Book Review: “An Age of License: A Travelogue”

Book twenty two of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

Lucy Knisley’s An Age of License: A Travelogue

With this reading challenge I am trying to expand my ‘read books’ repertoire and read more than just novels. If you’ve been following along you’ll know that I’ve been reading poetry collections a lot lately. In addition to the poetry books I’m also trying graphic novels. Enter Lucy Knisley, a New York Times best selling cartoonist and her amazing graphic novels.

An Age of License: A Travelogue is both a graphic novel and journal from one of Lucy’s trips to Europe. It’s a very insightful book that focuses on the unknown that a young woman faces when starting her adult life. Lucy is experiencing heartbreak but also seeking adventure and questioning what the next step is for herself.

Besides having the funds to disappear to Europe for a vacation, Lucy’s life mirrors that of someone my age. That’s what made me really enjoy the overall story and ultimate conclusion about being true to yourself and doing what you want to do. Each day in Lucy’s graphic journal she gets to not only explore the area of Europe she’s in but she learns something new about herself in a way.

The small stories about Lucy’s adventures were great and because of the graphic novel style the reader also got to see a bit of what Lucy saw. It adds to the reading experience in a different way. Lucy’s experiences were obviously genuine and it was nice to read about someone’s more vulnerable life incidents to learn from in a totally different way.

Overall I really enjoyed the graphic novel and would recommend it to any young girls who are just trying to figure out what the next step in their life is.

Stay tuned for my next review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Review: “The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One”

Book twenty one of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

Amanda Lovelace’s The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One

This collection of poems is book two of Amanda Lovelace’s ‘Women Are Some Kind of Magic‘. The first is The Princess Says Herself in This One, which I reviewed earlier this month.

I enjoyed this collection more than the first installment because of the content and overall message.

I think empowering women is a great subject to write about in today’s climate. Poetry can be a powerful medium to speak out about what’s happening in society and Lovelace does it in a beautifully artistic way.

I’m slowly falling in love with poetry and I’m itching to write some of my own. I think reading poetry can really boost someone’s feelings in a positive way. I’ve needed a little bit of a pick-me-up recently and this book did exactly that, it gave me something to look forward to, something to strive for. Thank you Amanda Lovelace.

I’m hoping to finish off this trio of poetry books and I recommend you pick it up as well. Especially if you’re a woman in need of a little inspiration.

Stay tuned for my next review: An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley.

Book Review: “The Silver Chair”

Book twenty of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair

The sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia brings a new adventure and new characters to the series. I remember this being one of my favorite movies from the BBC film adaptations because of the characters and the different style of adventure it brought.

In this book we see Eustace, cousin to the Penvensie children, again with a new character, a schoolmate named Jill Pole. Eustace and Jill are summoned to Narnia by Aslan to help find and return Prince Caspian’s son who has been missing for 10 Narnian years. And if you’ve ever read the series or seen the movies you’ll know that in Narnia time moves differently. So when Eustace arrives again in Narnia he doesn’t realize the old frail king about to board a ship is his old friend Caspian.

After arriving and missing the chance to speak with his old friend, Eustace and Jill head out to find the lost prince with four key clues given to Jill by Aslan. Now this is where another new character is introduced and the adventure begins. Jill, who has just been introduced in this book, plays a key role in the journey that encompasses the book’s plot. Even though Jill is a new character I found that she fit well in Narnia. I liked that even though Eustace was the returning character the plot was focused on her and her own challenges. Her character really made or broke the individual tasks that made up the entire adventure.

The adventure in this book is similar to all the other books but with different challenges, tasks and settings for the characters. This was an aspect of the book that I really enjoyed because it took the characters outside of the areas we readers have already learned about in other books of the series. The tasks and challenges presented to the characters were unique compared to others thus keeping my interest.

In addition to the new characters, tasks and challenges and settings, the book was very fast paced which kept me interested and engaged. This cannot be said about the other books in the series so I found this refreshing.

I’m happy to have continued reading this series and with only one book left I am actually a bit sad about it all ending. Overall the series is an easy read and I enjoyed being able to read the books in only a few settings. I still recommend reading this series to anyone who is okay reading YA.

I won’t be jumping straight into the final installment of The Chronicles of Narnia quite yet, but I will read The Last Battle soon and post an overall series review.

Stay tuned for my next review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace.

Book Review: “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

Book fifteen of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The fifth book in the Chronicles of Narnia was the third movie made by Disney. It follows Prince Caspian in both the book and movie.

I have to admit I am getting a bit burned out on these books, but I am still determined to finish the entire series.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had similar plot differences with the film adaptation as Prince Caspian did. Some details were different and some order of events were swapped around. But, of course, that is to be expected with film adaptations of books.

I did enjoy this book more than I enjoyed the last. I think the detail and flow of this story was better and had more action and development. I, personally, like the two younger Pevensie children more and so having them be the only two in this book was more enjoyable. Lucy’s character is always ready for adventure and ready to learn new things. She develops more and more as a young lady as the books fo on and I really enjoyed her personal battles in this book.

I also enjoyed the new character Eustace, Lucy and Edmund’s cousin. He definitely isn’t a likable person at the beginning but his growth in the book is relatable and was fun to follow. His experiences were other worldly, but they parallel many things that young children experience in the real world which makes him a key character for young readers to bond with.

This one is a bit short, but as I’ve said in all my review of this series, I’d recommend reading it.

Stay tuned for the next review: The Silver Chair, book six in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by podcast queens Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.

Book Recommendations from the Boyfriend

If you haven’t figured it out, I love to read. I might be a bit behind on my reading challenge, but I’m always down for a good book recommendation. My boyfriend is the same. He loves to read and usually gets through a book fairly quickly. I can’t read that fast or I feel like I’ve missed key elements to the story.

This past weekend while he was visiting I asked him about some of his favorite books and what he’d recommend to avid readers such as ourselves. He had to think about it a bit, most likely because he’s read so many books and doesn’t necessarily remember them all, but in the end he gave me five book recommendations and talked about one of his all time favorites.

Book 1: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

George Orwell writes about the years he spent in Spain during the 30s participating in the Spanish Civil War. The Nazi backed Franco Regime had an oppressive hold on the country and what we saw in Spain during the mid to late 30s was basically a small scale preview of WWII. Tyler read Homage to Catalonia while in Barcelona, and seeing the landmarks that George experienced while he was there really made the book come to life for him. Among Tyler’s other suggestions that are mostly fantasy and science fiction, this is a stand out read for anyone interested in history and nonfiction.

Book 2: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Tyler describes this book as the epitome of the science fiction genre. In a future where human consciousness can be transferred into new, weaponized bodies and humanity has been exploring the farthest reaches of the galaxy, how does a regular guy fit in? The best part of this book is that it is the first in a series which Tyler enjoys reading and it even spawned a prequel series and a tangentially related series from one of the secondary characters, so you will never be left wishing there was another book. Series are convenient for the avid reader as it keeps the story, the fantasy or the foreign world alive for more than one book. Tyler enjoys series, as do I, because it’s even more books to read.

Book 3: A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

“This is a pretty cliche response I’m sure, but noteworthy all the same,” started Tyler. For many of you who may be a fan of the TV series you’re in for treat according to Tyler if you dare to pick up one of George R.R. Martin’s books. As Tyler says if you’ve only watched the show and never read any of the books, you’re really only getting a small fraction of the story. “You are not a real GOT fan if you have only watched the tv show.” Now this I have to slightly disagree with as I as well, have not yet read the large series. “The story in the book is bigger, has waaaaaaaay more plot lines, characters, and many of the items they do share actually pan out totally differently,” says Tyler. One of the best fantasy series he’s ever read, and he claims it’s worth the time it takes to get through the roughly 1000 pages in each book. I hope to one day get through the books as the TV series has come to an end.

Book 4: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson

Neil starts his book in the earliest measurable moments in the universe and explains how a tiny pinpoint of matter could become the complex universe we live in now. Tyler says the book is incredibly accessible, even for people with no math or science background and he loves the book because all of the material is presented in an interesting way that really makes learning, what in reality is some of the most advanced and challenging material from one of the newest, cutting edge fields of science, an enjoyable experience. “Neil has been bringing science to the masses through a variety of different mediums for years now, and this is yet another triumph for him.”

Book 5: Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

Ranger’s Apprentice is set in a fictional medieval kingdom where there is a ranger, an elite warrior, charged by the king to live in and protect his fief (basically a state). The books follow a young orphan named Will as he is assigned to be the new apprentice ranger in his fief. Tyler especially likes these books because of the different perspective they give to the often-overused medieval setting. He explains that Rangers are not knights in shining armor protecting the honor of their citizens in all the traditional ways a medieval knight would, but rather smaller men, experts with bows and knives, who favor stealth to open combat. “It is a fresh and exciting look at the world, and the main character Will is someone who I connected with easily, and I suspect that many young men would feel the same way.” Despite the fantastical setting, many of Flanagan’s characters are incredibly detailed and real, which makes the story that much more enjoyable.

Bonus: An all-time favorite of Tylers: Origin by Dan Brown

Dan Brown’s latest novel takes the basic outline of many of his other most popular stories. We see the return of Robert Langdon from Angels and Demons, the DaVinci Code, and Inferno. Tyler describes Origin as, “by far, is his most ambition Langdon plot to date”, and he mixes the tantalizing technological future that we are on the precipice of reaching today with one of the most ancient questions that humanity has faced: how did life begin? You will see a pattern emerge in Tyler’s reading here, as one of the main setting of the book is, you guessed it, Barcelona. This was another book tha he read while visiting Barcelona a few summers ago, and again, reading it while he was there really enhanced the story. Tyler says the book is a good balance between nonfictional and fictional elements and a good read for people who may not be into the fantasy and science fiction genres.

Tyler’s taste in books is similar to my own and I’ve read a few that he’s recommended to me before. I hopefully will be able to take these recommendations as well and add them to my “To Read” list.

What book recommendations do you have for this summer?