nonfiction

Book Review: The Smartphone Photography Guide by Peter Cope

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Title: The Smartphone Photography Guide
Author: Peter Cope
Publisher: Carlton Books
Length: 256 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 2 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Thanks to our smartphones, we’ve all become camera-carrying photographers, able to snap a photo whenever and wherever we want. But how can we realize the full potential of this powerful tool? Complete with “Pro Tips,” “Try This” panels, jargon-buster explanations of technical terms, and advice on video settings, this smart guide will help you take, create, manipulate, and share your phone images like an expert.

Review:
I saw this at a bookfair my work had to help benefit a charity. I bought it so long ago that I can’t really remember what charity it was but I wanted to support it and this seemed interesting. I’m going to be real (as per usual, honestly) and say that I think this book was written for people who didn’t grow up with technology.

At the ripe age of 22, this book was boring and didn’t really tell me much that I didn’t already know. The majority of this book is spent explaining how photography and editing apps on phones work and how a phone camera differs from a regular camera. I was so bored most of the time.

The section of the book focusing on getting good angles and understanding how to photograph were plagued with the same details about smartphones and apps that were stated in the first half of the book so it was also very redundant.

Some parts of the writing felt downright condescending in the way it was worded or what was said. My least favorite thing about nonfiction books is the tendency for the writing to feel like the author is talking down to me and this book did that a lot.

I didn’t enjoy this book and I didn’t learn anything from it. However, if you aren’t very familiar with phones or apps this book might be for you.

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Manga, romance

Manga Review: Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama by Hiro Fujiwara

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Title: Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama (The President is a Maid) Volumes 1-7
Author: Hiro Fujiwara
Publisher: Tokyopop
Length: ~200 pages each
Genre: Manga, Shoujo, Romance, Slice of Life
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Brilliant and overachieving, Misaki Ayuzawa is the President of the Student Council at Seika High School, formerly a boys’ school. Unfortunately, most of the students are still male and stuck in their slovenly habits, so man-hating Misaki really socks it to ’em in an attempt to make the school presentable to attract more female students. But what will she do when the sexiest boy in school finds out that after school, Misaki works in a maid cafe.

Review:
I’m not sure if many people know this but I subscribe to so many fandoms it’s hard to count. One of those fandoms is anime and manga. I’ve been in the mood for Manga recently but find a new one to read is always difficult. I’m very picky with manga because I can’t read it for very long. It’s fun but long on going series bore me and short one offs don’t seem to be worth it. Instead of searching for something I didn’t know if I’d like, I decided to pick up the manga of one of my favorite animes.

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama is considered a shoujo manga. Basically it’s written for females and typically focuses on some completely unrealistic romance. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine if I’m honest. Most shoujo manga/anime isn’t very feminist. The male characters usually land somewhere on the spectrum of douchey/controlling that in a real person would be absolutely appalling but I can’t help but love when it comes to the media I consume.

Misaki is adorable and fun. She’s very hardworking but also a little clueless and naive. She’s very smart book wise but not so much street wise and it’s endearing. I love watching her interact with the world Fujiwara has created.

Thankfully, Usui, the main male protagonist doesn’t fall into the douche type too much. He’s fiercely protective and a little bit controlling but for the most part I wouldn’t consider him douchey. He’s cute and funny and I mean, look at how he looks at Misaki.

Usui

The whole premise of this manga is that Misaki works at a maid cafe even though she’s a hard ass as student council president at school and Usui discovers it. The high jinks, fun, and romance ensue from there.

The art style is really detailed and fun. It can be so pretty but also so adorable. I love how versatile manga artwork as a whole is and Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama is no different.

I loved reading this manga even if the anime seems to closely follow it. It’s fun and cute and the perfect lightweight romance to help balance out all the hardcore fantasy I’ve been reading recently.

I can’t give it 5 folded pages only because there are some aspects I’m not okay with as a feminist and woman, but I will unapologetically love what I love even if it’s problematic.

Fantasy, romance, young adult

Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

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Title: Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 624 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Review of Book 1 and Book 2.
Warning: Possible spoilers for books 1 and 2 of this trilogy.

Blurb:
What power can bruise the sky?

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited–not in love, but in tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

Review:
I have to be real here. I was super disappointed by this book. I was SO bored while reading, especially during the first 300 pages or so. I’m pretty sure I skimmed at least 50% of it, if not more. According to my status updates on Goodreads, I didn’t start to get interested in it until about page 464. For a 600 pages novel, that’s pretty bad.

For me, I think the novel had too much exposition. Taylor could have cut out a lot of Akiva’s and Karou’s point of view and still got the point across. She didn’t need pages and pages dedicated to how they were pining for each other. It was so annoying.

I usually hate when new characters are added in the last novel of the series but for this, I found myself enjoying the new characters POV more than the main protagonists. Of course, I have to say Zuzana’s POV was still my favorite and she’s still my favorite character. But you didn’t get much of her or Mik.

The action packed scenes were really good and I was thoroughly invested in those which saved this book from being a 1 folded page review. Honestly, I think the only reason I didn’t DNF this book is because it was the last in this series and I wanted to finish the series since I had already invested so much time in it.

I hate how disappointed I was by this novel because I LOVED the first book and the second book I thought was good. It wasn’t great but I still enjoyed it. This one, however, was so hard for me to read. I found my mind wandering a lot because it wasn’t engaging.

I really do like Taylor’s writing style, but I think she needs to cut down on the exposition and maybe stop repeating the same idea over and over, IE how much Akiva and Karou want to be together but can’t.

coming of age, Queer, romance, Uncategorized

Webcomic Review: Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

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Title: Check, Please!
Author: Ngozi Ukazu
Genre: Comic, Sports, Romance, Queer, Coming of Age
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Blurb (Taken from the Check, Please! tumblr):
Eric Bittle—former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier—is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. And it’s basically nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South. For one?

There’s checking.

It’s a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best 4 years of your life.

Review:
I was scrolling Tumblr a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon one of the frames from this comic. It was a mere 3 hours later that I had completely caught up with the comic and subsequently followed tons of blogs dedicated to Check, Please! I have become a bit obsessed with this cute webcomic and wanted to share it.

Eric “Bitty” Bittle is one of the most adorable and endearing characters I’ve ever encountered. It’s very hard to present a personality in a few quick comic frames but Ngozi does such a wonderful job of it. All the other side characters in Check, Please! also have amazing and decipherable personalities which is such a hard feat to accomplish with such little writing. I’ve fallen in love with all of the characters.

I’d say the main theme of this comic is friendship and growing up. It does have a romance aspect (that I won’t spoil) but the comic truly shines when revealing friendship dynamics and how much the hockey team supports and loves each other.

The art style of the comic is also super cute! I mean, just look at these adorable characters.

Bitty has a Twitter (that’s currently locked so spoilers for the current season don’t get out) and it’s interactive. Transmedia (as made popular by The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) is such an interesting thing to pursue. I love that transmedia is now being used for media other than videos.

The only thing that doesn’t make this a 5 folded pages review is that the series isn’t finished. It’s an ongoing series that mostly follows real-time. I don’t know if I’ll love where the series will go in the future and I’ll probably do an update review whenever it finishes but for now. This comic is AMAZING and I need more people to read it and love it as much as I do.

Here is a “slideshow” that can give a more in-depth description of Check, Please!

Here is the beginning of the comic. Beware you’ll become obsessed. Feel free to gush with me on Tumblr once you are hooked!

Wrap Up/TBR

March/April 2016 Wrap up

 

march and april 2016 wrap up

Woo! I am back and the move went well. With everything going on, I had forgotten to do a wrap up for both March and April so I figured I’d do that now.

My blog also had it’s anniversary May 6th! I can’t believe I’ve been writing reviews for a year now. I know my blog hasn’t been consistent recently, but moving forward my goal is to make at least 2 posts per week. Preferably reviews. So look forward to that!!

February Wrap Up

Book Reviews

Books Rated 5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 4-4.5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 3-3.5 Folded Pages:
Books Rated 2-2.5 Folded Pages:
  • None!
Books Rated 1-1.5 Folded Pages:
  • None!!
Books I’ve given up on (when I get 5 books total I’ll make another DNF post):

Total books for January: 7 (9 if you count my DNFs)

Other Reviews

Podcasts: