Fatal Trust // by Todd M. Johnson

//published 2017//

A few times a year I request a review copy of a book from Bethany House Publishers.  Back in 2013, I received a copy of one of Johnson’s earlier books, Critical Reaction.  While it wasn’t a book that completely blew my mind, it was still a really engaging thriller, and one that I enjoyed enough to check out Johnson’s first book, The Deposit Slipwhich I actually liked even better than Critical Reaction.  So when I saw that Johnson was publishing another book, I knew that I definitely wanted to read it.  And, conveniently, Bethany House provided me with a copy to do just that!  So many thanks to the publisher, and also to Johnson for providing yet another well-paced and engaging thriller.

Ian Wells is an attorney in Minneapolis who is slowly getting his practice where he wants it.  His dad was an attorney also, and dealt in ‘boring’ things like wills, trusts, deeds, etc.  (Actually, I worked for a lawyer who did this kind of stuff and it is amazing how boring it all is, so I totally empathized with Ian’s feelings).  Ian has always wanted to go into criminal defense, but when his dad passed away he felt obligated to take over that practice.  Over the last few years he’s been shifting to criminal law, but in the meantime he has had a lot of financial setbacks.  His mom has Alzheimer’s and is getting to the point where she is going to need 24-hour care.  Several other very expensive problems are cropping up in Ian’s life all at once.

And then he gets the phone call: a man wants Ian to help with the conclusion of a twenty-year-old trust fund – Ian must determine whether or not three men qualify to receive their share of the trust money.  In exchange, Ian gets a huge payoff.  Ian feels like there has to be something sketchy going on, but he’s reaching a point of desperation.

Johnson does a GREAT job pacing this book.  I found myself drawn right in, and every baby step that Ian takes seems completely reasonable – until he suddenly realizes that he’s completely stranded in a complicated quagmire.  Ian’s financial issues are involved just enough to make the story believable without making them absurd – just enough to make Ian ignore his gut and keep going.  The tension ratchets up perfectly – at first I was just moderately interested in Ian and his life, but by about a third of the way into the book I could hardly put it down.

The romance in this book was at just about a perfect level – enough to provide some motivation for characters but not so much that it derailed the actual story.  Like Johnson’s earlier books, there was nothing overtly religious in the story, but it was devoid of bad language, sex, and graphic violence, all of which I really appreciate.

I was genuinely impressed by the way this whole story came together.  Small details that seemed irrelevant at the time end up tying together at the end.  While I thought I had a lot of the story figured out, there were some extra twists that I didn’t see coming, but that didn’t feel at all unreasonable.  Knowing the ending made me want to read the book again and see the clues that Johnson left, which (to me) is always the sign of a good thriller.

The only really weird thing about this book was that it was set in 2018.  I never understand why books do this, because Johnson’s 2018 looked exactly like real-life 2017.  And who knows what is going to happen in the next year that could make the 2018 dates seem really weird.  I mean, if I wrote a book in 2000 and set it in September 2001 and the book never mentioned 9/11, it would seem really strange.  So that kind of threw me off, even if it is a more or less minor thing to pick on.

All in all, 4/5 for a really well-paced and engaging story, and kudos to Johnson who has a 3/3 record for producing 4* reads for me to read.  :-D

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Mirror Lake Trilogy // by Miranda Liasson

So, like I’ve mentioned, I went through a major reading slump in the middle of August.  I just kept having extremely bland reads and couldn’t work up any kind of enthusiasm for…  well, much of anything.  So I flipped through my Kindle to the oldest books on there and decided to just start reading.  The first book in the Mirror Lake trilogy was one of the very first free Kindle books that I got, and while it wasn’t an awesome story, I did enjoy it enough to read the other two books in the series.

This Thing Called Love – 3/5 – The first  book centers on Olivia and Brad.  Olivia grew up in Mirror Lake, but then went on to college and a successful career.  She and Brad were super serious in high school, but somehow their relationship stalled out.  Later, Olivia’s sister married Brad’s brother, but at the beginning of the book those two have died in a car wreck and left their infant daughter to Olivia.  So Olivia is back in town trying to get life sorted out, and of course all of a sudden Brad is back in the picture.

This was a perfectly fine way to waste a few hours.  I liked both the main characters, even if there was quite a bit more sexy times than I thought necessary.  There was also a bit more angst than I really like to have, with a lot of I’m just not good enough from both characters.  It annoyed me because every time they ought to have sat down and had a good talk, instead they sat down and had a serious snog.  If they’d done the conversation first, the book would have only been about two chapters long.

But even though I’m griping about it, the story was actually perfectly pleasant, which is why I went on to read book two.

This Love of Mine – 3.5/5 – Actually, the real reason I went on to read this book was because it had a good fake relationship trope, which I do enjoy.  And it was actually set up in a pretty plausible manner, so I was willing to roll with it.  Meg is one of Olivia’s best friends, and Ben is Brad’s brother, so there were plenty of cameo appearances from first-book characters, which I always enjoy.  I liked Ben and Meg even better than Brad and Olivia and felt like their whole relationship made a lot more sense.  There was still too much sexual energy focus, but they were also able to actually have conversations that helped them grow as individuals.  The ending seemed a little bit abrupt and a little too “Happy endings for everyone!” (and this is coming from someone who is 100% all about happy endings for everyone), but was still a really pleasant read.

This Loving Feeling – 3/5 – I really wanted to like this story better than I did, because I really liked Samantha (Sam, of course) – she is Brad and Ben’s younger sister, so she had cropped up in the first two books, as had her ‘bad’ boyfriend, Lukas.  In the story, Lukas took off six years earlier and has become a rich and famous musician since then, but now he’s back in town, and sparks are flying.  Once again, this was a pleasant story that was kind of ruined with too much sex.  It also felt like all their problems were resolved at about 2/3 through, and the rest of the ‘issues’ were very contrived to make the book longer.  Still…  pretty average read.

All in all, I don’t see myself returning to Mirror Lake, but they were perfectly fine for one-time reads and did help me while away my long August book-drought days.

Autumn Brides // by Kathryn Springer, Katie Ganshert, and Beth Vogt

So this is the final season in the first Year of Weddings novellas, and I felt like it ended well.  I really enjoyed all three of these stories.  There is apparently a second Year of Weddings, which do sound quite appealing to me, as they are all supposed to be stories that focus on people who help make weddings happen – so caterers, florists, photographers, wedding planners, etc.  I love stories that work with people in the hospitality industry (random but true), so I definitely do want to get through those one of these days.  I’ve reserved the first couple of collections at the library.

September Bride by Kathryn Springer – 3/5 – This was a cute story with a fun premise, and I really liked the characters.  However, I felt like Jesse went from super-suspicious of Annie and her motives to over-the-top in love really quickly.  And when he pulled some strings to find out more about Annie’s background, he just assumed that she had been unjustly accused and was suddenly on her team, even though just a day before he had been the one who asked about her background to begin with because he thought she was up to something!  So while it was a really fun little story, it still seemed lacking in the ‘logical conclusions’ department.

October Bride by Katie Ganshert – 4/5 – Possibly because it involved the well-loved fake-relationship trope, this was probably my favorite of the three.  Plus, Jake was just a 100% perfect hero for this story.  I loved his relationship with Emma, and really wanted this story to be a full-length novel.  Emma’s family was just so much fun, and the small-town vibe was completely  believable.  I really enjoyed watching their fake relationship spiral out of control.  All in all, I have put some of Ganshert’s other books on the list to see what else she has gotten into.

November Bride by Beth Vogt – 3/5 – This was a really fun and lighthearted little story, even though I did just want to shake some sense into the main couple every once in a while (USE YOUR WORDS!).  Still, they had good chemistry and it was a happy little story without too much angst.

In conclusion, the Year of Wedding novellas have been fun and relaxing.  While they weren’t these mind-blowing stories that left me pondering life’s deeper meaning, they were fluffy and fun and got me through some really slow reading times and introduced me to a few new authors, which I’m sure was the point!  Overall recommended if you like relaxing, clean, happy little romance tales.

 

Summer of Lost and Found // by Rebecca Behrens

//published 2016//

I really wanted to like this children’s book (I mean, look at that gorgeous cover!), but in the end it was just a middling read for me, and not one that I’ll ever bother with again.

The story focuses on Nell, whose father is an author and whose mother is a botanist.  At the beginning of the tale, Nell’s father disappears – except he doesn’t really disappear; he’s left, and Nell’s mother is super cagey about where he is and when/if he is coming back.  So this means that instead of spending the summer at home in New York City, Nell has to go with her mom to do some research on Roanoke Island in North Carolina.  Nell isn’t super happy about giving up all the plans she had for hanging out with her best friend, but slowly finds herself drawn into the small town life on the island, as her mom researches some kind of really old grapevine that may possibly have been on the island at the time of the arrival of the original British colonists (the ones who disappeared).  Nell becomes intrigued by the missing colonists and begins trying to do some research with the aid of a boy, Ambrose, she met at one of the historical parks.  She also meets a girl about her own age whom she immediately dislikes, because the other girl, Lila, is super bossy and annoying.  Throughout the story there are also journal entries written by a boy from the lost colony.

Somehow, though, this book just wasn’t magical.  Children’s books especially have that potential (and it has nothing to do with whether or not there is actual magic in the story – its the essence of the story itself that is or isn’t magical), and this was just fell flat.  Part of it was the very muddy historical fiction aspect – for instance, in the end, Nell and her friends solve the mystery of the lost colony… except no one has ever really solved that, and it felt like if I was just a kid reading this book I would get to the end and assume that maybe that mystery had really been solved in real life?  I don’t know, it just felt strange that that was the way she decided to go, having a couple of kids solve a historical mystery that’s been around a couple centuries.

The whole situation with Nell’s dad felt extremely contrived, and it also seemed unnatural that Nell wouldn’t have actually confronted at least one of her parents way earlier in the story.  If Nell’s  mom felt like she needed to ‘take a break’ from Nell’s dad, what was the point of sending him away like two days before she’s leaving for the summer anyway?  It already felt like they were going to take a break, so the whole ‘disappearance’ was really just a way of making Nell have to go with her mom.

A lot of the story felt that way, like Behrens had an idea of where she wanted the story to go, but had to be rather heavy-handed in making it happen.

I appreciated that Behrens was trying to make Nell a sort of modern-day girl, and I didn’t mind the fact that some of the story was her texting or emailing people.  However, it seemed odd to have her texting during actual face-to-face conversations with other people.  Like when she meets Lila, they’re sitting in front of the bookstore talking, and Nell literally starts texting her best friend in the middle of the conversation, things like, “Met this girl in the bookstore – might be kind of cool” or “Nevermind.  The girl’s kind of full of herself.”  I think Behrens was trying to make sure we knew about Nell’s feelings towards Lila, but the texting felt like an extremely awkward way to express that.  Like, is she texting while Lila is still talking?  Does Lila pause the conversation so Nell can pull out her phone and send a message to someone else?  It was weird, and it happened on more than one occasion.

Finally, and this is a spoiler, so don’t read this paragraph if you want to read the book (or maybe do, because this was something that annoyed me throughout the whole book and I actually skipped to the end to find out if I was right, which is something I pretty much never do) – Ambrose is a ghost!?  And it’s just kind of like…  oh, okay, he’s a ghost!  So now everything makes sense.  It really, really felt like a cop-out, and I’m not really sure if like Behrens herself just believes in ghosts so presenting one as a reasonable solution is a sensible conclusion for her?  Because legit everyone, including adults, just say “Ohhhh, he’s a ghost!” and then that’s about it.  Also, I was hoping that there would be some good reason for why Nell can see/talk with Ambrose but other people can’t – like it would have made so much sense for it turn out that she’s a distant relative or something but… nothing.  No explanation.  Apparently Ambrose just liked the looks of her…???

Overall, there were just too many jumps/gaps in logic for me to get on board with this book.  I realize it’s children’s literature, but I think it’s just as important for children’s books to make sense (within their own world – I realize the rules of Narnia are different from the rules of The Secret Garden which are different from the rules in Babe: The Gallant Pig but each book still makes sense within its own context, and that’s the key) as it is for adult books, because having those rules flow together is what makes it easy to immerse oneself into the story.  There were way too many times that I felt jarred out of the story by a ?!??! moment.

A 3/5 for a pleasant read, but Summer of Lost and Found isn’t a book I’ll be rereading.

Summer Brides // by Marybeth Whalen, Beth Wiseman, and Debra Clopton

The third season in A Year of Weddings (Winter and Spring have also been reviewed) was another reasonably enjoyable outing.  While nothing came across as wildly innovative and engaging, they were still pleasant reads on the whole, even if they did kind of make my eyes roll more than usual.  Of course, that could be me because I have been quite discontented with my reading this month.

June Bride by Marybeth Whalen – 2.5/5 – This was my least favorite of the three.  Supposedly, Wynne has just finished a season on a reality show that focuses on people who have just been through a bad breakup and helps them find a new love.  When the story opens, the show has finished and Wynne is engaged to one of the guys she met on the show, Andy.  However, Wynne’s ex shows up almost immediately, and it’s obvious that he and Wynne are going to end up together, so I never had any kind of investment in the Wynne/Andy relationship, and it felt completely absurd that Wynne would have agreed to marry this guy without talking about things like going to church and having children.  I mean seriously.  There was also this other random character whose actions and presence made almost no sense and definitely felt like filler.  Basically I just felt annoyed at everyone the whole time I was reading this story, even if it did have its cute moments.

July Bride by Beth Wiseman – 3/5 – This story was alright.  Alyssa’s fiancee, Brendan, leaves her at the altar, which is pretty darn embarrassing.  Even more embarrassing is that afterwards he feels really bad and starts trying to win her back, when all she wants to do is move on.  Unfortunately, she starts dating another guy and Wiseman obviously wanted to make the other guy a bad guy, but she was really bad at it, so he just came across as not really making a lot of sense.  Like he thinks about seducing Alyssa, but then completely respects her request to wait until they’re married to have sex?  I wasn’t expecting him to rape her or anything, but it definitely seemed like if you wanted to convince me that he was not a nice guy, he should have been using a lot more peer pressure or something.  It was like she wanted everyone to root for Brenden so she had to make the other guy not nice, but she also didn’t want anything actually distressing to happen in her story, so the bad guy was just kind of … a guy.  The whole story would have made much better sense without  the love triangle – there still could have been plenty of story just with Alyssa and Brenden working out their lives.

August Bride by Debra Clopton – 3.5/5 – My favorite out of the three, even though it’s really not my ‘type’ of romance, as it definitely involved a cowboy, which generally makes me roll my eyes really hard.  But the chemistry between the two main characters was really good, and I loved the involvement of the crazy match-making aunts (who apparently are actually in a whole series of books that Clopton wrote, and right after I read this novella I got the first book in that series for free!).  I also felt like the give and take between the main characters was done really well.  All in all, this would have been a 4/5, except after knowing each other for only three weeks (and a lot of that time spent not convinced that they should be dating at all) they leap directly into being engaged to get married?!  The story would have made WAY more sense if they had decided to start dating each other, and then we had a nice little epilogue set in the future where they get all happily married.  Like I met my husband in April and married him in July of the same year, so I understand the concept of knowing when someone is the right person and not messing about, but my real-life story of three months already seems like a stretch, and I just couldn’t buy a fictional three week relationship that leads directly to getting married.

All in all, another pleasant set of three, but nothing that really captured my fancy.

Ramblings

I’ve been in one of my rather rare reading slumps lately, still reading (of course) but halfheartedly and without a lot of awesomeness to show for it.  In turn, reviewing also seems unappealing when I’m  basically just saying, “Eh, it was alright” over and over again.  I’m sure that someday I’ll stumble into the next book that really gets me going again.  I am, quite literally, surrounded by piles of books right now, so it seems like there should be something out there for me…

*****

Possibly I’ve been a bit depressed by the discovery that I’m suddenly a white supremacist.  I didn’t realize it before, because I thought to be one you had to believe that all Caucasians are inherently better than all other skin tones (which I don’t think is true), but apparently the actual definition is anyone who doesn’t completely conform to the beliefs and opinions of Black Lives Matter and Antifa.  So it’s a bit awkward to find out that believing that it’s wrong for any public monuments to be destroyed by a mob is apparently the moral equivalent of wanting to enslave people and slaughter Jews.  Ah well.

*****

In happier news, I went to a concert on Tuesday night that was so good it was almost a spiritual experience.  Several months ago my brother-in-law told us to check out a single released by a band of teenage guys from a small rural town in Michigan.  The first time I heard my husband play it, I thought he was playing another one of those previously unreleased tracks from Led Zeppelin – not only does the lead singer for Greta Van Fleet sound eerily like Robert Plant, the other band members have captured a lot of the depth, creativity, and joy of that band.

The group, consisting of a set of twin brothers, their younger brother, and a high school buddy, have since released a four-track EP that Tom and I have been listening to on heavy rotation ever since.  When we heard that they were going on tour and that their first stop would be here in Columbus, we bought tickets the first day they went on sale – a mere $10 a pop for general admittance to a small venue called The Basement.  (It’s literally a basement and kind of my least favorite place to ever go to a concert, as it’s small, dark, stuffy, and crowded; has terrible acoustics; and is nearly impossible to actually see the band.  But, you know.)  After we purchased our tickets, the band kind of exploded in popularity, and their original single, ‘Highway Tune‘, has been playing on the radio quite a lot.  At the concert, we overheard some people talking about purchasing scalped tickets for over $100!  (And seriously, no matter how much I wanted to see them, I’m not convinced I would pay that much for a general admin ticket…)

Tom and I went with his brother and the brother’s wife.  It was one of those perfect summer evenings and had been a while since Tom and I had gone out to do something (we’re very contented introverts as a rule), so it was fun to get out and people watch for a bit.  The Basement was, of course, a million degrees and stuffed full of people, so we took our drinks back outside to the patio and pretended to be smokers.  (I mean seriously, there’s something wrong with your venue when it’s easier to breathe in the smoking area than it is inside.)  There was a bench along the stairwell railing, and while we were sitting there, the opening band began to play – and we realized we could actually see them!  So we ended up staying there for the entire evening.  We could hear, breathe, and see better than we could inside, so it actually worked great.

The band itself was a joy to hear.  Like I said, they’ve only release four tracks so far, so I was a bit leery of listening to a concert where I wouldn’t know most of the songs.  However, they are so talented that I could have listened to them all night.  I’m kind of in love with their bassist, who also plays the keyboards – he’s absolutely brilliant.  Lots of bands have a good singer and a good guitarist, but the quality of the bass and percussion in GVF really gives them a boost.  It means that their music is interesting on multiple levels, well worth listening to time and again.

If you like classic rock, I can’t recommend checking out these guys highly enough.  While yes, their music definitely has Zeppelin undertones, they are still their own thing.  Tom says he thinks they sound similar because they’re ‘mining the same musical vein’ – Zeppelin would talk a lot about the importance of the blues and how much that influenced their sound, and GVF has said the same thing.  Their encore was a blues medley that was just so much fun.  These guys have a confidence playing together that only comes from a lifetime of jamming together.  I love seeing siblings working together like this.  Despite how young they all are, their music has such a full, mature sound.

All in all, it was the sheer joy that came through their music that made this concert one of the best I’ve ever attended.  They love to play, and they love their music.  It’s something you just can’t fake, and these guys don’t have to.  Their camaraderie and contentedness sounded in every note.  They’re definitely a band to watch, and one I’m positive I’ll have to pay more than $10 to see next time they’re in town.

*****

I’ve also been working quite a lot, which is taking time away from reading/reviewing time.  In the last month I’ve helped pick, sort, and sell several hundred bushels of peaches, and it actually hasn’t been as bad as you may think.  I really love the people I work for at the orchard, and it’s only about two minutes away from my house, so I can come home at lunch and that sort of thing.  The peaches are almost done, but the guys are picking apples already, so we are basically going to be rolling right into the busiest part of the season.  It won’t be long before I start driving my little delivery truck again – I get the joy of running the wholesale route.  I’m kind of like Santa Claus, except with apples and cider and I come every week for an entire season.  ;-)

*****

This week, I made my first attempt at canning – and it worked!  I canned some pickles, and it was very exciting.  The pickle recipe itself needs a little bit of adjustment as it came out quite dill-y, but the canning process was successful and not as difficult as I feared it would be.  I don’t think I’m quite ready to do jams and jellies or anything that complicated, but the pickles are pretty straightforward.  I also cooked down tomatoes into a sauce that I froze, and have more of those to put up this weekend sometime.  And now that the apples are coming on, I’ll be making applesauce, too – also quite easy to make and freeze and SO delicious!

My mom was never really into growing veggies or putting up food, so a lot of this is self-taught for me.  Of course, I have lots of books to use as reference material!  My favorite for food preservation is one published by, of course, Storey Publishers – Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton.  It has tons of practical advice and recipes, plus step-by-step instructions for different preservation methods, like canning, freezing, and drying.  I love the way that it’s divided by produce type, so whatever you have a pile of on your counter, it’s easy to find a recipe and method for dealing with it!

*****

My little Etsy shop is keeping me busy as well.  I’ve been making lots of notebooks, and have ideas for some different items to add to my shop. I also ordered some wholesale washi tape that I am going to try to sell, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m expecting it to take another month to get here, since I ordered it from some crazy place in China somewhere.  As long as it comes at some point, I’ll be content!  In the meantime, it’s pretty fun to make notebooks, especially when people tell me they need them for special occasions – one lady just ordered some to take with her on a vacation to Denmark and Sweden!  It’s kind of exciting that my notebooks get to go off and have adventures, even if I’m still just chillaxin’ in Ohio!

*****

We’re mostly hanging in Ohio because we have sooo many ongoing house projects right now.  We closed in our back porch to make a sun room (or, as we like to call it, the Conservatory), and Pop has been busy finishing up the outside of that, a project that has involved several unnecessarily complicated trips to Menard’s.  We are FINALLY almost done fencing in the vegetable garden, which is also a run for the dogs and an extra run for the chickens (although not at the same time).  One of these days we are also going to finish the pantry project, at which point all of our food, currently in neat stacks and crates in the lower room, will be able to go to its new home, which will definitely help make this house feel less cluttered!

*****

My brother is coming in town from Seattle next week, so that will probably lead to several more hijinks.  We already have many plans.  His visits are always a crazy whirlwind of excitement and adventure, so hopefully we all survive.

*****

In a bit of actual bookish news, I did purchase the Hufflepuff edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  The binding itself is fantastic – honestly, it’s a perfect book: wonderful size, pages just the right weight, lovely font, delightfully bound – and the Hufflepuff facts not as lame as I feared they might be.  It’s also very nice to have the British edition – it’s amazing to me how much changes between the two, despite being written in (theoretically) the same language.  I went ahead and ordered the other house editions as well – weirdly, the four oldest siblings in my family each belong to a different house, so I’m excited about distributing them properly.

*****

In conclusion, one of these days I’ll get back to book blogging, and it will be fantastic.  I used to feel a little stressed when I went through these down phases, but I’ve since realized that I blog for myself and my own enjoyment, so if I’m not enjoying it, why bother?  The urge to express my bookish opinions always returns eventually.  And when it does, you all will be the first to know.  ;-)

Happy reading!

Nimona // by Noelle Stevenson

//published 2015//

I picked up this graphic novel to just sort of flip through it and see what the pictures were like, and before I knew it I was about a third of the way through and completely engrossed in the story.  Nimona was a surprisingly enjoyable read for me.  To date, I haven’t been much into graphic novels, but I’m starting to think that that’s just because I haven’t found any good ones before this.

Originally a webcomic, Nimona is about a villain, Ballister Blackheart, who, in the first chapter, is joined by a new sidekick: Nimona.  Ballister isn’t too excited about having a tagalong at first, but it turns out that Nimona is a shapeshifter, and soon the pair is working together to wreck havoc.

What I LOVED about this story was the fabulous world-building.  The setting for this story is sort of medieval, with knights and villages and dragnos and stuff, except with modern technology (and beyond), like video calls and tiny walkie-talkies.  So it’s actually kind of a sci-fi story, except with knights.  I was completely in love with the setting and was delighted with how well everything blended together even though it felt like it should have been ridiculous – like a science fair that actually looks like a medieval fair, or jousting knights who also have illegal laser guns.

The characters were also fantastic.  I fell in love with Ballister basically immediately.  He’s the perfect villain-who-isn’t, and his relationship with Nimona is a delight.  I totally wanted Ballister to be my uncle.  Nimona herself has a lot more layers than it appears at first, and honestly my biggest beef about this whole story is just that I want MORE NIMONA (and more everything if I’m honest… I need like three sequels at least).  Ambrosius Goldenloin is the other main character – the official hero/arch-nemesis of Ballister.  Of course, they were erstwhile friends, wrenched apart by a terrible tragedy, and now fight against each other.  I actually really felt like their relationship was done well, too – their being more than friends felt like a natural part of the story, not THE story.

Of course, the artwork is also amazing.  It’s colorful and engaging, and I really loved Stevenson’s style.  There are so many expressions, not just from the people, but from the various animals Nimona shifts into as well.  I feel like I could easily reread this story and get so much more out of the pictures now that I already know where the story is heading.

Overall, this story was an easy 4/5.  I felt like some aspects of the plot could have been tightened up, and I really wanted a more concrete ending for Nimona herself, but I couldn’t believe how this story completely sucked me in.  I enjoyed every page and wanted about five times more.

It also made me interested to read some more graphic novels, so if anyone has some good suggestions, do let me know!  Nimona came to my attention via an excellent review by ChrissiReads last year.