Size Doesn’t Matter (21): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

Papillon - Miwa UedaPapillon (Papillon #1-8) – Miwa Ueda

Source: Scanlations

Date Finished: November 15, 2015

Rating: .5 stars

What I Thought: So I was talking about teacher/student romances with Dahlia and got the urge to revisit this manga I’d started but not finished several years ago. I had vague memories of actually shipping this one, because the male teacher was the guidance counselor and it wasn’t quite as problematic as the usual situation; it’s not like he was grading her. However, revisiting it, I don’t know what the fuck younger me was thinking because Papillon is super problematic.

Yes, he’s not her teacher but he still acts completely inappropriately. He makes sexual jokes towards his teen students constantly. As an adult, I was just constantly cringing because it’s so wrong. When his adviser finds out about the relationship, he tries to help them succeed, rather than failing the guy, who is counseling at the high school as part of his pursuit of a degree.

Then there’s the fact that the whole point of the manga is that outer beauty is so important. I mean, yes, it’s also trying to make a point about inner beauty, but it’s lost beside the fact that she gets everything she ever wanted by fitting into society’s beauty standards. To end the manga and make a healthy point about beauty, she could have ended up with the guy who had a crush on her back when she wore her glasses and had acne problems. But no.

On top of that, the whole plot, much like Peach Girl, which I do admit I liked a lot, is the rivalry between the two sisters. It’s gross girl hate forever and ever. There’s no plot arc in this manga I’ve not read elsewhere. The whole thing is melodramatic, unoriginal, and horrible. I do still enjoy Ueda’s illustrations and that’s all I’ve really got to say that’s positive.


Size Doesn’t Matter (20): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy #2) - Sherry ThomasThe Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy #2) – Sherry Thomas

Source: Balzer + Bray

Date Finished: November 11, 2015

Times Read: 2

Rating: 4.5 stars

What I Thought: I am just so thrilled with how this reread has gone. I know several people who just are not into this series, and that always makes me more nervous for a reread because maybe I missed something horrible because I was so focused on the ship. But, no, I totally still think these books are incredibly fun, albeit imperfect. They’re certainly a bit busy, but they’re a delight nonetheless.

I still find it impressive that Sherry Thomas pulled off The Perilous Sea so well. It alternates between Titus and Iolanthe wandering the Sahara, trying to avoid capture while suffering amnesia, and the past events that brought them there in that state. Generally, I loathe amnesia plots, and alternating between two times like that can be thoroughly exhausting. In this case, though, the amnesia isn’t convenient (it doesn’t come back little bits at a time as needed for the plot as it does in so much fiction) and I didn’t find myself wishing the book had been written in linear order as I usually do in such circumstances.

Though, honestly, not sure how I wasn’t more angry at this book for ending where it does. It’s a pretty mean place to leave off, but all three are out now. Just make sure you have The Immortal Heights ready to go as soon as you finish The Perilous Sea. For a more thorough review, here’s my initial review, which I totally still agree with.

The Snow Queen - Hans Christian AndersonThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

Source: Free from Audible at Christmas

Date Finished: November 13, 2015

Rating: 3 stars

What I Thought: Growing up, I had a VHS of the Snow Queen that I really loved. It was animated and probably not that great, but for some reason I found it totally captivating. It got a lot of “The Snow Queen” right, but left out some details, like the mirror.

Julia Whelan’s performance is great, but I can’t say I’m especially impressed with the tale as a bit of storytelling. For one thing, Gerda and Kay seem like very young children but also it’s sort of a romance which is just weird. Gerda also just stumbles through the whole journey, led around conveniently to precisely where she needs to go, sort of like a video game or something. The snow queen herself is rather puzzling and hardly engaged in the story at all.

It was a pleasant holiday listen but not what I’d hoped.

The Bad Beginning - Lemony SnicketThe Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) – Lemony Snicket

Source: Purchased

Date Finished: November 16, 2015

Times Read: 2

Rating: 3 stars

What I Thought: Several years ago, pre-blogging, I read a few of the Lemony Snicket books, but then got distracted and moved on. Audible offered this one on sale one day, and I purchased it on a whim because Tim Curry and multi-voice performance were impossible for me to resist.

In some ways, I greatly prefer the audio to the print, but the multi-voice recording was not everything I’d dreamed it would be. The problem is that it’s not just multiple voices; the actual performances were really great. However, they added background noises: police sirens going by, crashing waves, and any other sound that can add to the setting. In theory, that’s great, but in practice sometimes I couldn’t hear the actual words of the book over the sounds of the background.

These aren’t my typical middle grade picks, and I do have some suspension of disbelief issues, but they’re fun and I do think I’ll very much enjoy going through the audiobooks.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) – J.K. Rowling

Source: Purchased

Date Finished: November 16, 2015

Rating: 5 stars

What I Thought: When I was younger, I’m pretty sure Half-Blood Prince was my least favorite HP novel. Dumbledore had never been my favorite character so it wasn’t as emotional for me, and I don’t really have any other reasons for that tbh. I don’t really remember my thought process on that one.

Rereading, Half-Blood Prince is definitely at the top of my HP list. For one thing, it’s by far the shippiest book in the series. Ron/Hermione is frustrating perfection throughout.. Harry/Ginny totally still works for me and I am all about surprise kisses yes I am. Tonks/Lupin is sweet, though I totally think I imagined a lot that’s not actually in the book.

What I did not appreciate when I was younger is that Half-Blood Prince is actually the book that deals with my Dumbledore issues. It always bothered me how he would swan in and fix things, after letting them get to a terrible and often unnecessary state. He reminded me a bit of Aslan, and it just didn’t work for me. In Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore’s weakness becomes more apparent. He’s not invincible anymore, and he has real character development here. I will forever be haunted by the scene where he’s drinking the potion.

Also, not a good idea to finish this on the plane. Not crying was such a struggle.

Da Vinci's Tiger - L. M. ElliottDa Vinci’s Tiger – L.M. Elliott

Source: HarperTeen

Date Finished: November 21, 2015

Rating: 2.5 stars

What I Thought: Da Vinci’s Tiger was a tough read for me. It’s one of those books that I both think is really good and also didn’t enjoy very much. I respect everything that Elliott has done here, and I love the window into some history I’m not especially familiar with. At the same time, this book was a slog for me to get through.

The pacing of Da Vinci’s Tiger moves at a crawl. It took me a while to figure out why I felt this way, but I finally put my finger on it. There’s no real plot here; it’s more of a window into what life was like at that time. There’s nothing driving the story forward or making me super curious where things are going to end. From the start, you know that Leonardo paints her and that will be her primary impact on history.

That said, I think the history is done very well and believably. If you’re looking for straight up history without the romance, look no further. Elliott handled feminism and homosexuality in ways realistic to the time without making the book infuriating.

Da Vinci’s Tiger is very good, but there wasn’t quite enough life in the characters to keep me interested without any sort of an exciting plot or romance to keep my attention.

The Impostor Queen Blog Tour

The Impostor Queen Blog Tour

Hey guys! I’ve been really silent this week because I’ve been taking a mini-break while I’m on a business trip. I just don’t have the energy at the end of the day to put posts together. I’m making an exception for The Impostor Queen, because I’m very excited about this book. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sarah Fine’s novels, and this one sounds so very much up my alley! These character profiles only increase my need for this book because hello these people sound like villains I want to like.

Character Profiles


Name: Oskar
Title: None he’s willing to claim.
Resides: In the outlands.
Characteristics: Gray eyes, dark brown hair, big enough that you wouldn’t want to mess with him. A hunter by trade. Fears nothing—except the winter.
Magic: None of your business.
Goal: To be left alone to live as he pleases.
Quote: “I’ve already claimed you, so all the other predators are out of luck.”

gif sassy shirtless bellamy blake 100


Size Doesn’t Matter (19): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

Willful Machines - Tim FloreenWillful Machines – Tim Floreen

Source: Simon Pulse on Edelweiss

Date Finished: November 10, 2015

Rating: 3 stars

What I Thought: This book is surprisingly cute. I mean, there’s some dark, messed up stuff in here, but the impression I’m left with is how cute it was.

Lee Fisher is depressed and deeply in the closet. He does his best to avoid notice, which is hard to do when your father is the president of the United States and you’re infamous for an attempted suicide attempt. Enter the brash, happy new boy, Nico. From the moment Nico flirts with him and smiles, Lee’s knees go all squishy. Basically, he’s a goner. Their romance is pretty cute, though I could have done without the heavy dose of instalove. Still, their dynamic reminded me of Please Like Me and made me smile.

gif please like me shirtless kiss

The plot is at once interesting and predictable. It’s a dystopian future that seems all-too-plausible, where the advent of human-like robots leads to a humans first movement that also happens to want to revert things back to the 1950s. I called both of the really big twists, but I don’t think that invalidates the fascinating discussion on what it is to be human in Willful Machines. It’s a bit on the simplistic side, but I think it will great for readers new to sci fi and the question of what a truly sentient robot would mean for humanity. After reading this one, I’d recommend leveling up to Illuminae and The Scorpion Rules.

I was leaning towards a 3.5, but the ending was more open ending than I like, the unsatisfying kind rather than the thought-provoking kind. I’d like more resolution to the degree that I’m wondering if this is a secret sequel scenario, considering that View Spoiler »


Cover Snark (168): Snark Places with Me

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Shiny and New:

1. The Phantom in the Maze – Michael Swanwick
The Phantom in the Maze - Michael Swanwick
Thoughts: She’s not sure she wants to be here but I’m glad she is with her rocking outfit and humongous wolf friend.