PTSD – Guillaume Singelin

PTSD by Guillaume Singelin takes place after the main character Jun returns from a war that was unpopular with the population. When she returns she starts taking painkillers trying to cover up her newfound mental and physical issues that arose from war. She must survive in a world where veterans are not treated well by the population and forgotten by the government. Her personality served her well in combat but now she must learn to lower her guard to assimilate back into society.

Singelin does a brilliant job of showing emotion through the character expression and stylization of the comic. It is clear as to what the characters are feeling from happiness to distress and anger. She does a great job with the text showing other parts of their personality, for instance, there is a young child, Bao, his innocence is shown through his speech and facial expression. I feel, especially with small children, that their age gets lost and they end up talking like someone who is much older. Singelin, thankfully, does not have this issue.

PTSD, as the title suggests, explores how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects veterans when they come back from war. Jun often has flashbacks from her time as a sniper, some of them are nice and others are not. While the transition between the present and the past. I think this is a good way to show how fast flashbacks can come on, from my understanding of them. It is nice to see this brought up in a different format.

Singelin shows the struggles that Vets face when they come home. At least in the United States there is a growing problem with pain medication abuse among Vets. This comes up many times in the comic not only with Jun but with the other Veterans in the comic. Homelessness is also a prominent problem. Singelin shows all of these problems, the good and bad things. Jun, has a hard time accepting help from people getting angry at anyone who offered her help thinking that she is only getting help because the one offering it wants to feel good about themselves. I love that she is able to show all of these challenges even in a panel format.

I have one minor problem with the actual printing of this comic. The letters of the title are punched out of the cover, it makes it really hard to hold the comic without your fingers going through the holes. While this may not be a problem for some people, it was distracting for me and took away from my overall enjoyment reading it. It’s such a shame that I had a problem with something so small, especially because it does look good artistically.

PTSD is a great comic to read. It showcases so many problems that are faced by Vets. The art is fantastic and a joy too even just flip through and look at. If you like graphic novels/comics this is one that should be on your list to check out.

Sisters of the Fire – Kim Wilkins


I was given an e-Advanced Reader Copy of this novel through Netgalley. Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to do so!

Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins is the second installment of the Blood and Gold series. Wilkins again delivers a novel with diverse characters, scheming sisters, conspiracy and of course magic. She delves deeper into her world and builds upon it in and even explores new regions.

Wilkins’ again manages to keep the sisters separated from each other, which is important in a book that has five sisters that all reoccur. Bluebell must learn to take her father’s place on the throne. Ash seeks out a dragon in hopes of changing her Becoming, teaming up with Unweder. Ivy must recover from her mistakes to avoid a rebellion against her rule. Rose has been banished from her home after her infidelity is discovered and has to live with her choice giving up her daughter, Rowan, for her lover, Heath. Willow, armed with the Kinslayer gathers an army under Mavaa’s name to kill her heathen sister, Bluebell. The five of them interweave together, making for a story of reconciliation, fear, love and hate.

I appreciate that Wilkins brings Rowan into her novel. She has been taken care of by Snowy for the last four years, with occasional visits from Wengest. She struggles with who she should call father, which is a side effect that I didn’t consider. She lives with Snowy who is her fatherly figure. While she also has Wengest and Heath, one her biological father and the other who believe that he is. This internal conflict is interesting to see, but not only that Rowan has become willful and strong, preferring hunt and explore over learning how to cook and embroider. Rowan reminds me a lot of Bluebell, though she is a lot less focused on violence. So here is another female character that is still differentiated from the other five.

When I finished Daughters of the Storm I was a little nervous about where the series was going to go. Now this isn’t inherently a bad thing because I was still really excited for it. My main concern was keeping the Sisters’ stories all interesting and different from each other. I found more drawn to Ash, Rowan and Bluebell in this book, but I still found the others interesting in their own right. Ivy and Willow both drove me nuts though. Willow is off on her religious escipages and Ivy refuses to take anyone’s advice and it comes back to bite her, hardcore.

I’m so glad that this novel held up to the first one. By the end of this edition everything has come together for a satisfying ending but still leavings you with enough mystery to want continue to read the series. I wish I didn’t have to wait for Queens of the Sea!

Foundryside – Robert Jackson Bennett

In Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel Foundryside, Sancia is given a job to steal a box, she is unconcerned about getting caught due to her unique ability to sense the things around her by touch. Little does she know in this box is an artifact that will change her life forever. You see, in Sancia’s world magic is a written system that allows objects to do things. Sancia’s ability is thus a medical mystery, people themselves don’t have magic they create it. She has now become mixed up in what could be the biggest upset in history, and to survive she has to find allies in the most unconventional of all places: The Merchant Houses. The same Houses that have been the source of her suffering.

Foundryside has a lot of things going for it including political intrigue, plot development and character development. Jackson Bennett interweaves these things together almost flawlessly creating a stunning fantasy novel.

Jackson Bennett creates a world where everything is split into Merchant Houses, and those don’t belong live in Foundyside. This is the rough part of town where the poor barely skate by, often committing crimes just to stay alive. To see this kind of disparity in one place interesting you could walk a foot and suddenly be surrounded by those who are better off in society. But of course the house don’t get along and this is where the political intrigue comes in. These Houses will do anything to get a head of each other, including stealing scrivings from each other. Scrivings are a written magic system that allows for the manipulation of an object. Wood acts like steel. A feather suddenly acts like a cannonball. However, these things need to be discovered and when they are they can put a House from the bottom of the food chain to the top in a matter of days. Of course Sancia gets herself caught up in the Houses’ mess and finds that there’s more than just the Houses at stake but the whole world.

Each character is unique. Sancia is a thief, Orso is an inventor of sorts, Berniece is Orso’s assistant and Gregor is the son of one of the Houses’ leaders and yet they all have to work together for a common cause. The dynamic between the group is fun to watch. They are all suspicious of each other and they slowly warm up to each other out of necessity, but they still bicker about what should be done. Especially when it comes to Sancia. I love that while there is romance in this book you will miss it if you blink. Which is really refreshing to not have a romance be at the center of the plot.

All in all, I really enjoyed Foundryside, it has its flaws but they didn’t take away from my ability to enjoy the book. I’m curious to see where the series is going as I definitely didn’t didn’t see the ending coming. I’ll will be picking up the next book in this series!  

The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos

Spoilers for A Winter’s Promise.

I was given a E-Advanced Reader Copy through Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to do so!

Christelle Dabos’ The Missing of Clairdelune is the second installment to her The Mirror Visitor Quartet. Ophelia’s adventure continues in The Pole. Her and Thron are set to be married, so that Thorn can share Ophelia’s ability to read the history of objects. Finally revealed to the court and the politics that come with it, Ophelia requests from the Family Spirit, Farouk, a job. He assigns her to be the Vice-Storyteller, a job that will have her telling stories from Anima to him and other members of the court. Thrust deeper into court politics Ophelia finds that her fiance is the only one that she can truly trust. When people in the court hierarchy begin disappearing each has some kind of connect that leads back to Ophelia. She must find out what is happening to them before it’s too late. Even if it means disobeying Thorn’s orders.

The Missing of Clairdelune is more fast paced than A Winter’s Promise. While it still has the political intrigue of it’s successor, it has so much more action in it. Something is always going on. Mostly because Ophelia is a strong headed character and refuses to listen to anyone when they tell her that something isn’t a good idea. For the most part I like this about her, but sometimes you just want to shake her because you know it’s a terrible idea for her to go off alone or decide to investigate something the Thorn specifically tells her not to stick her nose in. This is just a flaw in her character and who doesn’t like an author that actually gives their characters flaws?

Dabos’ is consistent with her characters. Ophelia is clumsy as ever, but not to the point of being obnoxious. She does have points of being a klutz durning important things but Dabos uses it cleverly and it’s often hilarious because it’s relatable. For instance at one point she trips on the stairs going down off of a stage. Thorn is still telling Ophelia not to get involved in things and not draw attention to herself. He is still socially awkward and withdrawn. I love that she is able to be consistent with her characters. Often times authors will say that someone is clumsy or withdrawn but they lose their characteristics by the end of the book unless it’s convenient to the story progression.

This novel is much better than the first. This may be because there is more action in this one because there isn’t as much world building that has to occur. I have some problems with how the novel ended because I’m not sure where the next two books are going to go, but I will be reading the third book when it is translated. It certainly does make me wish that I could read French so I wouldn’t have to wait!

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, translated by Hildegarde Serle, follows Ophelia as she is given away to be married to Thorn. Thorn is from a different clan in a different part of the world. Ophelia must learn how to navigate a new place, which may as well be a completely different world. Ophelia has the power to see the history of an object by touch, she also has the rare ability to pass through mirrors. Thorn is cold, stand-offish and completely uninterested in Ophelia. The reasoning for their match is unknown to Ophelia and she struggles to come to terms that she is going to be married off. She can’t say no without risking a war between the two clans. Ophelia is forced to stay in hiding instead of entering Court life with Thorn, not only that, she fears that their secrecy bodes poorly for her future.

This novel has a lot of intrigue. The magic in A Winter’s Promise appears to be somewhat clan based. Ophelia’s clan can manipulate what they call Anima. Ophelia can ‘read’ objects and see the history of the object, she can also travel through mirrors. Talon’s Aunts however have the ability to harm people without touching them. It’s not fully explained how the magic came to be so divided but having it split this way is an interesting idea. I would guess that it has something to do with the mysterious Rupture that split the world into floating islands, but I’m not entirely sure.

There’s some strange translation going on here. There are random French phrases and words that are left in the novel. I understand the ones that are names, it makes sense to leave those alone but in conversations and descriptions it can get confusing. I wish they were directly translated so that I wouldn’t have to look up the phrases in the middle of reading. Along this vein there’s a lot of large vocabulary that I think makes this on the very high end of Young Adult books, but I would lean towards it being adult. Funnily enough a lot of those words are French in origin.

I really enjoyed this novel, even though it has some fairly prominent flaws. For one Thorn is a jerk. He doesn’t tell Ophelia about anything he does including his reasoning for marrying her specifically. He lets his Aunts abuse her, mentally and physically and does nothing about it. Even when he finds out about it he is very nonchalant about it. He claims to care about her but he doesn’t do anything to prove it. However, I find myself still liking him because he’s not perfect. The story doesn’t make him the most beautiful person in the world like many other novels do with their male protagonists. He is also socially withdrawn and doesn’t seem to know what he’s done to make Ophelia upset. I appreciate that Dabos doesn’t make him the picture of perfection and thank you for not making her be head over heels for someone who is terrible to her.

I have high hopes for the second book in this series and I can’t wait to read it! I would suggest this novel to people who like fantasy and don’t mind having to get used to the style of a book that is translated, as well as some more complicated vocabulary. This novel has a lot going for it from the characters to the setting and the plot.

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty follows a group of nine people as they enter a health resort run by Masha an eccentric health nut willing to do anything to make people feel the best that they possibly can. Using rigorous physical and mental exercises as well as controlling their food intake. Each member has a plan set in front of them depending on what they want when they come out of their health retreat experience. Does Masha truly care about their health or is she will she go too far?

This is not Moriarty’s best book, from five that I’ve read this was my least favorite. By far. I spent the whole book waiting for the psychological thriller part to happen. It never did. I really don’t even know what the plot was actually supposed to be. Really. I made my best guess, but man, it was up in the air for this one.

Most of the characters were unmemorable and really over the top when it came to caricaturization. For instance, there is a couple who are going through a rough spot in their marriage and go to the resort to sort out their problems. Another family has suffered through a tragic death in their family. These were all very obvious and uncreative reasons for someone to go to a health resort. I wish she could have picked different reason for them to be there. Really the only characters that I liked were Frances, Heather and Zoe. Masha was fun to watch with her descent into madness. But only liking 3 of the 9 Strangers and one of the people who works at the resort. Those are not good odds.

I hope that this book is just a slump in her writing career because I really enjoyed her other novels. Nine Perfect Strangers is not one of those novels however. Avoid this novel and pick up one of her other ones. My suggestion would be The Husband’s Secret or Little Big Lies.

Her One Mistake – Heidi Perks

I was given an E-Advanced Reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to do so.

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks is a stunning thriller that takes place after a child, Alice, is left in the care of Charlotte. Charlotte takes Alice and her 3 children to a fair. While in her care Alice disappears, seemingly without a trace. Her children don’t know where she went and no one at fair saw her either. Not only is Charlotte devastated but Alice’s mother, Harriet, who made the choice to leave Alice with her friend. As it goes when people disappear, everything is not how it seems.

Her One Mistake, in a world of thrillers that are full of the same things happening over and over, is not entirely unique. However, Perks manages to build tension and keep it there leaving you wanting to keep reading until you finish. I found myself to actually be nervous while reading the book, waiting to find out what happened, especially during the last third of the book. It was refreshing to know a good majority of the plot twists, by guessing, and still be held in suspense through the authors writing and pacing.

As I said before there isn’t really anything special plot wise about this book. There are thousands of books that are about children who go missing and even more that have questionable parents. However, the author chooses to not use physical or sexual abuse, but goes for mental abuse using gaslighting. This gave me a sense of doubt who was telling the truth and who was not. This helped build tension and kept me guessing if my theory was correct or not.

Her One Mistake is a quick read, mostly due to the fact that there aren’t any luls in the suspense of the story. There was really no good place to stop reading that wasn’t going to leave you with some kind of desire to pick the book up again with in minutes to continue reading. I really appreciated that the book didn’t follow the detective of the case. Instead Perks utilises the families involved. There is part of the novel that takes place in the a police station but again the focus is on the main character’s thoughts when being questioned by a detective and not the other way around. So often this side of a thriller is missed when the main character is involved in the investigation.

Her One Mistake was definitely not a mistake to read. This easily the best thriller that I’ve read all year. I highly recommend it to people who like mystery and thriller novels, especially psychological thrillers.

Ghosted -Rosie Walsh

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh is a romance novel that follows Sarah who after and accident in her hometown she moves to Los Angeles. During a visit to her parents she meets Eddie David, who she instantly falls for. They spend her week in England together, when the end of the week comes they promise to keep in touch. Weeks go by and Eddie has not responded to her. Sarah fears she’s been ghosted, but she refuses to give up. Soon she finds out the real reason he stopped talking to her and she’s devastated. She hopes that they can make it work, but knows that it probably won’t.

Have you ever had that book that you kept reading, but you don’t know why you did? That was Ghosted for me. This novel takes forever to get going, it’s not until the second part of the book, which is about halfway through, for the first real twist to happen. That twist made me want to know what happened but in the end I ended up being disappointed.

The character development over all wasn’t bad but the romance between Sarah and Eddie did make me hope that they would end up together. I wish that their week together was more drawn out and affectionate so that I would care about their relationship. Their relationship is the most important one in the whole book and yet the week that they spend together is maybe a quarter of the book. There’s a problem when you feel more connected to a side character who has been dead for years.

Ghosted needed to have a twist before it did, but the big twist would have been enough for the novel. After this twist is revealed there are many other smaller ones in the last half of the book that did not seem necessary. They added in character development for characters that were not involved in the story besides having the main characters talk about them. I really didn’t see the need to learn more about Hannah, Alex or Sarah’s abusive ex-boyfriend. However, I don’t think that taking them out would have helped save this book for me.

Walsh’s novel left many things to be desired, from the late story twists to character development. I was initially intrigued by the synopsis but now I wish I would have forgone reading it and moved on to a book that captured my attention better.

Daughters of the Storm – Kim Wilkins

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins follows five sisters as they try to save their father, The King, from a mysterious illness that has suddenly put him into a deep slumber. Convinced that his illness is caused by a spell the sisters take him, in secret, to try and find a witch that specialises in illegal dark magic. While the five sisters have a common goal they are all different, a proud warrior, an adultress, one harbors potentially dark magic, another is vain and the last sister is a sacrilegious zealot. Each follows their own path doing what they believe is best for their father and themselves.

Wilkins’ imagination for the creation of her characters is astounding. Each character is different from the other. Which is unexpected with books that involve siblings. They often end up blending together and making it hard to remember who is who. Willow and Ash were the most interesting to be as Willow follows a religion that isn’t talked about in depth which made it intriguing. I am hoping that Mavaa will become more clear in the next novel. Ash has a magic that is very powerful but isn’t really explained fully, though it is made a little more clear by the end. Ash’s destiny is also said to be blighted and I’m curious to see how that will play out. The other sisters’ actions throughout the novel are fairly obvious, which was a little disappointing but, aside from Ivy, it was made it by their personality and the writing of their actions.

While the overarching plot of the novel is saving the King from certain death so much does on that I sort of forgot about it. I didn’t think that this was a bad thing because, let’s face it, who would want to read a book that was just five sisters sitting around their father hoping that he gets better. Not me. I’m glad that the novel branched out to follow the sisters through their own separate parts and that was the most enjoyable part to me, mostly because the King doesn’t have the time to develop so I didn’t care much if he recovered or not.

I’m excited to see how the magic system of this series is going to play out. It isn’t until the last quarter of the book that it’s magic is talked about to a deeper extent. It could be interesting as it seems that it is unusually for someone to gain magic powers until they are much older, seeming to be more like their 30’s, though it is just stated that Ash is too young to have any kind of magic.

I appreciated that Wilkins had a twist at the end of the novel but it was still a satisfying ending. If the epilogue was cut out it could have easily been a stand alone. It was nice to find an author that relied more on her writing to get people to come back to read the next installment than having an extreme cliff hanger for the ending.

Daughters of the Storm is a novel that will take you on an adventure, through 5 very different sisters. Each of them giving their own viewpoints on their world and each other. I’d suggest picking this book up if you’re looking for a book that has some crossings into Game of Thrones but with less characters and political intrigue to follow.

The Storyteller’s Secret – Sanjal Badani

I received an eBook from the publisher in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to do so.

After having 3 miscarriages Jaya’s life and marriage are falling apart. Jaya finds out that her grandfather has requested that her mother goes back to India so that he can give her something before he dies. When Jaya’s mother refuses, Jaya, hoping to get away from her life goes instead not understanding her mother’s refusal to return to India to see her father. When she gets to India she meets Ravi, one of her father’s former servants. From hearing her Grandmother’s story she learns things about her family and herself.   

I have mixed feelings about The Storyteller’s Secret by Sajal Badani. On one hand, it it is a fun story to read but on the other it didn’t have anything in it that wasn’t unexpected. Everything that happened in the novel I saw coming from a mile away and this ruined some of the fun of reading it. For instance, as Jaya learns more about her Grandmother, and in turn her mother, she suddenly forgives her mother for all of her years of distance and apparent dislike of her. I find it hard to believe that this could happen just from learning a few things and having very minor talks with her mother on the phone while she was in India. Wounds like that take longer than a few weeks to heal.

Badani does do a good job of giving the main characters personality. I found myself really enjoying Jaya’s interactions with Ravi and his family. Really, I would read a book that is just about Ravi, he has such a well constructed character and he is so fun to listen to. However, I did have some issues with relating to the characters just because of the subject matter. I’m privileged enough to not know what extreme poverty is like. I haven’t experienced the grief of a miscarriage or divorce. I am glad that can’t relate to those experiences, it just makes it hard to relate to at times. But I did enjoy the characters. Jaya’s husband and her parents could have been developed more, but overall I did like the characters.  

The romance is this book annoyed me a little bit. It seemed like the two characters went from hating each other to suddenly loving each other again. This could have been delved into more so it didn’t seem so sudden. Their conversations between each other didn’t really hint at the fact that they were ready to make their relationship work. Here again is the problem with things that seem like a huge issue healing over a few weeks times.

If you’re looking for something that would be a quick read without much real sustenance this would be a good book for you. It is definitely not a book for someone who is easily annoyed when they can guess future plot point in a novel.