Saturday, November 19, 2016


For a while now, I've been double blogging here and at Goodreads.  I've decided to just move on over there.  If you want to, you can find me by searching for Nicholina on  Thanks to anyone who has been reading here. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

I'd read George not too long ago and had heard that Gracefully Grayson was basically the same book.  I only thought George was okay, so I put off reading Gracefully Grayson.  It recently came to my attention again and I decided I'd go ahead and give it a go.  It's a short read, so I started it last night and finished it this morning.

There are a lot of similarities between George and Gracefully Grayson.  In both books, we have a transgender girl.  That is, a kid who was born with a male body but is actually a girl inside.  In both cases, the kids audition for a girl part in a school play.  Also, in both, they're hiding who they really are at the beginning and are making strong starts toward being true to themselves by the end. 

However, the feel of Gracefully Grayson was different for me.  It's for a slightly older audience and Grayson felt more like a real kid to me.  I felt a lot for Grayson and cried a bit in parts.  I simply felt more connected to Grayson and the story.

Alex and Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

So, in keeping with expanding my reading interests, I actually read two graphic novels yesterday.  The second was Alex and Ada.  I really liked it. 

Alex and Ada is a scifi story in which Alex is gifted a robot that he doesn't want but then can't get himself to return once she's there.  He names her Ada.  I'll leave it at that.

I like scifi generally and the story, well, really, the beginning of the story was pretty decent.  Also, I found the graphics really appealing.

I'll definitely get the next volume.

Lumberjanes Friendship to the Max

Friendship to the Max is the second volume of Lumberjanes.  I still feel a little ambivalent about Lumberjanes and I think maybe this will be my last one.  I don't particularly care about the plot line (which was practically nonexistent in the first one, but more developed in this one), but was liking the character development in the first one.  I just didn't really feel like that went anyplace this time.  I see why people (girls in particular) would be drawn to Lumberjanes, but it just isn't really working for me.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Moonshifted by Cassie Alexander

I seem to be on a supernatural kick at the moment, no?  I finished listening to Moonshifted yesterday.  It's the second in the Edie Spence series.  Obviously, I liked the first one enough to continue with the series.  I didn't like the second one as much.  There were a few continuity issues between the first and second book in my opinion.  I also got a little annoyed that Edie didn't figure out what was up with the supplement her brother (of whom she's previously washed her hands in book 1) was selling.  The sex scenes came a bit out of the blue, but I guess that's just who Edie is and I don't really begrudge her sexual choices, but they also didn't make me like the book any better.  I did finish it, so it was okay, but I think I'm done here.

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Vision in Silver is the third Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop.  Seeing as how it's the third, I won't go into plot at all.  I will say, though, that I'm still enjoying this series.  It has the same overall problems for me that the first two did:  too much of the stereotypical women stuff (don't ask if it's a women's time of the month, going shopping with women is scary, ect.), a little bit of wrapping things in unnecessary mystery that then isn't much of a reveal.  But, as it's the third in the series and I'm still reading, I obviously enjoy the series.  I find the interplay between the humans and the Others interesting.  I appreciate the ruthlessness of the Others.  I do like these books more than not and have enjoyed the read on all three thus far.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Far From Home by Lorelie Brown

Far From Home is a romance between Rachel, recovering anorexic, deeply in debt and ostensibly straight, and Pari who is in need of a green card.  Rachel, from whose point of view the story is told, blurts out "I would marry you," at a party.  Pari, who is comfortable financially, thinks this is an idea to explore.  Faster than I would have thought such a decision should be made, they hatch a plan and move in together.  This plan gives Rachel some financial relief and Pari a marriage leading to citizenship.  However, as they do, things get more complicated.  In addition to the romance and impending marriage, there is the underlying issue of Rachel's struggle with anorexia.

I found Far From Home a fairly enjoyable, quick read.  It progresses much like you might think and I found it very readable.  For me, the sex talk was a little more raw than is my cup of tea, but I'm pretty vanilla, so take that with a grain of salt.  What I didn't love was that everything happened so quickly.  It was pretty close to instalove in my opinion.  Yes, these two were living together, but they also spent a lot of time avoiding each other, not building a relationship, even though Rachel is very quickly, it seems, in love.  It seemed more like infatuation, which, to be fair, they both sort of acknowledge, but then I didn't really see how it could have moved past that given the interactions we saw.  In general, it was the shortness of this book that I felt lead to the things I didn't care for:  not quite enough relationship development, not enough character development of secondary characters, not quite enough of Rachel's work situation.

So, as is often the case with books and me, I liked it but didn't love it.  If you're working your way through the lesbian romance genre, I wouldn't skip this one.  If not, I don't know that this would be one I'd have you seek out.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec

I heard about Dear Data on the Note to Self podcast.  I was intrigued.  The premise is that Giorgia and Stefanie send each other one self created post card a week.  Each week they decide on some item of data to track. How many times they looked at their phones.  Physical contact. Complaints.  Each woman created her own system for displaying the data.  What emerges are weekly pieces of art with meaning.  On one side of the postcard, there is the picture.  On the other, a legend telling what the picture means.

I was super excited to sit down with Dear Data and check it out.  What I ended up discovering, though, is that this would make an excellent coffee table book.  I can totally see picking it up with a spare moment, flipping through and checking out a week.  I think I'd enjoy it as that.  As a book from the library to read and return?  Not so much.  There is just too much to each week.  I could really only process a few weeks at a time.  I spent some time flipping through Dear Data in a couple of sessions.  It's great.  But, it's not engaging in a sit down and read it cover to cover way.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lumberjanes Volume 1

Of the three reviews I've posted today, Lumberjanes is the only one I actually finished today.  The other two I finished yesterday, but didn't have time to post.  Today, though, is a lazy, rainy Saturday here in Portland, so I've got time to catch up (in addition to watching Big Bang Theory because Anthony and I just realized there are actually two seasons out on DVD we haven't seen - score!).  Lumberjanes is a graphic novel I'd heard good things about, so decided to give it a go.  As I mentioned when I read Saga, I'm not a big graphic novel reader.  But, Saga went well, so why not try another?

Lumberjanes is the story of 5 girls who are at Lumberjane camp (Friendship to the Max!) for the summer.  They have adventures in friendship and of a supernatural sort.  That pretty much sums it up.

I had a little bit of a hard time getting into Lumberjanes.  It was a mix of it being a graphic novel, which is a bit of a challenging form for me, and the seemingly out of the blue nature of the supernatural stuff.  In spite of that, I figured I'd keep reading, as it's pretty short.  I was rewarded for that by getting to know these characters a little and seeing their relationships develop.  I came to like these girls and was glad I'd stuck with it.  I'm think I may even move on with the series.  However, I have to be honest and say that's partially because they're such quick reads, so I can follow the characters without too much time investment.  Plus, I feel like it's good for me to expand my horizons.

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

For the first 3rd of The Diabolic, I thought I'd found one of my new favorite books.  I stayed up a bit late reading and was loving it.  I didn't feel like it totally lived up to its promise, though, and, thus, it's not a new favorite, but I did still really enjoy it.

The Diabolic is the story of Nemesis who was created to love and absolutely protect one person.  In her case, that person is Sidonia, the daughter and heir to a member of the galactic Senate.  The empire, though, is at a tipping point and Sidonia is called to the Imperial Court as a hostage for good behavior from her father, who is a political enemy of the Emperor.  Nemesis can not go as Sidonia's diabolic, as all diabolics were supposed to be destroyed when they acted more radically than expected in defense of their protectees.  So, the plan is hatched for Nemesis to pose as Sidonia at court.  Things, as they do, go from there.

I liked The Diabolic.  I really, really liked Nemesis and her journey.  She was totally kick ass and, it seemed to me, pretty much always acted in accordance with who she is and what her background was.  I liked the story line overall.  I even liked the romance, which didn't seem too instalove to me.  I had no problem with the violence, which seemed on point for this society.

What I had trouble with, though, was that it just lost some of its zing as it went on.  It seemed fairly predictable.  None of the surprises took me by surprise.

So, because of that, it's not a favorite.  I still really liked it, though.  And Nemesis is awesome.

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander

My library has a new thing where you can click on "something new" and it makes suggestions, but different suggestions than the ones I usually see.  When I did that a few days ago, it suggested a book called Moonshifted.  Now, Moonshifted is the second in a series, so clearly there are some flaws with the "something new" system, but I've been known to like paranormal.  I don't have a particular allegiance to any one genre, I'm more about story telling and characters.  So, I found the first book and opted to give it a try.  The first one is Nightshifted.  I listened to it in audiobook form, as that was what I was looking for at the time.  I've got way too many books in my too be read pile to be looking for a book-book right now.  And yet, I continue to put books on hold.  It's a problem.  Anyway.  Nightshifted.

Nightshifted is the story of Eddie Spence who works for the county hospital on their paranormal floor.  Being just a regular human girl, this is an odd turn of events, but when she was offered the position in exchange for her junky brother (who kept overdosing) clean, she couldn't turn it down.  When she winds up saving a girl (or, perhaps, something more dangerous) from some vampires, killing one in the process, she's scheduled for trial. A trial that is most likely a farce and, if convicted, will mean death. She is a strong minded, take care of yourself sort of woman, but she managed to collect assorted help along the way.

I really liked Nightshifted.  I was, frankly, surprised by how much I liked it, as it seems really under the radar.  I usually liked Eddie, but occasionally found her to be a bit annoying.  The story moved right along.  The writing was engaging.  The look at nursing seemed...well, medically probable, at least if you were doing medical procedures on the paranormal.  I thought the secondary characters had a range of being fleshed out that made sense in the context of the story. 

One things that annoyed me was the fact that Eddie's brother called her "Sissy."  Shudder.  Also, I had a little bit of a hard time with the zombie romance on principle, but, the way this zombie was presented (no rotting) helped me get over that.  Also, I'm much more of a tough love person than Eddie is, as shown by her relationship with her brother.  That was one of the things that annoyed me about her, but not everyone has to be me, so I didn't fixate on that too much.  While I liked the medical theme throughout the books, there was a lot of stereotyping of nurses in a ways that are definitely not 100%.

So, while Nightshifted wasn't my favorite ever read, it was quite good and enjoyable for me.  I'm already listening to Moonshifted.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold is a retelling of Bluebeard set in the antebellum south.  Sophia Petheram has grown up in Boston surrounded by the love of her siblings and father, but monetarily poor.  When she's 17, her father dies and Sophia's godfather sends for Sophia to come live with him in Mississippi.  At first, Sophia is charmed by both Monsieur Bernard de Cressac and his home, Wyndriven Abbey, which he had brought over from England stone by stone and rebuild in Mississippi.  It's not long before Sophia begins to have concerns about her situation and de Cressac, but she also feels trapped and that feeling only grows.

I liked this book.  I liked Sophia most of the time, at least.  There was some mystery to figure out (although, not too much if you're familiar with Bluebeard, but still).  I liked the pacing and the writing style was up my alley.

I did feel a little like sometimes Sophia could have made better decisions, but I do know that people don't always make the best decisions.  She wouldn't really have been human otherwise, I suppose.  I also felt like she should have cottoned on a little earlier to what a bad situation she was in and to what had happened with Bernard in the past.  Additionally, I did think the romantic situation was sort of...hasty.  There wasn't really much to build falling in love on.

Overall, though, I thought Strands of Bronze and Gold was a good read.