Here I Stand Review (Slightly Spoilery)

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From Goodreads

Title: Here I Stand

Author: Many Authors collected by Amnesty International

Rating: 5/5 stars

Page Count: 320 pages

Genre: short stories, freedom, injustice, human rights

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31180736-here-i-stand

Synopsis:

This is a collection of short stories, poems and comic strips all to do with human rights and freedom. These incredibly inspirational stories are from Frances Hardinge, Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, Matt Haig and many more fantastic authors, illustrators and poets.

HERE IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

I Believe by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

The first story I want to talk about is I Believe by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell. Although this is only a few pages and few words it conveys the most powerful message of all which is about freedom of speech and imagination. It is just so simple but also powerful and beautiful.

The Invention of Peanut Butter by Matt Haig

I really enjoyed this story as it was about a town that lived on peanuts but then someone started to innovate and make peanut butter but someone has been eating more than his fair share I wonder who it could be? He managed to encompass so many issues with just a peanut which is true for modern-day society you take away something essential to our lives and we go into chaos. Beautifully written story with a powerful message.

Stay Home by Sita Brahmachari

It was such a heartbreaking story written with such compassion. It is about a girl who has to support and care for her mother while being a child. It just showed how important it is to support and having family around at hard times but also that we need to do something to help relieve the pressure from these children.

A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library by Jack Gantos

This story is about this young boy is a suicide bomber and he is just sitting in the library observing and contemplating his task. I cried after reading this story you just felt so much anger and emotion but at the same time there was a beauty in his words.

Bystander by Frances Hardinge

This story is about modern-day witchcraft as this girl is being accused of being a witch and their methods of excommunication are appalling. This was for me a very enlightening story as I knew of it still being around but not to the extent that this story explains. So stunningly written and hopefully will raise a lot of awareness to stop this torture in modern-day life.

Speaking Out for Freedom by Chelsea Manning

This was an interview with Chelsea Manning about how she leaked information she gained from the US army. This interview was so sad but thought-provoking in the way we look at freedom of opinion and expression.

Sludge by Sarah Crossan

It was another heartbreaking story about an oil spill that happens near Rax and Sula’s families homes and it turns their worlds upside down. I loved that she intertwined friendship into the story it gave it so much more depth. This story also made me so angry because there was no responsibility taken by those who made the spill happen. So there is no one sent in to help repair the village so the people of the village have to move on. Not only that but the nature of the village may never repair to its original state. It just shows the devastation of the modern world when help is not given. 

 

My Thoughts:

This collection of short stories broke me emotionally and opened my eyes to situations in the world that I had no idea about. They are all beautifully written with such power and depth of understanding. These were just some of my favourite stories but there are many more fabulous stories, poems and comic strip in this book. Hopefully if you read this book it will inspire you to help Amnesty International in any of their projects even the smallest bit helps. I do have to say one more thing Frances Hardinge and Sarah Crossan stories were beautifully written and I really think they should be their next books!

 

If you have read Here I Stand or are wanting to read it and have any questions let me know in the comments below. Also on Amnesty International’s website they have teachers notes for these stories here is the link:

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/here-i-stand

 

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Valerian Complete Colllection Vol 1 Review

Title:  Valerian Complete Collection Vol 1

Author:  Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mezieres, Luc Besson, Stan Barets

Rating:  5/5 stars

Page Count: 160 pages

Genre:  Comic, SCI-FI, Fantasy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33255584-valerian?ac=1&from_search=true

If you are looking for a SPOILER-FREE REVIEW check out this video on my Youtube channel:

 

Interview:

I loved that the collaboration between the creators and director is such a great relationship. It was so interesting to hear their different interpretations of each question and I love that they don’t always agree. The most intriguing point is the fact that Laureline was one of the first strong female characters in French comics as most were ‘bimbos’ as Pierre states. Not only that but their discussion of their relationship with the characters which was fascinating as one is easier to writer than the other. I love that there is more of this interview coming can’t wait for more!

History:

The history is written by Stan Barets it is very interesting and he writes it as a story which is a joy to read. It was very interesting to hear about the substaintial similarities in Star Wars from Valerian well inspiration has to come from somewhere I guess. I love that they went to America to escape the dullness of France how hilarious. I enjoyed the fact that there are so many people who have called their children Laureline and Valerian. Some fantastic points in this mini history of the comic and creators I hope there is more to coming!

Bad Dreams:

I loved this comic it was witty and hilarious with an amazingly imaginative world. The artwork was beautiful so detailed and defined I really enjoyed it because every box looked like a cinematic scene. I loved that the colours of the comic worked beautifully and made the drawings come to life even more. The palette of colours throughout drew you more into the comic.

There was lots of dialogue in this comic which I’m not used in other comics I read, but I loved it because I started out with books first. The length of the dialogue really helped bring the wittiness to life. I love how the dialogue is about weirdest things ever but the conversations sounds so normal. Superintendent has the best lines he’s just so irritated all the time which makes his lines hilarious.

In terms of the plot for the first issue, I loved it almost taking the mic out of the middle ages with a serious mission. The mission was fantastic a combination of wizardry and taking over the galaxy what more do you want. I liked that Laureline came later in the plot as you got to see the start of their relationship which I enjoyed. I loved the ending as it was settled but you also had lots of questions on how Laureline would fit in.

In terms of characters the superintendent was a typical angry boss but so funny you just loved him by the end. Valerian was quite cocky but also kind so I was a bit on the fence about him. Laureline I loved she was stunning, strong, independent and fiesty. Jirad was so sweet and nice you felt a bit sorry for him being pushed around. Xombul was such a typical greedy villain but also quite funny mainly because he really didn’t know what he was doing so a bit of a farcical villain. Overall, a great start to the volume with great characters and an imaginative story.

The City of Shifting Waters:

I love the colours in this issue the blues are stunning especially in the scenes in downtown New York. The colours throughout the comic are so beautiful its like looking at a sunset for the whole story. The artwork is mostly very dark in the sense of the colour, the people and buildings have a lot less colour in them and also less detailed which gave it a mysterious look.

The dialogue in this issue is more serious which works well with the plot as Xombul is back and causing havoc. My favourite dialogue is between Valerian and Sun Rae such a bolshie and funny character.

The plot of this issue as it is only half finished because it is in two parts. The first half was thrilling and exciting on how Xombul was connected to this post apocolyptic New York. I loved that Laureline swept in and rescued Valerian mainly because she is from the eleventh century and is super badass now. I really enjoyed that Sun Rae and crew played such a major role in the development of the plot as either badies or goodies.

Sun Rae was so weird and hilarious I really liked his character. Valerian was less cocky in first part of the issue which I liked plus his alone dialogue was funny. Valerian although not huge part in the first part of this issue was badass but also she is the conscious to Valerian. Overall, this first part was mysterious and thrilling with stunning artwork of storm scenes.

Earth in Flames:

What a fabulous ending to the story the second part was thriling and revealed some interesting information. The range of colours in this second part were beautiful and gave a lot of those landscapes a breathtaking look to them. I especially loved the artwork in Yellowstone it was so beautiful to look at the rocky mountains. I also really liked the space artwork its just so spacey and pretty I just don’t have any intelligent descriptive words today lol!

I felt there was more dialogue than usual which I found a bit too much at times but the dialogue is so witty I just ignored my eyes being overwhelmed. I hope Laureline has more dialogue in the next issue as I think she doesn’t have enough in this one but I guess thats the way her personality is. I really enjoyed the dialogue of Scheoder he is sweet, so intelligent and quite funny.

In terms of the plot it had a fast pace which was great as it made the build up to the end battle so exciting. Lots of twists and turns where you thought yes they did it, then no something else goes wrong which kept you interested throughout. Then the ending was satisfying but I felt like Xombul could have gone out with more of a bang. I also felt that instead of somber moment with Valerian at the end I wanted a wise crack from Valerian.

Valerian I enjoyed more in this issue as he developed more as a character. Laureline was funny in this issue especially with her shrinking incident but I still wanted more development from her character as a whole. Schroeder was such an interesting character and quite funny a great addition to this issue. Xombul was not as powerful as I was expecting him to be, he felt quite defeated which was interesting to see from a Villain. The ranch guy (he doesn’t have a name or at least not that I could find!) he was so cool, calm and always said the right thing I would love it if he was going to come back. Overall, a fantastic second part to this issue exciting, kept you on your toes and a great adventure with stunning landscapes!

 

The Empire of A Thousand Planets:

This was my favourite issue yet I think it is because it had so much relatability to the issues going on in our earth. The artwork OMG even more stunning than the last two issues. I loved that there was more full page artwork in this issue it really made the battle scenes dramatic and stunning. I loved the artwork on the first page it was so simple and effective. Every artwork throughout this issue was so colourful and bright I loved it. Marcyam what an awesome sea creature kind of reminded me of Chinese New Year dragon which is why I liked it so much. The Enligtened were so creepy and a bit scary looking which made them great villains.

The ice storm was so beautiful and sharp such a fantastic addition to the plot. The battle scene were drawn with such epicness and looked so action packed which kept that thrill of the story. When the Enlightened were revealed their true selves wow so horrible to look at but also quite intriguing to look at.

There was less dialogue in this issue which worked well as there was a lot more action in it. The dialogue at the end between the Enlightened and Valerian was sad but also had this important humaritarian message which I liked. The dialogue between Valerian and Laureline was a lot better as it had more wit and teasing to it.

The plot was fantastic kept you gripped to your seat the whole time and I did not put it down at all. The epicness of the conflict between the Enlightened and Syrte residents was very much in connection to a lot of our history which made the story so much more intriguing towards the end. I liked the ending I thought it was very poignant.

Valerian was much more get up and go on this mission compared to other mission which I liked. Laureline had a lot more involvement and development which made me like her character evenmore. Elimir was interesting as you kind of didn’t know what his end game was in terms leadership and the future of Syrte. The Enlightened were intriguing and at first awful creatures but by the end you understood them and at a point felt sorry for them. Overall, the best issue yet with a thrilling plot, fabulous artwork and a surprising ending!

Let me know if you have read this collection what you thought of it or if you are fan of Valerian or Cinebook let me know!

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Railhead by Philip Reeve Review

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Title: Railhead

Author: Philip Reeve

Rating: 5/5 stars

Page Count: 312 pages

Genre: SCI-FI, Middle Grade/ YA, Adventure, Fantasy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23532981-railhead?ac=1&from_search=true

Synopsis:

Zen Starling is a kid who lives in the future and is not understood by anyone at least that’s what he thinks. But when he gets in trouble and he meets Raven. Who will give him a way out that will change his life forever. Will he take that chance and ride the royal train to find the ultimate piece of the puzzle to the universe?

If you are looking for a SPOILER-FREE REVIEW check out my review on my Youtube channel.

 

Style of Writing:

I really liked that it was in third person instead of first because with Railhead the world is so much of the story and a character in itself that it worked to its advantage. I loved that all the parts of the world whether it is the trains or the Guardians they were explained just enough to grasp the concept but also to let your imagination completely run wild with possibilities of what it looked like in your head.

Themes:

I love the theme of trains when I was a kid my parents used to take me on those steam train rides so awesome! So this is the book I have wanted since I was a kid and now I have it! It is traintastic! I loved the SCI-FI future theme in this book because it was not fantastical but quite realistic in terms of the fact that this could be a possible future. The theme of friendship was beautifully written especially between Zen and Nova.

Characters:

Zen Starling was a great character. He was just a lost kid at the start then he develops throughout the story into this strong character. Nova I absolutely loved as a character because she was so loyal to Zen and quite human in her personality. Raven I didn’t like as a person but as a villain he was really good. Threnody for me was too annoying in the beginning but I grew to like her at the end of the book. The trains were epic; Damask Rose and Thought Fox such fantastic characters with their own bolshie personalities. Also I loved Uncle Bugs.

Plot:

The plot was fantastic so thrilling and exciting loved every minute of it. I was always waiting and wondering what was round the corner on the next page in the adventure. I really like that you didn’t always know if Zen and Nova were going to make it which kept the suspense going throughout. The ending was great because it felt like you ended a chapter but there was so much more to explore so you didn’t feel like there was nothing to look forward to.

 

My Thoughts:

I can’t do this book justice in a few words its just absolutely amazingly and fantastically traintastic! It is just fun and thrilling story filled with great story of friendship and finding yourself and your place in your world. Great for children’s fiction, SCI-FI and train lovers.

 

Comment below if you have read Railhead or interested in reading it or to let me know what you thought of the review!

 

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Hot Milk By Deborah Levy

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Title: Hot Milk

Author: Deborah Levy

Rating: 3/5 stars

Page Count: 218 pages

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27866173-hot-milk

Synopsis:

Hot Milk is the story of a girl Sophia who has an almost invalid mother who has taken over life. So they travel to Almeria in Spain where the Gomez Clinic resides to cure her mother of her paralysis in her legs. It follows Sophia’s anthropological journey through her time in Spain assessing her life.

 

If you are looking for a spoiler-free review her is one I did on my YouTube channel:

Spoiler Free Review

 

Favourite Quote:

On page 51 it is a dialogue between Rosa who is Sophia’s mother and the head of the Gomez Clinic Dr Gomez at lunch discussing her ex-husband. I really liked this quote as was full of witty comedy on how her ex-husband left her for a younger woman.

Style of Writing:

The interesting point is at most of the start of the chapters there was a snippet of writing that it was an interesting addition but ultimately I did not see the point. Her style was simple and quite descriptive which I enjoyed as it made the book more of a critique of her life than the story of her mother’s legs. I really liked the detached narration of Sophia.

Themes:

The theme of family is the main element of this book and assessing how important it is to people. The family dynamic within Sophia’s family showed the effects of modern-day life and was very relatable. The element of lesbian love interest was a clear representation of how complicated it can be if it is a new experience for people. It read as a respectful representation.

Characters:

My favourite character would have to be Mr Gomez he is such fun and intriguing with great wit. I felt so sorry for him at the end. I liked Sophia she was relatable to me especially because of her young age. However, I did find her irritating in the middle as she was not fully developed. I didn’t like Ingrid for me she had too many agendas as a character and was such a confusing person. In terms of Rosa the mother by the end I think she just needed a wake up call and was such a burden even to the story that you kinda hated her.

My Thoughts:

This book was an interesting read in terms of it being basically an anthropological study of her life and cultural memory. However, the story as such was anticlimactic in terms of it didn’t develop anywhere as in Sophia’s mother’s illness or Sophia’s life. The ending was disappointing as the second last paragraph had some meaning but then it ended with a sentence on a jellyfish which I believe was not needed. Overall, though intriguing I did not enjoy it due to its lack of direction. I believe this book is more catered towards those who enjoy a complex literary read.

 

If you have read this book let me know what you think down below in the comments!

Social Mediaring:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyCCannings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012996617048

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11006007-emily-cannings

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emilyloveslondon_booklover/

 

Lazarus Vol 1 Review

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from Goodreads

Title: Lazarus Vol 1

Author: Greg Rucka

Illustrator: Michael Lark

Publisher: Image Comics

Genre: Action, Thriller, Dystopian, Comics

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18259637-lazarus-vol-1?ac=1&from_search=true

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

Lazarus is about a women Forever who is a robot in the service of the Carlyle family. The Carlyle family has a rival family in this dystopian world who is the Morray family. There is an attack at the Carlyle base but who is really behind the attack?

Here is my Spoiler free review:

https://youtu.be/Eyrl98gIFlQ

SPOILERS NOW!

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this comic it is a high energy action comic with twists and turns that will keep wondering where the mystery lies. The plot was intense and a great pace for an action comic. The concept of a dystopian was interesting that we would revert to family that holds us together I would think it would be violence but I’m a synic. It was a bit of a anticlimatic start but so good by the middle.

Artwork:

It is mostly a dark palette which shows the dystopian side to the story with lots of black outlining that gave a serious tone to the comic. I feel like Lazarus could have been slightly brighter only because I would have liked to have some hope but its dystopian so. I really liked the use of purple in the chapter 3 and 4 it made it look beautiful.

Dialogue:

There is not much dialogue in the comic which is good because the storyline centres on violence attached to this world. The dialogue between the family is very typical and relatable with lots of drama which I love.

Favourite Character:

Forever is badass and interesting character because she has empathy like a real person and her connection to the family intrigues me. Also she has this relationship with the other family’s robot which interesting see how different they are and how much humanity influences them as characters. I really like her history and want to know and about her purpose to the family.

Hate Character:

Jonah mainly because he is such an ignorant asshole and such a typical son wants to take over the business but there was a lot of characters are like that but that might change. Another reason I didn’t like him is his conspiracy with his other sister it was creepy and made me hate me more.

If you have read Lazarus or want to read it please feel free to comment below I would love to know your thoughts!

 

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman – Review

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from Goodreads

Title: See How They Lie

Author: Sue Wallman

Rating: 5/5 stars

Page Count: 320 pages

Genre: YA, Thriller

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34382011-see-how-they-lie

Synopsis:

It is about a girl called Mae Ballard who lives in Hummingbird Creek which her father set up. Hummingbird Creek is a wellness resort for teenagers. As Mae is getting older she is starting to question her life and Hummingbird Creek things start to spiral out of control. So will she lead a normal life?

If you are looking for a spoiler-free review her is one I did on my YouTube channel:

Spoiler Free Review

SPOILERS COMING

Favourite Quote:

My favourite quote from this book is right at the end of the book where they are rallying against Hummingbird Creek on page 305:

‘Will’s words come back to me. Maybe you don’t understand how tightly some of us bond here.

I loved this quote cause is inspirational and I am sucker for inspirational quotes plus its such an emotional part in the book.

Style of Writing:

I loved her style of writing it was simple but very effective when it came to the suspenseful parts especially at the end of the book the climax had you on the edge of your seat. The thriller aspect of the book is still very much there which sometimes you tend to loose it when its in the YA genre. I really like the way it was written as if Mae is writing the story but she is detached from the story until the end, it gave the book a mysterious quality to it.

Themes:

The theme of mental health within children and to an extent adults was done with respect and in an educating way. In terms of violence within YA Thrillers I think is the most challenging thing to do and done perfectly here, just the right amount of violence. The themes of friendship were interesting as everyone had a completely different relationship to Mae. My favourite was between Noah and Mae also Thet and Mae because they were liberating friendships for Mae.

Characters:

Mae was my favourite character as she was a character that constantly questioned her life and society not only that but she had this spirit that I just loved about her such a great character. In terms od boys I didn’t like Drew he just so annoyed me the way he acted I found him quite selfish. But Noah I loved him; he was so kind and understanding you just felt like saying ‘you go Noah!’ Thet was interesting loveable character who reminded me of one of my friends. Mrs Hays was so sweet and reminded me of my drama teacher, which is another thing I loved about the book that all the characters were really relatable. The characters I didn’t like were obviously Hunter who I just wanted to scream at for being so not understanding towards people (he made my blood boil). The mother Louelle I didn’t like but could understand her situation but overall she was such a frustrating character to read I just wanted to say wake up!!

My Thoughts:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book fantastic thrilling plot that kept me on the edge of my seat right to the end. A great mix of characters that fill you with emotions. Half way through I thought I’d really like a sequel because I loved the characters so much. However, the ending was so satisfying that I decided against the sequel thought which is rare. A thrilling YA that will take through a curious journey.

Elsie Harris Picture Palace by Jessica Martin Review

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@goodreads

Title: Elsie Harris Picture Palace

Author:  Jessica Martin

Rating: 5/5 stars

Page Count: 152 pages

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Love

Where from: From Jessica herself.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29245233-elsie-harris-picture-palace

Synopsis:

Every girl has a dream and Elsie’s is to go to Hollywood and through a talent as a writer and artist which she has yet to discover. Will it be enough to get into Hollywood?

Favourite Quote:

From Elsie “He’d have as much respect for me as he does for the startlets that come to service him?!”

It’s just a fantastic womans rebellion line that show you how cruel and unappreciative life can be but that we should not stand for that nonsense!

Style of Writing:

I loved Elsie’s voice throughout this graphic novel she felt very true to her heart throughout which just sucked you into her Hollywood dream even more. When you think Hollywood you think oh this girl will loose her identity as soon as she gets there! No No No you feel through the novel that Elsie’s identity and her voice is above Hollywood and that she has made her own version of Hollywood.

Characters:

There are lots of characters here so i’m limiting myself. I loved Elsie because she is a dreamer like me and she has this spirit that keeps you reading. I liked Mr Hesketh because he believed in Elsie. Her love of Miles Flannery irritated me but everyone has their crushes. I loved that her friend Beattie stayed as constant reminder of home but also grounded Elsie.

Art:

The artwork is stunning the style is a shaded effect in black and white. It is the perfect fit for the time its set in the 1930s London and Hollywood. It also captured the emotions of the characters perfectly. The artwork showed Hollywood as a far away land.

My Thoughts:

I loved this graphic novel because it i s centred around a time 1930s that fascinates me so much because it is a time of social progression. It’s all a about a who lives her dream which I love cause I’m dreamy. It’s a beautiful story of history and film that compels you to the end.

If you have read Elsie Harris Picture Palace I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!