asia-can’t-us-chopsticks trope was used AGAIN, and that some of the ~weird Japan~ stuff was a little eye-rolling but overall it was very good. And made me homesick for Japan. But the tourist picture of Tokyo, Harajuku, Shibuya, and even Mount Fuji all worked for me. Nothing was over exaggerated (well, okay, Shibuya crossing was), or wrong. And this pleased me so much. Because whenever an author writes about a culture not their own they are teaching about that culture and it makes me SO angry when they teach things that are just plain wrong.

The story itself was nothing amazing. But it was cute and Harriett’s misfortunes and mistrals were entertaining. I actually did a little modeling in Japan while I was living there (nothing like this! More freelance armature stuff) so I really enjoyed the peek into the modeling world.

Harriett herself was a little frustrating at times because she was just so oblivious to a lot of things. I know, she’s only fifteen, but still, sometimes I wanted to shake her and be like JUST LISTEN!!!

Overall this book is very fun, a quick read, and highly enjoyable. If you’re already a fan of the series then you’ll surely like this! And if you’re just interested in this one (like I was) then read it without worrying about if you need to read the first one or not. Just enjoy!

ARC Review – The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek

22926684Title: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek

Author: Sam Maggs

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

Huge thank you to Random House Canada and Quirk Books for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

You know what I love about Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy? All of it. Okay, that’s an overstatement, but I really did love this book cover to cover. There’s a little self-help, a lot of strategies for those who struggle to embrace their lady geek, and the message throughout the book is wonderfully positive.

I love that Sam Maggs gives a large overview of the geek lexicon and the way in which geeks interact with fandom and other geeks. She doesn’t shy away from the complicated aspects of what it means to be a lady geek in a male dominated, boys club called ‘fandom’. I totally found myself nodding along when she discussed what it meant to have her geek prowess ‘tested’ just because people didn’t want her to feel included — I know exactly how that feels like.

I also loved her promotion of what it means to be a feminist and how women need to stop competing with one another and instead attempt to work together. I used to struggle a lot with that myself being a woman in the game’s industry, but now, as I’ve gotten older, I’m finding myself embracing the idea of letting other women into my life. The Fangirl’s Litany is inspiring and truthful, because really, who wants to be a companion, when you can be the doctor? It’s so true!

Honestly, there’s so much to this very compact guide that I could go on forever about how wonderful and inspiring it is. It will make you feel like you can combat and overcome issues that stand in your way, but it also offers a lot of common sense that often is forgotten by those in fandom. Like be awesome to each other — why is that one so damn hard to remember? In any case,Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is personable, humorous and charming to the geeky core. There’s so much fun to be had in this book, and Sam Maggs really is a wonderful guide through the complexities of what it means to be a modern day fangirl.

ARC Review – SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

22752445Title: SuperMutant Magic Academy

Author: Jillian Tamaki

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.

Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy. Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating.

Huge thank you to Raincoast Books for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I’ve often found Jillian Tamaki’s works very hot or miss for my tastes. Admittedly, I had never read SuperMutant Magic Academy while it was a weekly webcomic, so I went into this pretty blind. I adored it! The humour and quirk in this graphic novel is just priceless, if sometimes wonderfully offensive, and it makes for some entertaining quotes along the way.

While the story really centres around a select few students at the academy, the one we get to know the most is Marsha — a lesbian who wants to come out to her best friend and doesn’t exactly succeed in this endeavour. She reminded me a lot of character Daria, sardonic but very perspective of the world around her. Marsha was fun to follow around, though the rest of the cast weren’t without their moments.

My favourite character hands down, and the one I had the most fun following was Frances. She reminded me of a crusty old lady who loves to smoke, be completely obnoxious and doesn’t really give a crap about what others think. As far as Frances is concerned, she has enough experiences that she’s perfectly content crafting art that only she understands, and aims to offend those who simply “don’t get it.” There’s a bit where’s she’s running around topless and is asked if it is some feminist crusade. Seriously, Frances — she kicks ass.

Although there isn’t much of a cohesive story until the very end, I absolutely loved this collection of comics, and even the additional narrative provided by Tamaki. It’s such a hilarious and wacky adventure, that I urge those who love a wick sense of humour and a little bit of vulgarity to check this out.

ARC Review – Crushed (Soul Eaters #2) by Eliza Crewe

20758278Title: Crushed (Soul Eaters #2)

Author: Eliza Crewe

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

Huge thank you to Strange Chemistry and Netgalley!

Sam’s Review:

You know what I love about this series? It’s blunt, gorey, and absolutely dripping with sarcasm. There’s nothing more interesting or engaging than an assassin/demon that actually follows through on their urges. I get so sick of romantic plotlines in YA where it’s like “omg I am a demon/werewolf/vampire/whatever and we are from different worlds, but I love you!” nonsense. That doesn’t exist in the Soul Eaters series, as Meda and Co. are exactly who they are and want you to take them at face value. Huge props to Eliza Crewe for creating a memorable cast of characters who don’t fall into bad stereotypes.

But series, Meda is fantastic. She’s sarcastic, sure of herself, and even when she makes a mistake, she rolls with it. While she isn’t much for positives, you read this because Meda is a narrator who tells it like it is: no sugarcoating, no lies, just blunt truths that ooze with sarcasm. This series is fun, and this book was just as good as the first because the action was solid, the writing was so focused, and the humor was just spot on.

I’m not going to spoilt his book for those interested because it builds right off the first one, but I love how much the secondary characters like Jo evolved. I loved the friendships between the characters, and I loved that the friendships were built on some violence, some truths, lots of humor and can I just say how awesome this book is for its female friendships? So good.

Plus, Meda is a demon who KILLS! I appreciate that she fits the bill of who she is. Also I love how she has to cope with the fact that she’s not allowed to eat people because she’s stuck with the Crusaders, and I’m just going to keep fangirling. This series isfun with the right amount of complexity and humour. Seriously, you’ll love Meda and friends. They are just so cracktastically awesome, and I keep hoping even with that ending that perhaps there will be more in the Soul Eaters universe. Read this series — it’s fantastic.