Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne CollinsAuthor: Suzanne Collins
Series: Hunger Games #0
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: May 19th, 2020
Received: Own
Warnings: Starvation, illness, classism, abuse
Rating: 4 kitties

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the latest novel to come from Suzanne Collins. It’s also a prequel novel for the Hunger Games – her hit series. The odds are in your favor for having already heard a lot of news about it.

Personally, I was excited from the very first moment I heard about it. I know that some fans were concerned with the idea of the novel focusing on Snow. They were concerned that it was going to romanticize him, or otherwise downplay what he had done. I never had that concern. I believed that Collins had a story to tell, and she earned our trust with her original trilogy. Having read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I believe this was the right take on the matter.

The tenth annual Hunger Games is about to begin, and Snow – alongside eleven other classmates – has been pulled into the project. For the Hunger Games aren’t as successful as the creators had hoped. People aren’t watching them, they aren’t remembering properly.

Snow, being the driven character that he is, is determined to turn this into something positive for himself and his family. After all, Snow always lands on top. If he can get his name out there, he can start rebuilding the family name.

“For a moment he laughed, forgetting where they were, how depressing the backdrop. For a moment there was just her smile, the musical cadence of her voice, and the hint of flirtation. Then the world exploded.”

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Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls by Rory PowerPublisher: Delacourte Press
Author: Rory Power
Released: July 9th, 2019
Received: Own
Warnings: Graphic depictions, gore, self-harming, chemical gassing, medical experiments, animal death
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

Wilder Girls is the debut novel of Rory Power, and man did she come out swinging! There’s a good chance that you’ve already heard about this book – I’ve been seeing nearly nonstop talk about it since about two months before the official release. And having read it, I can understand why.

Wilder Girls is an intense read. It blends science fiction with horror and thriller elements. The end result is something dark and emotional and absolutely fascinating. Honestly, there needs to be more books like this.

The novel is set on Raxter island. A unique location known for its strange crabs and flowers. But that was before. Now the all-girls’ school on the island is in forced isolation. And the girls and staff are all getting sick. Or dying. Though perhaps sick isn’t the best word to describe what is happening to them…

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Review: The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book

The Ultimate Fluid Pouring and Painting Project BooksThe Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book: Inspiration and Techniques for Using Alcohol, Inks, Acrylics, Resin, and More; Create Colorful Paintings, Resin Coasters, Agate Slices, Vases, Vessels & More
Author: Jane Monteith
Publisher: Quarry Books
Released: November 12th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Ultimate Fluid Pouring Project Book is a fun and bright introduction to the world of fluid pouring. And that means Jane Monteith (the author and artist behind this unique book) is determined to inspire a whole new generation of artists.

This book contains everything you need to get started. There are the basics, which seem like an obvious inclusion, but without which this book would be much less approachable. The more noteworthy parts begin after the basics, however.

The Ultimate Fluid Pouring Project Book, is first and foremost, a project book. And that means that there are dozens of unique and new projects to try your hand at. Everything from paint pouring on paper to pouring on to tile is included within these pages. And it’s sure to get your imagination flowing (see what I did there?).

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Review: Starborn by Katie MacAlister


Author: Katie MacAlister
Series: Born Prophecy #2
Publisher: Rebel Base Books
Released: December 10th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Starborn through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Starborn is the second novel in Katie MacAlister’s Born Prophecy series. Following the events in Fireborn – our leading characters are now faced with a world that has seemingly accepted peace. And yet Deo is still being held prisoner, and they have yet to complete the set of tasks at hand.

Allegia is Fireborn, a lightweaver and a stubborn yet amusing woman. She’s determined to follow her new path in life, and doesn’t regret leaving behind her monastery. She finally has the life she’s always wanted, and is able to use her powers for their intended purpose.

Hallow is the Starborn. He’s also Allegria’s lover, and has somehow become the leader for something much larger than a simple movement. He’s determined to work alongside Allegria to save their friend, Deo. Meanwhile, poor Deo has been captured and taken to the shadowlands of Eris.


“I didn’t dare glance behind me to see how close the spirits were, having had ample proof from my brief skirmish with the thane to know that spirits can move very quickly when they choose to do so.”

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Review: Rainbow Brite

Rainbow BritePublisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Released: July 2nd, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Rainbow Brite through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Does anybody else remember the Rainbow Brite TV series? Or was it a movie? I can’t remember that much now, but I do remember being completely obsessed with the character when I was little. So I’m not ashamed to admit that I wanted to read this graphic novel in hopes of a heavy dose of nostalgia.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Rainbow Brite was more or less exactly like I remembered, though of course, this graphic novel did do a few fun twists with it. A fact that I can appreciate – we can’t have the story going stale now, can we?

This new graphic novel is being marketed towards kids and adults alike. To be honest, I think that a younger audience will appreciate the story more. Us adults will appreciate the memories though, so there’s that.

And in case you’re still wondering, yes, this graphic novel is, in fact, an origin story of the one and only Rainbow Brite. Take what you will from that.

This story follows Wisp and Willow. Two best friends who have no idea for the adventures that are in store for them. To be honest, their adventures started off as charming, but otherwise fairly slow. It was nice to get a chance to get to know both characters, of course. And I will give bonus points for the larping reference, which was totally unexpected.

This was a fun read, on the whole. I’m not going to pretend that it lived up to the expectations set by my childhood memory. But realistically that was an unfair comparison, to begin with. I will be curious to see what new fans think of this tale, without all of the expectations and biases of older fans.

For what it’s worth, I’m happy to have read it. Though I’m not entirely sure that I would continue the series. This was mostly a fun standalone or experience for me.

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Review: The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

The BeautifulAuthor: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Beautiful #1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Released: October 8th, 2019
Received: Own
Rating: 4 kitties

The Beautiful is the first novel in a new series written by Renee Ahdieh. I knew that I had to pick this book up from the moment I saw the cover. I just go head over heels for simple and elegant designs. But then I kept hearing about The Beautiful, and I knew it was something worth following up on.

Set in 1872, New Orleans, The Beautiful follows Celine Rousseau. She’s moved to New Orleans from Paris thanks to a local convent. She may be running from her past, but that isn’t going to stop her from trying to make a new future here.

But there’s more than meets the eye happening in New Orleans. There’s a killer on the loose, and they’re targeting young and beautiful women. It’s only a matter of time before Celine finds herself in the killer’s sights.

Celine Rousseau has never been a woman to be intimidated. A serial killer being on the loose is not enough to change her plans. Or force her into hiding. That’s just the sort of person she is. She’s charming and determined all in one. And she’s going to find a way to take this serial killer down.

The Beautiful is a lovely mix of murder mystery and romance. And thus is perfect for anybody that finds themselves enjoying either genre – though ideally both. Oh, and did I mention that there are vampires involved? It is New Orleans, after all.


“We forget our dreams, but nightmares linger with us evermore.”

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Review: Where There’s Hope by Frank Tayell

Where There’s Hope by Frank TayellAuthor: Frank Tayell
Series: Surviving The Evacuation #15
Released: December 17th, 2018
Received: Own
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

Where There’s Hope is the fifteenth novel in the Surviving the Outbreak series by Frank Tayell, and honestly, it’s almost shocking to realize how long the series has been going on for. I’d happily take another dozen novels in this series, given the chance.

Surviving the Outbreak has been by far one of the most emotional and detailed zombie outbreak series I’ve read to date. It’s easily my favorite out there – by a long shot. One of the shining features of this series is the varied cast of characters and their stories.

Where There’s Hope continues to follow our ragtag group of survivors and their quest to find a new home. This time the focus is back on Chester, Bill, and Nilda. I love that the series will bounce around like this; giving us a chance to see different perspectives but having a main focus per book. It keeps things nice and neat (even when I do get anxious to see how the others are doing).

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Review: Draw Like an Artist: 100 Realistic Animals

Draw Like An ArtistDraw Like an Artist: 100 Realistic Animals: Step-by-Step Realistic Line Drawing
Author: Melissa Washburn
Released: December 17th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Draw Like an Artist through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Draw Like An Artist: 100 Realistic Animals: Step-by-Step Realistic Line Drawing may be a mouthful of a title, but I can assure you that it delivers on the one major promise that it makes. This is a guide that will show you how to draw hundreds of different animals.

The artwork inside Draw Like An Artist is simple, but in this case, that’s a good thing. There’s less distraction going on. And if we’re being honest, the simple line art is significantly less intimidating for those just starting out.

I cannot stress this enough; Draw Like An Artist has hundreds of drawings for reference material within its pages. We’re talking about a huge variety of animals, from birds to horses, and everything in between.

This is a book that is both perfect as an instructional guide, and as a reference book. It’s one you’re going to want on your shelves, if you think there’s any chance you’ll be drawing lots of animals in your future.

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Review: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Day Shift

Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #2
Publisher: Ace
Released: May 7th, 2015
Received: Own
Rating: 4 kitties

Day Shift is the second novel in Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas series. And it does not disappoint. Midnight, Texas is a strange place – the sort of place that collects misfit people with strange histories and powers.

Lately, the small town has been facing a lot of changes. First, a new person moved to town (see Midnight Crossroads). Now, one of their own has been wrapped up in a series of investigations, while other changes are also encroaching on the town. Changes that they’re not so sure how to feel about.

One thing is certain; if they keep up at this pace, it’s going to become next to impossible for the town to maintain the low profile that its residents have come to love and require.


“He feels unaccountably chilled by the advent of the new people, and he wants to be warm tonight.”

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Review: Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Parable of the Sower A Graphic Novel AdaptationPublisher: Abrams Comic Arts
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Adaptation: Damian Duffy
Artist: John Jennings
Released: January 14th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Parable of the Sower through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

To be clear: Parable of the Sower is a graphic novel adaptation of a novel by Octavia E. Butler (of the same name, in case that wasn’t clear). The novel originally published back in the ‘90s, and it seemed right to try and do something more with it now.

Damian Duffy handled the writing for the adaptation, and John Jenning lent his artwork. Together they brought Butler’s tale to all-new heights.

Set in the year 2024, this novel if full of heavy dystopian plot. Butler didn’t write a happy futuristic world, but instead something dark and disturbing. Here is a world without regulations; a world created by the consequences of our actions. In a world where we destroyed the environment.

This is the world that Lauren Olamina was born into. Her life had been protected; she lived in a world more similar to a bubble than she would have ever liked to admit. That it, up until everything changed for her. And then it was her turn to change the lives of others.

I can’t emphasize enough that this is an adaptation. Now, I personally love adaptations. And I think many others do as well (how many times have we hoped to see a book make it into the theaters?). So I was incredibly excited when I saw that this one was getting turned into a graphic novel.

Butler’s tale translated perfectly onto the pages here. I know that Duffy had to edit some things to make it all fit with Jenning’s artwork, but I think the end result was something that still felt true to the original works. Actually, I think they built upon it, but that’s just a personal opinion.

This graphic novel is perfect for any dystopian fan, or any fan of Octavia Butler, for that matter. And if you’re a fan of both, then you’re in luck. Because this adaptation has everything I could have hoped for, and then some.

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