book reviews, Graphic Novels, spoiler free

Finding Home Vol. 1: The Traveller by Hari Conner

Book Review

40922848._SY475_Finding Home Vol. 1: The Traveller by Hari Conner

Rating: XXXXX

Published June 2018 by Hari Draws Books

“It’s like there’s things that haunt you. Ghosts of feelings that follow you around. Echos of memories you can’t get rid of. A wall between you and the world.”

Finding Home is a slow-burn romance/drama comic set in a fantasy world, with a focus on nature, emotion and the small moments that change how you feel about someone.

Having abandoned his wood nymph family and spent a disastrous few years failing to fit in among humans, Chepi now travels alone, avoiding making friends or staying anywhere too long. That is, until he ends up on the road with someone he can’t seem to keep his distance from – Janek.

As the story begins, Janek just wants to get home and is happy to have a travelling companion on the way. But the closer they become, the more he’s drawn to Chepi, and the more he finds out about his nightmares, magic and troubling past…

I’ve been captivated by Hari’s art whenever I’ve come across them at MCM London and I kept seeing mentions of their graphic novel “Finding Home” and although it was on my list of things to get I often found that it had been so popular over the convention weekend that it was sold out when I went to get a copy on my breaks etc. When the Kickstarter for Vol.2 went live I backed it immediately and ordered myself a copy of Vol. 1 as well at last! I’ve been rammed with book reviews and other things the past few months since I received them but I finally made room for them a few weeks ago and took to spending a little time each night reading Vol. 1 and speedily falling in love with Janek and Chepi.

The artwork throughout is incredible, the landscapes and forests especially are my favourites, they honestly feel magical. The colours used throughout, those used to illustrate past memories, in particular, were done exceedingly well and added such an extra layer and feel to them. The only artwork issue I had at all was that I’m not great at reading some forms of cursive and had to spend a good amount of time trying to decipher a couple of parts that were written in letter form as although the handwriting looks beautiful it did take a few goes to get any good at reading it.

The story is a slow one and it could be said not a great deal happens but this isn’t an action-filled book. This is a soft narrative, slow burn of a tale and the pace itself just feels like it flows so naturally along with Chepi and Janek’s personalities. Time is taken to lay seeds, to ask questions, to hint at things and elaborate little by little as the characters get to know each other. One particular detail I absolutely adored was the fact that when Chepi feels different emotions strongly it seems to manifest in the form of different blooms throughout his hair, it’s just such a perfect little touch.  Although in a magical land, Chepi’s emotions feel so real and raw I was utterly transfixed, not to mention Janek’s caring, calm nature. Even when he’s a little flustered, nervous or worried Janek honestly feels like such a soothing presence and without giving too much away, his actions later in the book made me want to weep with joy because he’s honestly the sweetest soul I’ve ever encountered in fiction and I adore him with my whole heart.

The first and second volumes of Finding Home are available via Hari’s Etsy which you can find right here. Don’t forget to check out their other books and items too!

There have been hints of something brewing in the narrative past the characters and I feel like we might get some answers in the second book as well as hopefully Janek and Chepi opening up to each other a bit more, I’ll report back next week with my review for volume two!

 

 

 

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Must Be Monday, spoiler free, writing

Must be Monday – Inktober Week 2

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So week two is now over and this feels like it was better than last week, maybe because I’m getting more into the swing of it now. Yesterday I even managed to only go two words over the fifty word limit in my initial write up before I had to edit which was a first! Friday’s post started out at seventy-three words so sometimes a great deal of editing is needed and it really helps me to think about what I’m trying to say with each piece. Here is last weeks Inktober 2019: Writer Edition round up!

Frail

Leaving her cane behind she made her way through the trees, leaves darkening, creeping near the end of their time in unison with her own. Their usual bench was empty now without her companion but as she sat and longed for their hand she knew they would be together soon. 

Swing


Cursing in elvish as his arrow misses another target Lucien throws his bow to the ground and draws his short swords, advancing on the TARGET before him but missing again. Growling with frustration he reaches behind him and pulls a sword through his long russet hair, leaving it considerably shorter. 

(Credit to Lissy Raine for her art of my precious boy Lucien – My main D&D character based on Lucien from ACOTAR.)

Pattern 

Elle picks at the ghastly green and silver threads resembling snowflakes and Christmas trees adorning the red woollen jumper while trying to ignore the itchy sensation she had been experiencing since putting the damned thing on. Her girlfriend beams proudly at her handiwork and Elles feels her cold heart melt.

Snow

I’m not going to make it in today,” Lara coughed down the phone, “I’ve come down with that bug that’s been going around. Yes, of course, forty-eight hours” Lara reassured the voice before hanging up the call. “All clear!” She yelled as a snowball hit her in the face. 

Dragon

As an ear-splitting roar filled the air I was surprised to find I was not afraid, although my hands shook and my fingers itched with anticipation. Despite my time at the monastery, I had never come across another of my kind. I held my breath as I stepped forward. 

Ash


As I floated back to consciousness the taste of ash filled my mouth as it always did, this time accompanied by a sick feeling in my gut.

“Good work, my son,” My father told me later that evening and I knew then that I must have done something truly terrible.

(This is a follow on to the Dragon prompt and is about another D&D character who shares their body with the soul of an ancient red dragon.)

Overgrown

_inktoberovergrown

Lucien wasn’t sure he’d recognise his home as he walked amongst the now ruins where he had grown up, but as he ran a hand across the charred and overgrown remains of what had once been the veranda overlooking the great gardens his mind was suddenly awash with old memories.

I’ve been playing and/or planning a fair bit for my different Dungeons and Dragons groups this week so a good few of these are about events that have happened or I imagine have or will happen to my characters which I’ve really enjoyed as D&D is pretty much my favourite past time.

I think my favourite this week was probably Dragon although overgrown is a close second. My least favourite was swing as I had to edit it quite heavily and it didn’t have quite the same feel to it once I had reduced it to fifty words.

Now,  onto another week!

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you’d take on an Autumn Walk

Six for Sunday

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I read this around autumn last year and I did actually take this out on an Autumn walk so I couldn’t leave it out. I’m hoping to get the second book read before the end of this year with any luck as I really enjoyed the first immensely.

The Near Witch by V.E Schwab
This is another book I’ve taken out on an autumn walk, I spent a good couple of hours in a book shop reading this while the rain poured and the wind howled outside as I sipped a lovely hot chocolate. It was basically perfect.

City of Bones by Cassie Clare
This is a book I genuinely love to snuggle up with and just enjoy reading but because I’ve read it so many times I tend to just flick through to my favourite parts which I could honestly see myself doing a nice Autumn walk.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
A great chunk of Tolkiens books just feel like they have this connection to nature and The Hobbit is no exception and this is defintley a book that would fit an Autumn walk.

Hex Life Anthology by Various
I still have to read this (it’s next on my list, Angel Mage is just taking me quite a while to read) but I feel like this would be perfect with all its witchy stories!

City of Ghosts by V.E Schwab
I feel like this is a fairly obvious one as it is full of creepy, spooky vibes that are perfect for an early evening Autumn walk, but maybe not after dark eh?

I think if the weather improves next week I may have to grab a book and go for a nice walk! At the moment it’s just been raining almost non-stop and I don’t want my book to get wet. What books would you choose to take on an Autumn walk with you?

 

Tags

The Autumn Tag 2019

AUTUMN IS HERE. Autumn is my favourite season and I’m so happy!! It’s a little early in the morning as I type this and it’s still mostly dark outside and I love it. I know when I go to do the school run later I’m going to wear my long grey cardigan and my shadowhunter rune scarf and I’m so glad it’s cold enough to do so. LOVE IT. So as the joy of Autumn feeds my soul I thought it would be a good time to try my hand at The Autumn Tag! I was tagged by the lovely Jenn from Jenniely and will try to remember to tag some more people below!

1. Hot Chocolate – what is your comfort book?

I love rereading Heartstopper to give me a case of the warm and fuzzies. If I want to escape for a while and get a nostalgia hit I’ll reach for The Hobbit and if I’m feeling some good ole cheesy, YA angst I’ll go for one of the Twilight books for City of Bones.

2. Pumpkin Carving – what is your favourite creative outlet?

I’m not really good at anything creative. I loved to write, fiction, a little poetry and D&D stories etc are my favourites. I’d love to learn to knit or crochet though.

3. Falling Leaves – changes that appear bad but you secretly love?

I don’t really deal well with any kind of change, to be honest.

4. Pumpkin Spiced Latte – something you love that others tend to judge

I think a lot of adults who aren’t in my circle of friends, e.g the people I used to work with used to think it weird that I still played video games in my late 20’s and that I read a lot of fantasy and Sci-fi, especially YA.

Also, I loved The Cursed Child and I’m a Reylo (I ship Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and Rey in Star Wars) which really infuriates a lot of people.

5. Bonfire Night – what makes you explode with joy?

So this might sound like a weird one but when I go to a concert and the band plays my favourite song or a song that means a lot to me. I have literally wept with joy at concerts and although I don’t go to them hugely often anymore I always remember that feeling.

6. Fright Night – favourite scary book or film

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is amazing and it gave me actual nightmares.

7. Halloween candy – favourite thing to eat

I really need to cut down on snacking in the evening because at the moment I really love these cheap knock off peanut M&M’s and they’re super addictive. I think my absolute favourite thing to eat would probably be my dad’s curry though.

8. Scarves – your autumn ‘must-have’ accessory

SCARVES AND CARDIGANS. I have an extensive scarf collection and I’m so happy that it’s finally getting cold enough to wear them and I plan to replenish my cardigan draw this year as I’m down to just a couple after wearing most of my favourite ones to death.

9. Fire – a book or film that burns your soul

Probably another unpopular opinion but The Last Jedi. I loved The Force Awakens, I love Rey and I hated Kylo Ren but the damn emotions I went through during TLJ were crazy and when THAT fight scene happens (in the throne room) I practically vibrated with joy and I loved it so much I cried. But then as my husband can attest to, I genuinely wailed out loud in the cinema when Ben asks Rey…well I don’t want to spoil it. I rewatch this film a lot just for the chemistry between those two, to be honest. And that fight scene.

10. Toffee apples – a book or film that seems one thing but really has a different inside.

I know I’ve already mentioned it but The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James absolutely hit me with a curve-ball. I went in thinking it a fluffy contemporary-like novel set in space. HAH. Damn was I wrong.

I tag Gaynor at Koop PaperbacksandPinot
Susan at NovelLives
Cora at TeaPartyPrincess 
Lois at Loisreadsbooks

If you haven’t been tagged and would like to do the tag anyway then go for it, consider yourself tagged!

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 9th October 2019

www wednesday

 

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m finally starting to make my way through Angel Mage by Garth Nix and really enjoying it already. I’m not a huge amount of the way through but the group is pretty much all accounted for now and things are starting to come together. The world is really interesting and I can’t wait to read more.

What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve just finished the gorgeous Finding Home Graphic Novels by Hari Conner, I adore Janek and Chepi. I’d been meaning to read them for ages and they’ve been a nice break, I started reading a few pages or so of Vol. 1 each evening and then I ended up reading most of Vol. 2 in one sitting. I’ll go into more detail in a couple of weeks when my review of them both go live.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely Hex Life: Wicked new tales of witchery edited by Christoper Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering. October is here and I’m feeling spooky and this book is an absolutely perfect read on the run-up to Halloween for sure. Not to mention I kind of want to get in the witchy spirit ready for the second book Discovery of Witches book I’m planning to get back to in audio format this month too.

What have you been reading this past fortnight? Have you read any of these already? If so what did you think? What are you planning to read next?

 

book reviews

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review
43453718._SY475_The Deathless Girls 
by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Rating: XXX

Published September 19th 2019 by Orion Children’s Books

Gothic, intoxicating, feminist, darkly provoking and deeply romantic – this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

A few months ago now I heard about a new feminist teen YA series from Hachette Children’s Group, called Bellatrix with an aim to “engage readers with stories, voices and characters that demand to be heard in the modern world”, said the publisher. Then at YALC I saw that one of the first titles would be The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, the gorgeous cover pulled me in and when I read it was a feminist retelling of the brides of Dracula I was giddy with excitement! As such, I requested it on Netgalley as soon as I was able and I finally read it this week (my backlog is immense people).

First off, I would like to say that The Deathless Girls is well written. I enjoyed the narrative style, the world was, although hugely similar to a lot of fantasy YA books has great potential as did the characters who I think I could have grown to become attached to but it was just..missing something? (slight spoiler incoming) If you had asked me what that was at around 60% I would have said, Vampires. It was missing vampires. “But”…I would have said, “don’t worry they’re coming soon, I know it!”

There are mentions and tidbits spread throughout a lot of the book that kept edging me on and thinking “the vampire stuff can’t be far off now, stuff is gonna go dooown.” As a result, I read this fairly quickly but in reflection, it feels like this was because the plot was effectively a carrot on a stick, teasing something that, in my mind at least, it just failed to deliver.

The Deathless Girls is not inherently a bad book and I’m not sure if it is purely my own expectation that ruined it for me because it sounded amazing and I did enjoy it as I read it, I almost felt invested and but it just ended up falling short. I feel it really needed to elaborate on that ending.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is out now and although I didn’t enjoy quite like I thought I would plenty of other people have and maybe it will be your thing too? If you enjoyed The Deathless Girls, sound off in the comments and tell me what you loved about it!

 

Must Be Monday, writing

Must be Monday – Inktober 2019: Writers Edition – Week One.

unboxing (1)

So if you saw my post last week or follow me on social media you will have seen that I’m taking part in Inktober 2019: Writer Edition. You can find out more at my post from last week here but essentially it works like the normal Inktober in that we are given or may use our own set of prompts for each day but whereas for the regular Inktober you would draw an inked illustration each day in the Writer Edition we write a story (or at least a glimpse of one) in fifty words. I’ve been posting my stories each day on my Twitter and Instagram and didn’t want to clog up my blog daily so each Monday this month I’ll compile each weeks stories here if you’d like to check them out. I’ve included the images I’ve been using on Instagram as well as the text itself for those who would prefer it.

Day One – Ring
Untitled design.png
The Ring sparkled ever so slightly under the artificial lighting of the restaurant. She looked from the beautifully set sapphire and into the eyes of her first love where he was waiting expectantly down on one knee for her answer. Around them, their friends looked on eagerly.

“No” she said.

Day Two – Mindless
Inktober2.Mindless

She jumped. Her body reacted on instinct and almost without conscious thought, she had launched herself into the abyss and begun falling through the air after him. “I hate him,” she thought and it may have been a branch of truth but it led to an entire tree of lies.

Day Three – Bait.
Inktober2. Bait

I pace around the grassy verge, seriously regretting having not eaten sooner. I wait for him to leave work. I try to wait patiently. He smiles when he sees me and I break into a run. His brown eyes meet mine just as I sink my teeth into his flesh.

Day Four – Freeze
Inktoberdayfourfreeze
I hear footsteps. Adrenaline surges through me as I take cover, my back pressed against whitewashed walls. I can feel sweat beading on my forehead, and a deep guttural fear burning through me. I pray that I might melt into the wall if I can stay still and quiet enough.

Day Five – Build
inktoberday.png
“Do you trust me yet?”
“No. Absolutely not.”
“I just saved your life”
“Hardly…”
“That dragon would have obliterated you”
“It was a baby”
“…Adolescent at least”
“It only attacked us because you pissed it off”
“I’m working on my social skills”
“That’s what you took away from this?”
“…Yes”

Day Six – Husky
_Inktoberday

Kal’s hands bled as he dug through the rubble above him, beside him and below him. As he finally broke the surface he gulped down the cool air as it kissed his face. He coughed and spluttered before he uttered a name, his voice hoarse from lack of use. “Anissa.”

Day Seven – Enchanted
inktoberenchanted

“I need it,” Tig whined, stretching out her hand toward the creature and making strange kissing sounds with her lips. 

“For the last time,” Mira scolded, “No. You know they make Biscuit nervous” The Owl on her shoulder ruffled his feathers uncomfortably as the abyssal chicken stared at him hungrily.

So that’s week one over, so far so good! Towards the end, I’ve started tapping into my adventures and stories from games of Dungeons and Dragons I’ve played which has been really fun!

Week two is now beginning and I’m hoping it goes just as well! Here’s a list of the prompts as a reminder!

2019promptlist