Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley | Series Review

Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley
August 1st – 2nd
★★★★☆ (each)

I don’t tend to read a lot of graphic novels. It’s a shame, too, because when I read them I find that I really enjoy them. I find them quick reads, and I like that the format lends itself to more comedic moments visually than a traditional book does. My partner really loves the Scott Pilgrim movie directed by Edgar Wright. During the course of our relationship, I don’t think I can count all of the times that we’ve watched it.

The movie has grown on me a lot. At first I found it really confusing, but I didn’t have any context. I’ve come to find it really funny, and I wanted to see if the graphic novels carried that same humor.

I was not expecting to like these as much as I did, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to like them more than the movie. Scott in the movie is a little pathetic. He’s kind of wandering through his life and doesn’t know what he wants to do. And Ramona in the movie is a bit dramatic. She talks about her dark past and wanting to escape, but says things like “I do that sometimes” which always really bothered me. I think that these two things are what prevented me from reading these sooner than I did, because I didn’t want more of that dynamic.

The books couldn’t be more different in this regard. Ramona has a backbone and a personality outside of her past in the books. She’s not confined to the love-interest and manic-pixie-dream-girl for Scott, but she has her moments where she acts out and gets scared. In the movie, they seem random and unprovoked. In the book we get more of a glimpse into her past, as well as indications about her desire to change, but how she keeps coming back to Gideon.

Scott is extremely different in the book as well. He still has his moments where he’s pathetic, but he’s less likable and more human. He’s more of a real person, who has his own flaws which mostly parallel Ramona’s. The two of them are a perfect couple, and this makes the ending of the series that much more sweet. He becomes one of her evil exes, then makes a conscious change and goes after her again. It’s wonderful.

A lot of the lines in the movie are directly taken out of the book, as are most of the transitions and the style decisions. I liked the consistency between page and screen, and the movie is definitely a faithful adaptation. The things lost in the movie are to be expected: exposition, backstory and things which there just isn’t time for when you’re condensing six volumes down into one feature length film.

I read all six of these over the course of a couple days. I highly enjoyed the art, reading them in color, and looking at all of the similarities between what I already knew and liked, versus what I now know and love.

Thank you for reading through this latest review, feel free to check out some of my recent reviews and come back next week for a look at more titles that I read.

-Siobhan

Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley | Book Series Review

Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley
August 1st – 2nd
★★★★☆ (each)

I don’t tend to read a lot of graphic novels. It’s a shame, too, because when I read them I find that I really enjoy them. I find them quick reads, and I like that the format lends itself to more comedic moments visually than a traditional book does. My partner really loves the Scott Pilgrim movie directed by Edgar Wright. During the course of our relationship, I don’t think I can count all of the times that we’ve watched it.

The movie has grown on me a lot. At first I found it really confusing, but I didn’t have any context. I’ve come to find it really funny, and I wanted to see if the graphic novels carried that same humor.

I was not expecting to like these as much as I did, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to like them more than the movie. Scott in the movie is a little pathetic. He’s kind of wandering through his life and doesn’t know what he wants to do. And Ramona in the movie is a bit dramatic. She talks about her dark past and wanting to escape, but says things like “I do that sometimes” which always really bothered me. I think that these two things are what prevented me from reading these sooner than I did, because I didn’t want more of that dynamic.

The books couldn’t be more different in this regard. Ramona has a backbone and a personality outside of her past in the books. She’s not confined to the love-interest and manic-pixie-dream-girl for Scott, but she has her moments where she acts out and gets scared. In the movie, they seem random and unprovoked. In the book we get more of a glimpse into her past, as well as indications about her desire to change, but how she keeps coming back to Gideon.

Scott is extremely different in the book as well. He still has his moments where he’s pathetic, but he’s less likable and more human. He’s more of a real person, who has his own flaws which mostly parallel Ramona’s. The two of them are a perfect couple, and this makes the ending of the series that much more sweet. He becomes one of her evil exes, then makes a conscious change and goes after her again. It’s wonderful.

A lot of the lines in the movie are directly taken out of the book, as are most of the transitions and the style decisions. I liked the consistency between page and screen, and the movie is definitely a faithful adaptation. The things lost in the movie are to be expected: exposition, backstory and things which there just isn’t time for when you’re condensing six volumes down into one feature length film.

I read all six of these over the course of a couple days. I highly enjoyed the art, reading them in color, and looking at all of the similarities between what I already knew and liked, versus what I now know and love.

Thank you for reading through this latest review, feel free to check out some of my recent reviews and come back next week for a look at more titles that I read.

-Siobhan

Top 5 Audiobooks

I’ve been listening to more audiobooks recently. Part of that definitely has to do with Audible having a sale, and the other part of that is that I’m reading a lot more non-fiction this year than I have in years past. In fact, looking at my current stats I’ve read 6 non-fiction books. That may not sound like a lot, but considering my average was between zero and one for the past however many years, I think I’m definitely branching out.

And audiobooks have become a majority of that reading. I like listening to authors read their own books: they’re intimate with the work and they give more life to the work. All of the non-fiction that I’ve read this year I’ve also listened to. For some of them I switched back and forth between the audiobook and the text depending on when I was listening. That being said I also listened to a few fiction books on audiobook, and have greatly enjoyed those as well.

I wanted to give you my overall top 5 audiobooks. I think this will be fun to look back on so I can see if I find that any of these change, or if they stay the same in years to come. I have some other plans for yearly statistics coming up towards the end of the year, so stay tuned for that as well.

These are in no particular order, so let’s just get into them.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey is an amazing writer, comedian, and all-around good person. As an aspiring writer, I find her work to be incredibly influential, and I look up to her so much. She’s not afraid to put herself out there both on the page and on the screen, and that becomes very evident in her book. This book had me laughing from the first page to the last, and I really enjoyed listening to Tina Fey read the book herself.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

In a similar vein, I recently listened to Amy Poehler’s book. My favorite part of this book were the guest appearances by other people I admire like Seth Meyers, and it was a lot of fun listening to her talk about some of the best parts of Parks and Rec and SNL. The stories in Poehler’s book were tangentially connected to Bossypants, so I was super glad that I read both of these this year to get the full context of their amazing story. Amy Poehler has a chapter called “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend”. A friend had told me about this chapter prior to me reading the book, and though I expected it to resonate to an extent, I feel like this book came to me in the perfect time in my life. I’ve since gone back and read that chapter a few times and listened to Amy Poehler read it. It honestly feels like she’s sitting in my car with me and giving me advice.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara (Narrated by Gillian Flynn)

I know, I know, I wrote about this book last week. It’s just so good. One thing I didn’t mention in my full review of this book was that I listened to the majority of it on audiobook. The book was narrated by Gillian Flynn, who did an incredible job giving Michelle McNamara her own voice, while remaining respectful to the woman who wrote it. This story is extremely personal, and a lot of the time I forgot that Flynn was narrating it. I found myself gripping the steering wheel a bit too tightly as I drove home, completely immersed in the narrative. I loved this book a lot. It was an amazing reading experience, and an even better listening experience. If you haven’t already read this book, you should read that, and then go read my review of it.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

I’ll be honest, I chose this book for two reasons: it was short, and it was narrated by the author. This was one of the first books that I read this year. I listened to it on my ten minute commute to work, and was done within two or three days. I found it funny, charming, and insightful. This book touched on a lot of information that I did already have some knowledge about, and I did wish that it would branch out a bit further to give some more information, but I greatly enjoyed the little refresh it gave me. Maybe he’ll come out with a sequel called “More Astrophysics”. I would read that.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Narrated by Stephen Fry)

This is probably one of, if not the oldest book on my Goodreads TBR list. I added it in January of 2011, which is probably when I purchased the complete volume. I finally got to it this year, because it was narrated by Stephen Fry, and because it was relatively short and I was trying to catch up to get back to being ahead of my reading challenge. I had seen the movie previously and was not super impressed with it, so I was hesitant to go into it. I’m definitely glad that I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it. Stephen Fry made the piece seem more lighthearted and I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll definitely pick up the next installment soon.

That’s all of my current top five audiobooks! I hope you found something new to read here, and keep an eye out for next week where I’ll be having a full series review coming your way. (For a sneak peak of what that’s going to be, feel free to add me on Goodreads).

-Siobhan

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara | Book Review

July 18th – 20th
★★★★★

I’m picky. I’m especially picky when it comes to non-fiction. Looking at my read books from this past year, I’m happy with how much non-fiction I’ve read. It’s definitely more than in the past. I’ve read astronomy and a lot of memoirs this year, but one thing I’ve been hesitant to dive into is true crime.

I love true crime. Growing up, I watched CSI all the time. I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist when I grew up. That changed as time went on, but I did also minor in anthropology in college. I find true crime especially fascinating. The first season of the podcast Serial hooked me in deeply, as did the HBO series The Jinx. But like I said, I’m picky. I like true crime that presents facts and lets the audience come to their own conclusion. I don’t like agendas.

This book hit every note for me, and is my second five-star book of the year.

Michelle McNamara’s writing is deliberate. She has the ability to weave a narrative based off of case files which happened twenty years before I was born and hook me in. She rekindled the piece of me that wanted to solve mysteries growing up.

The Golden State Killer is McNamara’s name for the East Area Rapist or Original Night Stalker, a man who went on a full crime spree in the late 70’s in the Sacramento area. The crime details are gruesome and horrific, and McNamara doesn’t gloss over this fact. I listened to the audiobook, and there were times driving home late at night where I found myself gripping the steering wheel a bit too tightly, or stepping too far down on the gas pedal, completely engrossed in the narrative.

The book also discusses McNamara herself, who died in 2016. It goes into her obsession, sometimes a bit too much, as well as her past and her reasons for becoming so invested in this case. The book was completed by those who shared a fixation on this case with her, and published earlier this year. A few months after the book was published, the Golden State Killer was caught and convicted.

This is the type of true crime that I think we need more of. We need the passion projects, the stories that grip people and that they need to find a solution for, even if there is no solution to be found. (See the first season of Serial as an example of this.) We need less “did he or didn’t he” and more “here’s what happened.”

I would love to find more books like this, and I’m sure that I will.

-Siobhan

July Recap

Well, well, well. Haven’t done a recap in a while. Even though I’ve been reading more consistently since mid-June, I didn’t do a recap at the end of the month. So here we are! In the month of July, I read eleven books! Eleven! That’s bananas considering the terrible slump I was in for most of March, April and May.

To be fair, I did read five graphic novels, four of which were comic collections, but they were books and I’m counting it. I have reviews coming for a few of these, so keep an eye out for that.

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel – June 26th – July 3rd
★★★★☆

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman – July 7th – 12th
★★★★☆

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen – July 14th
★★★★☆

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen – July 14th
★★★★☆

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen – July 14th
★★★★☆

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol – July 15th
★★★★☆

Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition by Julia Kaye – July 15th
★★★★☆

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – July 15th – 17th
★★★★☆

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – July 18th – 20th
★★★★★

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – July 22nd – 27th
★★★★☆

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton – July 28th – 31st
★★★☆☆

I had such a great reading month and I’m happy to say that I’m back on track for my goal of 52 books by the end of the year. I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep up and read a lot this next month too!

-Siobhan

 

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag

It’s the beginning of August, which means yesterday was my birthday! I turned 24 this year, and to celebrate that I wanted to do a fun reading tag. Since it was recently Harry’s birthday as well, I figured that the Harry Potter Spells Tag would be the perfect one to do. I found this tag at Kimberly Faye Reads who I believe is the creator of the tag. Please check out her blog as well!

– Accio –
An upcoming release you wish you could get your hands on right now

This one is absolutely Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I read Strange the Dreamer near the end of 2017 and I’ve been anticipating this book ever since. The cover is beautiful, and I can’t wait for it to appear on my doorstep at the beginning of October. I have vacation time lined up at the beginning of that month as well, and this is going to be a book that I absolutely devour over the course of that vacation. 

– Alohomora –
Favorite series starter

Staying on the Laini Taylor train, this is going to go to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This book is an amazing entrance into this world of monsters. I love the way she writes, and this book propelled me into the rest of the trilogy easily. Karou is a great character with so much depth, and all of the rest of this cast were lovely and kept me coming back to the rest of the series. I would read this series again in a heartbeat.

– Cheering Charm –
A book that gave you all the warm fuzzies

This question was actually pretty hard, but I finally decided on Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. I listened to the audiobook for this and had an absolute blast listening to her read it. I love audiobooks read by the author, because I think it gives such a powerful voice to the page. Hearing her read her own words out loud was bittersweet, and I definitely recommend this one.

– Aguamenti –
A book that made you ugly cry

Without a doubt this is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I talked about this a little bit in my mid-year book freakout post, but I read this book earlier this year and it absolutely destroyed me. I’d never found myself so represented in a book, and seeing the way my anxiety manifests written down on a page was a lot to handle. I read the whole book in one day and cried for the entirety of that day.

– Expectro Patronum –
Bookish hero or heroine you want around to protect you in real life

This is such a bizarre question. I guess that I’d go with Dara from City of Brass. He’s a badass, and even though this book is apparently pretty divisive, I really enjoyed it and cannot wait for the sequel.

– Lumos –
Book you intentionally spoiled for yourself

I don’t think that I’ve ever intentionally spoiled a book for myself, outside of possibly seeing a movie before learning that it was a book and then reading it afterwards. I’ll choose a book that I did that with. The only things that I could think of, honestly, was A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I read the first book after watching the first season of the TV show, so I knew exactly what was going to happen the whole time. To be honest, I’m not sure that I would have gotten through the book if I hadn’t.

– Imperio –
A book you wish you could make everyone read because you loved it so much

I thought a lot about this one, and I decided to go with Vicious by Victoria Schwab. I find myself thinking about this book over and over again, and I’m glad that I read it only a few months before the sequel comes out. I don’t know how people have waited so long to read the next one, because it’s killing me.

– Engorgio –
A book or series you wish never ended

This goes to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I know that there’s a sequel coming out (at some point) but I loved the second book so much more than the first one and really didn’t want it to end. There was so much cool character development in this series, especially with the artificial intelligence itself. 

– Wingardium Leviosa –
A book with an uplifting ending or message

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. This book was deceptively small and had a pretty powerful punch. It was really tough to get through at some points because of how accurate it felt, but it had such a great underlying message that I really enjoyed my time reading it.

– Obliviate –
A book you wish you could forget you ever read

This is the easiest question to answer. The Circle by David Eggers. The more I think about this book, the angrier I get. It was condescending and annoying. The only reason that I finished it was because I wanted to watch the movie (which ended up being even worse, somehow). I wish I could take back the whole experience.

– Anapneo –
An author whose books always get you out of a slump

Wow, this one was really tough. I feel like I don’t have a go-to author when this happens because I’m such a mood reader. I also don’t have a tendency to re-read novels. I guess the closes thing that can come to this is J.K. Rowling since those are the books that I’ve re-read the most in my life. As I read more of her work though, Victoria Schwab seems to be an author that I’m going to gravitate to, and I have a lot of her catalogue to get through.

– Jelly-Legs Jinx –
A swoon-worthy hero or heroine

I’ve never really been in love with a book character, it’s not something that I typically feel. I guess that the character that I would want to be real the most would be Vincent from the Themis Files Series by Sylvain Neuvel. Vincent is smart, hilarious, and wants what’s best for his family. Plus his knees are backwards, what’s better than that?

– Aresto Momentum –
A book that caused you to stop doing all other things until you finished it

This is a tie. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the first I’d choose for this. For the size of this book, I read it fairly quickly, most of it happening on a single day. I found myself totally lost in this world. I have the sequel ready to go, but I have a few other books that I want to read before I get to it. For the second, it’s going to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

– Crucio –
A book that was painful to read (for whatever reason, or broke you)

This book wasn’t painful to read, but it was definitely a struggle to get through. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer was not my cup of tea. I found the whole thing very vague and did not enjoy it very much. I read half of the sequel, which was the same way, and ended up not completing it.

– Rictusempra –
A book that had you laughing out loud

This goes to a book I read a really long time ago and that’s John Dies at the End by David Wong. This book is hilarious, and was one of the books that helped me rediscover a love for reading when I was a teenager. I definitely need to get back to this series and read the sequels.

– Expelliarmus –
A book that made you want to send it flying

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen. I was so excited for this book. It has all the things I love in a fantasy: sand, elemental magic and a female protagonist. I got maybe three chapters into the book and had to put it down because of the way it was written. I couldn’t do it, and I was so frustrated about it. So far, this is my only DNF of 2018 and I’m pretty upset about it. I might give it another shot, it’s currently on my bookshelf taunting me. I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t do it.

– Portus –
A bookish world you wish you could visit

I would love to visit the world in Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which is the second book in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. I liked the darkness and science of this world, and how it filled in information from the first book. This world had the same spooky quality that I imagine Bram Stoker’s Dracula having, with pitchforks and a constant overcast sky.

– Stupefy –
A book wish a shocking twist or ending

Though not entirely surprising, I really enjoyed the reveal in The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. Without spoiling it, I thought that the way that the book was written helped keep this reveal a secret until the very end, and I thought it was absolutely fantastic. This is a thriller with a lot of references to older black and white movies, and I highly recommend it.

– Avada Kadavra –
A character death which destroyed you

Since this is a Harry Potter tag, I had to include one answer about Harry Potter. (Also, I didn’t want to spoil a major character death for a different series). For me it was Snape. I must have cried for hours over his death. I don’t know why, but my 16 year-old self couldn’t handle the fact that he had this constant internal struggle between helping Harry because he was Lily’s son and hating him because he was James’ son. This destroyed me.

– Finite Incantate –
Best series conclusion

I’m terrible at finishing series, but I have to give this to another Laini Taylor book, which is Dreams of Gods and Monsters. This is the third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, and it had such a great and satisfying ending. I think that this is probably one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, and I loved the last book more than the first two.

Thank you so much for reading through that, if you did. I had a lot of fun making this post for my birthday!