Friday, December 2, 2016

Miraculous: Origins by Cheryl Black and Nicole D'Andria

Tales of Lady Bug and Cat Noir #0. Action Lab Entertainment (Nov. 2016) NetGalley
Every story has a beginning. Discover how Marinette and Adrien, two high school students practically like everyone else, became Ladybug and Cat Noir, and why Hawk Moth is their sworn enemy. This is the PERFECT jumping on point for new readers! 

Based on the Animated Series by Zag Entertainment
       

Ladybug and Cat Noir have for some reason been on my tumblr feed from time to time with moments mostly of the budding romance between the two characters. I have no idea where or how to watch this tv series so it's been bugging me that I can't enjoy what everyone else is loving about our two heroes. I was lucky enough to find this comic book and I smiled with triumph.

My first impressions with this story have to do with how the art looks. I'm assuming there wasn't much done with it. The artwork are snaps from the actual show which you can either take or leave depending on your preference. I eventually got used to it but I don't usually like comics from media tie-ins doing that. It feels lazy. It would have been great to get a better flow of the art and story with hand drawn and colored strips. I'm sure more avid fans though might appreciate seeing the characters how they are in the show.

After I got over the artwork I got into the plot where there are these Miraculous little creatures that give their owners powers. Ladybug has the power of creation while Cat Noir has the power of destruction. Clearly, there is a balance between the two. One can't work well without the other. I thought the powers were pretty cool especially since Ladybug could create anything useful she needed like a parachute for example. I would have liked a little more origin in how the Miraculous came to be and more emphasis on what each power can do.


Ladybug is really Marinette who lives in Paris with her mom and dad (baker). She gets bullied by this blond mean girl who wants the seat Marinette is sitting in for Adrien, or Cat Noir, in the classroom. Adrien is a model whose dad does not want him to go to school. He has no friends and is hoping to make new ones at school. The repetition of conversation of him going back and forth about wanting to go to school was a bit much. They get off to a rough start as their normal selves but Cat Noir is in love with Ladybug like the very first minute which I love. It is the reason why I wanted to read this comic after all.

I know it seems like there are a lot of little things I didn't like about this comic but they are just that little things. I was invested in the story before I even read it plus the characters and plot remind me of shows I would watch as a kid (let's be honest I'd watch it in a heartbeat now). If I haven't even watched the show and I like it I'm sure fans will love it. I can also see kids loving this series as a show and a comic.

Thanks to NetGalley and Action Lab Entertainment for providing me with Miraculous: Origins in exchange for an honest review!

#FitReaders: December 2nd, 2016 Check-In



I just wanted to update here how my fitness has been going lately before I start running seriously again. I've only ran/walked twice the past three weeks. I've been sick with a cold for a bit but I'm ready to get back in the game.

  • Went to a Yoga class for the first time. It was a very low impact but relaxing. It made me think about going to more advanced classes once I had a full-time job.

  • I am now in the Hogwarts Running Club on Facebook. It helps motivate me to get moving. Team Hufflepuff!

  • I completed my VERY FIRST RACE EVER that I trained for. It was a 5k and I had a system that went to hell that last two miles or so. My time was 43 minutes 8 seconds for a 5k. I know that sounds like a lot but I did beyond better than I thought before the race and during the race when I was doubting why I ever decided to do this thing.

  • My schedule will be tentative of course but I plan to jog/walk my way until hopefully, I can run most of a race I'm going to sign up for in March. I NEED to make this a priority. I'm planning on doing something like this:

Week 1
2 min jog/3 min walk for 1.5 miles
2 min 30 second jog/3 min walk for 1.5 miles
3 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 2
3 minute 30 second jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles
4 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles
4 minute 30 second jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 3

5 min jog/3 min walk for 1.5 miles
5 min 30 second jog/3 min walk for 1.5 miles
6 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 4 

6 minute 30 second jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles
7 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2 miles
8 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 5

9 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2 miles
10 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles
11 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 6

12 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2 miles
13 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles
14 minute jog/3minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 7

15 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2 miles
16 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles
17 minute jog/3 minute walk for 1.5 miles

Week 8

18 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2.5 miles
19 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2 miles
20 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2 miles

Week 9

21 minute jog/3 minute walk for 2.5 miles
22 minute jog/3 minute walk 
23 minute jog/3 minute walk 

Week 10
24 minute jog/3 minute walk 
25 minute jog/3 minute walk 
26 minute jog/3 minute walk 

Week 11
27 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles
28 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles
29 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles

Week 12
30 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles
30 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles
30 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles


Week 13
30 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles
30 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles
30 minute jog/3 minute walk until 3.1 miles

Race Day!

What are some fitness goals you have for 2017?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October 2016 Monthly Recap


October was one of my better months for blogging which I'm happy for. November will be an interesting month. I'm going to continue focusing on school, writing reviews, and crazily enough I'm starting NaNoWriMo. I'm not going to be too stressed out... probably... because I'm not a writer and I'm doing it for fun. Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?

Books Read 



Reading Plans 

I don't really have too much of a plan regarding books this month. Whatever comes my way I'll read. I've already kind of started writing down books I want to read next year all ready which shows that I have something wrong with me. I like planning too much. I do know I want to explore the library more and read some comics.

First Book of the Month


What are your book plans this November?

Friday, October 28, 2016

#FitReaders: October 28, 2016 Check-In


Not the greatest last two weeks. I'm trying to run instead of jog because I've completely just failed at jogging outside after I did so well for seven minutes straight outside. I need to reexamine everything again. So frustrating!!!

Maybe distract myself with music?

Running/Jogging and Walking

Sunday, October 23, 2016
1.33 miles in 23 minutes and 23 seconds  (Calves killed me after this. I forgot I run oddly and felt super-self conscious afterwards...)

Monday. October 24, 2016
1.02 miles in 20 minutes and 11 seconds

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
0.51 miles in 12 minutes and 14 seconds (distance wasn't recorded the whole time)

*I'm thinking I'm just going to have to go for it every day I can. I've been trying to run on my toes for some time just because my dad recommends it to fix my weird run thing. I don't do it the whole time but I feel like I've gone 50 steps backwards when I was doing so well. I know running is different from jogging but I need to be able to do as well as I was before. I'm going to add music to the mix to see if that works for me. Any suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Grimm Fairy Tales: King Thrushbeard

Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
(This post discusses the story of King Thrushbeard in detail)

Grimm's Fairy Tales has a wide range of fairly tales that aren't just the popular ones which I've either grown to dislike, enjoy, or be extremely indecisive about. I don't know what to make of the "lesson" in King Thrushbeard but I find it highly memorable.
A king had a daughter who was beautiful beyond measure, but so proud and overbearing that none of her suitors were good enough for her; she not only refused one after the other, but made a laughing-stock of them.
The main character is a princess who thinks she is amazing and everyone else don't matter. Now the king gets angry with her because she mocks all the suitors so he promises she will marry the next beggar that comes to her house and she has to get married. First of all, I don't condone the whole princess doesn't get to choose who she's married like she's the king's property but it's pretty much what she deserves in this story.

She goes to live with this beggar and she has no skills. She makes mistakes and finds this King Thrushbeard later on when she gets a job at the palace. Before that she sings a song and discovers that King Thrushbeard has a lot of land so her rudeness just lost her a whole ton of money which I found hilarious. She became so ashamed when she met up with him again but then he dropped a huge twist in the story. He was disguised as the beggar husband. He did so she can be taken down a peg. Then there was a celebration after she said she didn't deserve to be his wife and learned her lesson.

I did all that to bring down your proud heart, and to punish your haughtiness, which caused you to mock me.

SO this was such an interesting story but I feel like it was taken way too far. Even if this princess learned her lesson she will still be rich beyond compare so really she wins in the end. Also, this king is a manipulator! He treated her harshly as her husband. There is something wrong about that. No matter what she was embarrassed by her husband, doesn't have any skills, and gets rich in the end. I'm so indecisive on whether I liked the lesson in the story or not. I would be so bitter to this man in the future. I can understand how this was popular around the time it was written. However, I can't see it translating in a Disney movie in the near future.


What do you think? Will the lesson stick or did King Thrushbeard's methods go to the extreme?

Friday, October 14, 2016

#FitReaders: October 14, 2016 Check-In



Friday, October 7, 2016

2,135 steps

0.719 miles in 14 minutes

Saturday, October 8, 2016

2,063 steps

0.737 miles in 14 minutes

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2,451 steps

0.861 miles in 16 minutes (I made a mistake. Last time I should have jogged five minutes straight but only did four so I went from jogging four minutes straight to six and I can't believe I survived)

Swam 12 laps in pool and played for more than an hour with family in the pool.

Monday, October 10, 2016

6,035 steps

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

1,492 steps

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

3,704 steps

0.949 miles in 18 minutes and 2 seconds

Thursday, October 13, 2016

2,170 steps

Previous Goal: Be jogging 7 minutes straight by next check-in (Missed by one day) I finished this today outdoors and learned a lot. I need to change up my form, actually stretch, and start learning how to breathe. My brother says to jog on my tip toes so I'm going for it tomorrow.

New Goal: Be jogging 10 minutes straight by next check-in

How was your fitness week?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Batgirl Vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside

Volume 1. DC Comics (May 2015) Library
Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles!


Barbara Gordon, daughter to Jim Gordon the detective who famously knows the bat himself, is going to college while living a secret life as Batgirl. She's in a new town called Burnside where there are a lot of tech savvy young adults. That's where somebody has figured out her identity and has sent a swarm of villains after her. In a new modern look by Babs Tarr, Batgirl gets a whole new story that's beautifully drawn and colored.


I love the new look that Barbara has going on especially her combat boots. I was worried that this new remake of her would be too mainstream which it kind of was. I didn't particularly like where the story-line went. It didn't totally throw me for a loop or anything but it was still very entertaining. The art is what kept me going the most because it's pretty much perfect. And Black Canary makes an appearance who I adore with her attitude and music skills. 


The story in Batgirl at the end connected everything really well. I always forget her backstory so seeing her emotions back then triggered a new excitement in the plot. I'm interested to see what happens next and to stare at the beautiful art again. I just wish this plot was a little more engaging.

What do you think about remaking a comic book character's look? Do you always prefer the original or is the remake necessary?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Traveling on the Open Road


This is a discussion from the Royal Challenge hosted here She's Got Books on Her Mind.

If you are a particularly adventurous person you explore new places. You pack a lot of food, clothes, and precautionary items. But what if you are going in a trip and you are a reader? What books would you bring on your trip?

I know what I will bring. My must have books in my traveling bag would be:



A Week in the Woods is not only a favorite of mine but is all about a boy who comes to love nature. There's a big nature trip he prepares for even by reading some classic books by Jack London. 

My Side of the Mountain is all about a boy who starts living in the woods. This book might just come in handy if I need some tips on making friends with a falcon. 

It may seem like I'm going into the woods on this trip but I just may be going from town to town and you know what book is great for that? Safe Haven where a woman is running away from her past. I loved reading this book with my mom and it would provide great comfort when I was missing home.

The Unexpected Everything and Saint Anything are a must because they are nice, happy reads that I've come to consider favorites of mine. When I'm feeling like the journey will never end. I'll have these by my side to pass the time between walking.

The final book I would bring would by a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire because I can't NOT bring a Harry Potter book. It's also a great weapon if I needed it.


Now I know I should bring some non-bookish things on my trip if I want to survive... 

Books should be enough items to bring...

So if there is space I would bring....


A hatchet - You can guess where I got this idea.

A water bottle - for those times I'll get thirsty.

Money - Got to have that cash to pay for all those inn food and beds.

Map and compass - I'm on the road so no GPS for me.

Chocolate and Candy - No trip would be complete without them.



What bookish and non-bookish things would you bring on the open road?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb

Standalone. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (Nov. 1st, 2016) NetGalley
Return to the magic of Burnett's classic tale with a brand-new character as she discovers a very secret garden.

It's 1939, and the occupants of the Craven Home for Orphaned Children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall, a fancy manor in the English countryside, to escape the Blitz. Emmie would hardly call the orphanage "home," but her heart breaks knowing that leaving Craven means leaving her beloved cat, Lucy. Away from everything she's ever known and trapped in imposing Misselthwaite, Emmie finds herself more miserable than ever.

But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house-a boy who cries in the night, a diary written by a girl named Mary, and a garden. A very secret garden…



I absolutely loved the 1993 film version of The Secret Garden, My dad just bought it one day and thought I would like it. If I was smart I would have watched it right away. As I watched, I became mesmerized by that garden and the magic in it. I loved reading the original book too so I was really happy to see and read Return to the Secret Garden from a new author. 

Emmie is very much like our Mary. She's an orphan who has no friends other than a sullen cat she named Lucy. She's very skinny and always gets in trouble for the way she acts. Emmie follows in the footsteps of the original very closely which I don't mind too much. I enjoyed rediscovering the secret garden with fresh eyes. The secret garden isn't secret anymore but Emmie discover it because she needs the magic within. She finds a new life in Misselthwaite. She makes friends with a little robin and a boy she finds crying in the middle of the night - Jack. She transforms like Mary did while interacting with the original characters. 

The original characters - Mary, Colin, Dickon, and Martha - all make an appearance. It was bittersweet to see where in this version our original characters end up. I never really like it when characters age. They should stay the same always but I did like getting a glimpse of how one person sees these characters all grown up. There's a major event happening surrounding Emmie's arrival in Misselthwaite - WWII. The whole situation of them getting on trains to get out of London reminded me of Narnia. There was a lot of preparation and insight on what happened during those time which I found fascinating to read.                                                                                                                               I have to mention Lucy and her symbolism in this story. She's the first friend that Emmie makes. She starts being very skinny and wary of Emmie but is desperate enough to go to her because she's starving. They slowly create a bond but then Emmie has to leave her behind which crushes her. Their slow bond reminds me of the magic of the secret garden. Emmie and Lucy grow to depend on each other while the garden that she grows to depend on brings people towards Emmie to create new friendships. Lucy and Emmie are also very much alike.

I had fun exploring the secret garden once again. The original is of course the best but Return to the Secret Garden was such a wonderful story that brought back great memories with a new entertaining story and characters.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for letting me read and review Return to the Secret Garden in exchange for an honest review!

Monday, October 10, 2016

If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

Standalone. Harlequin Teen (Oct. 25, 2016) NetGalley
Readers of Sarah Dessen, Cammie McGovern and Morgan Matson will adore this thought-provoking, complex and romantic contemporary novel from debut author Abigail Johnson, about finding the strength to put yourself back together when everything you know has fallen apart.

When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.

Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.

With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . .

Fixing things is Jill's life. She's been working in her dad's shop fixing cars since she was a little kid. She's trying to mend the broken relationship with her former crush and best friend Sean. When her new neighbor, Daniel, comes around she tries to help him fix the argument with his mom but ends up messing things up with the most awkward meeting two neighbors can ever have. She's determined to make up for her mistake by trying to befriend her neighbor and help him with the only thing she's good at - cars. Meanwhile everything else in her life seems to be a wreck too. Can she ever get past what Sean did? Will her mother's departure be the end for their family or are there some thing's can't be fixed?

Jill is a sixteen year old mechanic which is something I've never come across before in any book. I don't know if that says a lot about me or the books I read. Most of the books I read the main characters are student's but none of those girl students are this into cars. I really admired Jill for being so good and passionate about something so early in her life. She gained this love of cars from her dad who she has such a close bond to. This was a relationship I could admire. Jill's relationship with her mother... not so much. You figure out why she left fairly early in the game. It's really scandalous. I didn't know how bad it was until the story was coming to a close. The thing with her mother is that you don't know whether to feel sorry for her in some ways or not. Jill has a very close relationship with her father and they come home late all the time so there doesn't seem like there is a time for that bond. And then I read some other questionable things about her and I wonder about this woman.

Sean and Daniel play a big part in this story. Sean was seen doing something that was an act of betrayal for Jill. From the very beginning though I was giving him the benefit of the doubt based on how the MC responded to the situation. Things are extremely complicated with Sean. I didn't really know if he was going to be let go or stay as a friend. It's extremely tough mainly because they have been best friends since Kindergarten. Jill has also has had an embarrassing crush on him for the longest time like creating wedding album when she was in like the fourth grade. You can tell how frustrating and hard it has been on both friends. Their interactions with each other have her flinching away and not being able to be alone without their friend Claire. It's an extremely awkward situation that I wanted resolved. 

Daniel is the new neighbor and he obviously has problems of his own. He's a bit cold and reserved with Jill in the beginning. They both learn about each other and share their problems which connects them. There is something questionable there that had me freaked out the whole time. I was really in constant worry over Jill and her heart. She had so many things thrown at her that I worried this was something else. This is another Sean situation. Everyone was always in flux with me that I was constantly going back and forth whether I liked them or not.

If I Fix You was a page turner. There was always something that had me wanting more for better or worse. I needed to know what was going to happen because everything was so uncertain. Jill's mechanic skills were awesome even if I had no idea what she was talking about. Her relationship with her dad was endearing. Her struggles to be a good friend, be a good daughter, and keep it together were constant which added to the story. There were so many moments where I didn't know where people stood - whether they were good or bad. Claire was also a highlight in If I Fix You. She is a friend of Jill and Sean who's really positive and is ridiculously good at running. She's also always there for her friends and probably doesn't get enough credit. 

If I Fix You has a great father-daughter relationship, deals with troubled family, friend, and new relationships while also having a unique main character. This always had me on the edge of my seat.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for letting me read and review If I Fix You in exchange for an honest review!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Books on Her Mind Weekly Recap #3


October has been the greatest blogging time this whole year! I'm working on Blogging Ahead which I've re-planned out. I'm still working on October posts but I'll soon be working on my November posts very soon. 

I'm linking this to The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Books Read





Challenge Updates

I completed the Goodreads Challenge! I have read more than 150 books this year and have more than 100 books I want to review... I'm planning on working on finishing these reviews the rest of the year and the beginning of next year.

I have also completed the Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge. I decimated it after I read most of Dragon Ball Z.

#FitReaders

I've started up #FitReaders again. You can see my last post here. I am training for a 5k and my last program jog/walk was 5 minutes walking, 4 minutes jogging, and then 5 minutes walking. I am on my third week today of the program. I have to expedite the program because my race is coming up in exactly 5 weeks. My ultimate goal is to be able to jog 30 minutes without stopping. Think I can do it?


Weekly Royal Releases/Finds



If you have any suggestions of books to feature please let me know in the comments!


To link your royal reads, see other reviews and discussions, or find out more information about the challenge you can visit here.

Looking Ahead


Monday, October 10th, 2016
If I Fix You

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
Return to the Secret Garden

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
Traveling on the Open Road

Thursday, October 13th, 2016
Batgirl

Friday, October 14th, 2016
#FitReaders: October 14, 2016 Check-In

Saturday. October 15th, 2016
Grimm Fairy Tales: King Thrushbeard

Sunday, October 16th, 2016
Books on Her Mind Weekly Recap #4

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Standalone. Atria Books (Nov. 2012) Library
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

Nastya walks into her new school wearing everything black, stiletto shoes, black eye shadow, and a tight dress. She gets away with it because there is something about her that all the teachers know. She doesn't speak. Not a single word. Josh has a force field around him. No one messes with him and he gets to do what he wants in shop class. A momentary glance has both of these two lives intertwining. Their walls start to break down, but is it enough to repair their damaged hearts?

Apparently I wanted a book to rip me open and tear me apart. I knew The Sea of Tranquility was going to be sad but I read it anyway because I like to torture myself. Nastya is a mystery for sure. She dresses a certain way so people will stay away from her. Something happened to her that broke her. She no longer lives with her parents and brother. She would no longer speak so she moved in with her aunt Margot. She's pretty much alone all the time just like Josh. Josh doesn't have anyone either. He does have his Sunday dinners with his friend and their family but it isn't the same. Drew, his friend, is actually the one who really got the ball rolling for Nastya and Drew's relationship together which is so comfortable even if Nastya won't ever tell Josh her secrets. Drew is a charmer and a player but Nastya sees through all of this. She's simply amused by him while she doesn't know what to feel for Josh other than curiosity.

My favorite times were when Josh and Nastya were in Josh's garage. Josh is an excellent carpenter. I always like when stories showcase a character's passion and skills. Josh felt at ease in his garage and Nastya picked up on that. Josh is the brooding, don't mess with me type. Nastya is the tough, don't mess with me type. They are so similar that they get along with each other so well. This was one of my favorite relationships and favorite books this year. When I read what happened to Nastya, I wasn't prepared. There were some really nice moments in this story but it was all encompassed with an underling sorrowful feeling. I felt all of it and enjoyed each and every page.

The Sea of Tranquility shows how evil the world can be but also how wonderful if you let the right people in.