Celestial Carousel

Hello! Welcome to the BookLikes page of the book review blog Celestial Carousel! Here I'll share snippets from Celestial Carousel and take part in whatever other miscellaneous shenanigans I like.

The She-Hulk Diaries

The She-Hulk Diaries - Marta Acosta

This book was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.


I may not be well-versed in the history of Jennifer Walters or her mighty green alter-ego, She-Hulk (or "Shulky", as referred to in this novel), but it doesn't take a comic book aficionado to appreciate what Marta Acosta has created in The She-Hulk Diaries.


I really enjoyed the writing style. It was informal and friendly, like, well, reading a diary. The humor was quick and spot on, and I found myself laughing within the first few pages. I loved the back-and-forth banter between Jen and her best friend, Dahlia. There are many "geek culture" references that I spotted and enjoyed, from Skyrim to LARPing, and the science-themed lyrics penned for Jen's ex-lover's band Fringe Theory are outrageously fun.


The characters are dimensional, diverse (culturally and racially, too!), relatable, and likable. I loved Jen, Dahlia, and Genoa from the start, and appreciated the depth of the other characters.


But beneath a generally enjoyable superhero story, there's one thing that's really bothering me--Jen's need for a guy in her life. It seems like the majority of her personal goals and much of the novel is focused on finding a PFLOML (That's "Potential Future Love of My Life") or mooning over an ex who's unexpectedly back in the picture. And, you know, maybe I'm unromantic, but a guy writing that many (fairly graphic) songs about a girl with whom he had a one-time one-night-stand? A little creepy. I never really got Jennifer's feelings for Ellis.


I appreciated the "girl power!" affirmations sprinkled throughout (In one instance, Shulky tells a friend, "Male is not the default gender for superhero.", and I may or may not have done a celebratory fist pump), and I have no problem with a little love in a superhero story, but with The She-Hulk Diaries, it felt more like a little bit of superhero in a (looking-for-)love story.


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.


The Name of the Star (Shades of London Series #1)

The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

I actually first heard about this book when I met Maureen Johnson at an author signing at LeakyCon in 2011, where she was handing out promotional buttons for The Name of the Star to those in line. I filed it away as something that would probably be interesting, but with a far-off release date and the hubbub of the conference going on around me, I forgot about it until much later. I read more about it not long after its release, and as a major self-professed anglophile and someone whose entire lineage is from Louisiana, I knew this was a book I'd have to read.


First things first--Louisiana. As I mentioned before, my family has close ties to Louisiana, and I've spent quite a lot of time in New Orleans and neighboring cities throughout my life. I was pleased to see that the southern stereotypes weren't laid on too thick, like many books about Southern protagonists are wont to do. The references felt appropriate and authentic and not at all like a caricature of the South.


Another thing that felt really authentic? Just about everything pertaining to the book's "Rippermania" and the way the public's desensitization toward the murders was written. The parties, the Ripper t-shirts... it felt accurate. Sad, but accurate. While sensitive readers may be a little put-off by her fairly descriptive accounts of the gore of the Ripper's attacks, I appreciated their accuracy.


I liked the cast of characters well enough, overall. There were a few standouts to me (Rory and Callum), and while I liked Jerome well enough, I appreciated that the romance side-plot was just that--a side-plot. It came second to the overall plot, and I liked it that way.


Though the tone of the book was predominantly thriller-ish, followers of Maureen Johnson's twitter account won't be disappointed to find that snippets of the author's quirky sense of humor are sprinkled throughout. As a whole, I had several "I know what's going on here!" lightbulb moments, but they were nicely complemented by a handful of surprises--especially the ending.


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

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