Posted in book reviews, books, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Let’s Make Ramen!

Let’s Make Ramen!: A Comic Book Cookbook by Hugh Amano and Sarah Becan

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇ ◇

*Published July 16, 2019*

let's make ramen!This just looked really good and I love ramen and figured, “why not? Let’s check this out and see if I’m willing to give it a try.” And let me tell you, this comic cookbook make me HUNGRY!

A comic book cookbook with accessible ramen recipes for the home cook, including simple weeknight bowls, weekend project stocks, homemade noodles, and an array of delicious accompaniments, with insights and tips from notable ramen luminaries.

Playful and instructive, this hybrid cookbook/graphic novel introduces the history of ramen and provides more than 40 recipes for everything you need to make the perfect bowl at home including tares, broths, noodles, and toppings. Authors Hugh Amano and Sarah Becan present colorful, humorous, and easy-to-follow comics that fully illustrate the necessary steps and ingredients for delicious homemade ramen. Along the way, they share preparation shortcuts that make weeknight ramen a reality; provide meaty tidbits on Japanese culinary traditions; and feature words of wisdom, personal anecdotes, and cultural insights from eminent ramen figures such as chef Ivan Orkin and Ramen Adventures’ Brian MacDuckston. Recipes include broths like Shio, Shoyu, Miso, and Tonkotsu, components such as Onsen Eggs, Chashu, and Menma, and offshoots like Mazemen, Tsukemen, and Yakisoba. Ideal for beginners, seasoned cooks, and armchair chefs alike, this comic book cookbook is an accessible, fun, and inviting introduction to one of Japan’s most popular and iconic dishes.

I honestly would not have minded making a ramen recipe, but as anyone who knows just the barest bit of ramen history/lore will tell you, it takes for fricken’ ever to make ramen. Granted, this cookbook claims to make it easy for the at home cook, but these were still some complicated recipes that were in the cookbook.

Also! I only like ramen, I do not love ramen. My husband on the other hand, he absolutely loves ramen, and so when he saw that I had this cookbook, he got his hopes up a little prematurely. Granted, I didn’t mean to do that, I was curious about this cookbook and what it had to say about making ramen at home.

All the recipes in this book sounded delicious and wonderful, and if I had the time to dedicate to making them, I might have found this book a bit more to my taste. But I currently have to time to sink into making this wonderful noodle dish, so no recipes were tried.

Overall, I would say that this is a accessible way to make ramen. The authors/artists love ramen and have tried to simplify the basics of ramen to that, the very basics. The artwork was also stunning, and is a big part of the reason why I choose to check this book out from my library, because it made the ramen look even more delicious and I really did want to try. But I have neither the time nor the patience to make these recipes. So, for now, the husband and I will just need to go out when we’re craving some ramen.

What ambitions did you have when you’d check out a cookbook? Did you fulfill those ambitions and try out a recipe? Or did you just look at the pictures of the food and make yourself even hungrier? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Bloodlust & Bonnets

Yes, I know…I said that I would let you guys know when I would miss a day of writing, but I literally just…forgot to write yesterday. So, I’m sorry! Now, onto the review!

Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern

 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇

*Published September 17, 2019*

bloodlust and bonnetsI was so excited when I heard that this book was coming out! I love My Life as a Background Slytherin, a webcomic written and drawn by Emily McGovern and they are just so ridiculous and I love it! YES!!!

From the creator of the hit webcomic My Life As a Background Slytherin comes a hilarious graphic novel pastiche of classic Romantic literature led by a trio of queer misfits—and several angry vampires.

Set in early nineteenth-century Britain, Bloodlust & Bonnets follows Lucy, an unworldly debutante who desires a life of passion and intrigue—qualities which earn her the attention of Lady Violet Travesty, the leader of a local vampire cult.

But before Lucy can embark on her new life of vampiric debauchery, she finds herself unexpectedly thrown together with the flamboyant poet Lord Byron (“from books!”) and a mysterious bounty-hunter named Sham. The unlikely trio lie, flirt, fight, and manipulate each other as they make their way across Britain, disrupting society balls, slaying vampires, and making every effort not to betray their feelings to each other as their personal and romantic lives become increasingly entangled.

Both witty and slapstick, elegant and gory, Emily McGovern’s debut graphic novel pays tribute to and pokes fun at beloved romance tropes, delivering a joyous, action-packed world of friendship and adventure.

I love the whimsy and the ridiculousness of this graphic novel! It was fantastic and I love the three main characters, Lucy, Lord Byron, and Sham. All three are queer and all three are ridiculous and all three are trying to hunt vampires. These Regency loons are just trying to get through this world while trying to figure out what they actually want to do.

If you have ever read My Life as a Background Slytherin, then I highly recommend you read this graphic novel. It’s very similar in style (obviously), as well as just how many shenanigans and hijinks everyone gets involved in. Lucy wants to be a vampire, but she is also with Lord Byron and Sham who wish to end vampires. Lord Byron is just confused ALL  the time, he’s even confused on who the main character of this graphic novel is. Sham is lost; Sham is always lost and they seem to take this out on those around them.

All three are flawed characters, and these flaws make them relatable people. I love Lucy I want to punch Lord Byron in the face (though, this seems to be normal reaction to Lord Byron), and I want to be like Sham just a little bit. Emily McGovern is fantastic about conveying emotion and expression on nearly expressionless characters and I love it! Her art style is so unique, so it may not be your favourite. Give this book a chance though, and I do believe you’ll make a new friend, in book format.

Can a unique art style throw you off of a graphic novel? Are you able to move past it, or does it ruin the graphic novel for you? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, ebook, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Snow, Glass, Apples

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Colleen Doran

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Published August 20, 2019*

snow, glass, applesI was looking for a new book to read while on desk during the first few weeks of my new job and I stumbled on this one while looking through Overdrive. I love fairy tale retellings, so I devoured this is just a couple of hours and it was worth it.

A chilling fantasy retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by New York Times bestselling creators Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran!

A not-so-evil queen is terrified of her monstrous stepdaughter and determined to repel this creature and save her kingdom from a world where happy endings aren’t so happily ever after.

From the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, Nebula award-winning, and New York Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman (American Gods) comes this graphic novel adaptation by Colleen Doran (Troll Bridge)!

I loved this version of the retelling of the story of Snow White. As it is a short graphic novel, I can’t say mch without revealing all of the story, but I love how we followed not Snow White, but the queen in this retelling. We saw Snow White from her point of view and how much she loved her kingdom and her people and Snow White. But as things progress and Snow White grows up, things start to change and we see the queen do what she can in order to protect her people.

It’s rare for a retelling to come from the point of view of what is traditionally viewed as the villain of the story. And we see a side of the story that we wouldn’t normally see. Yet, when we see a villain humanized, that makes the villain that much more enjoyable for me. And I love this take on a Snow White retelling. It’s one that I’ve seen mentioned would be a good one to do for Snow White, based on her description, but it’s never been one I’ve yet read, so I was glad to finally read it. I highly enjoyed the writing, which I expected, but the illustrations were also beautiful and it matched the writing and the story wonderfully!

What retellings of Snow White have you read? What is some of your favourite versions? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊

*Published September 30, 2003*

girl with a pearl earringThis was a book that was part of a local librarian traveling book project. I was doing mine for @youthbookreview’s from Tumblr, and one of my friends at work was excited and wanted to try it. This was her pick and it was an interesting book.

In seventeenth-century Delft, there’s a strict social orderrich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, master and servantand all know their place. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. She even feels able to handle his shrewd mother-in-law; his restless, sensual wife; and their jealous servant. What no one expects is that Griet’s quiet manner, quick perceptions, and fascination with her master’s paintings will draw her inexorably into his world. Their growing intimacy sparks whispers; and when Vermeer paints her wearing his wife’s pearl earrings, the gossip escalates into a full-blown scandal that irrevocably changes Griet’s life.

Written with the precision and focus of an Old Master painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a vivid portrait of colorful seventeenth-century Delft, as well as the hauntingly poignant story of one young girl’s rite of passage.

The most enjoyable part of this book was that it was a historical fiction novel and it delved into how a very famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring came to be and the inspiration behind it. While a bit of a stretch the story was enough that I didn’t mind it.

Griet, daughter of a renowned title painter, has to go and work to help support her family. In doing so, she learns to not only appreciate beauty but paintings not of her religion as well. She also learns more about herself, something that she wouldn’t have learned staying where she was comfortable.

I like it when stories take something we don’t know more about, such as paintings, and gives a backstory to how it came about. I also learned there is a movie based off of the book. This is not a movie I want to see, but the book was interesting enough.

What do you think of books that give backstories to paintings? Or backstories to things that we know very little about? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Art Matters

Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World by Neil Gaiman

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Published November 20, 2018*

art mattersI love it when these two amazing artists get together to create amazing pieces of art. I LOVE Neil Gaiman’s writing and I LOVE Chris Riddell’s illustrations!  They are just amazing, the both of them!

Art Matters bring together four of Gaiman’s most beloved writings on creativity and artistry:

“Credo,” his remarkably concise and relevant manifesto on free expression, first delivered in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings
“Make Good Art,” his famous 2012 commencement address delivered at the Philadelphia University of the Arts
“Making a Chair,” a poem about the joys of creating something, even when words won’t come
“On Libraries,” an impassioned argument for libraries that illuminates their importance to our future and celebrates how they foster readers and daydreamers
Featuring original illustrations by Gaiman’s longtime illustrator, Chris Riddell, Art Matters is a stirring testament to the freedom of ideas that inspires us to make art in the face of adversity, and dares us to choose to be bold.

These four manifestoes are beautifully written and they are also beautifully illustrated. As we read why we need to be creative and imaginative with Neil Gaiman’s writing, we see what happens when we are creative and imaginative through Chris Riddell’s illustrations. This is one of my favorite nonfiction books to read this year, if only because it makes me want to be more creative, and work on my writing and maybe work on maybe drawing.

What makes you want to be creative? How are you creative? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: A Study in Emerald

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Published June 27, 2018*

study in emeraldI love retellings. It’s one of my favorite genres (if you can call it a genre) and I love it when authors take a common story and then rewrite/retell it for their style. For Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite things about him is his fantasy style and with this retelling of Sherlock Holmes, especially as it is in graphic novel format.

This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder.

The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen’s Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!

What I truly love most about this version of A Study in Scarlet is that the main narrator, we don’t who exactly they are. At least, I didn’t until the end of the story. Yes, there are hints here and there, but their name is not specifically stated until the end. I also like that the brilliance of the emerald blood stands out against the dark and drab colors of Victorian England.

I love also love that it still harkens back to the essentials of the Sherlock Holmes mythos; we still have Sherlock Holmes as the snarky consulting detective, a man who has been discharged from the army after his stint in Afghanistan and takes up rooms with Sherlock Holmes, and a mystery of who was killed and leaving the word “Rache” to be found.

I have never read anything dealing with the Cthulhu verse, this was my first foray into that fantasy and it was so interesting to see it mixed in with Sherlock Holmes. I know a bit about the Cthulhu verse, but to see some of the mystery and effect these beasts? monsters? have on the characters in the universe. It made me not want to cross these creatures but I also curious about the Cthulhu verse and want to read more.

What do you think about retellings that are not fairy tales? Do you like them or wish for people to leave the source material alone? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Thursday Three Covers I Love

Thursday Threes: Book Covers That Are Beautiful!

Today is the day we talk about book covers! Don’t you just love them? They are what bring you in, they are what catch your eye in the store or online, they are what call to you saying, “You know you want to look through me!” I’m going to be showing you three book covers that definitely caught my attention and made me want to buy said books.

Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner – The reason I bought this book was because the cover reminded me a little bit of the “Redwall” book series by Brian Jacques as well as “The Secret of Nihm” movie. Combined, it looked like something that I would actually read and after reading the blurb, I can agree that I will. I just need to actually get around to reading it now.

The Thief Queen’s Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon – I love dragons. I buy just about every book that has a dragon on the cover, you can look at my shelves if you don’t believe me. But I think that I liked most about this book, besides the dragon on the cover, is that the leader of the thieves is a woman. I loved that and I had to buy it once I found that out!

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – I love Neil Gaiman, but I had first read this book several years ago with a very different cover. It was a good book, but the cover and some of the art inside didn’t mesh with the images I had of the characters myself, I gave my copy away. But I saw this particular copy in Half Price Books a couple months ago and I had to buy it because Chris Riddell is one of my favorite illustrators! I love his style and just how he brings images to life, and this time the cover and the art inside more closely matches how I picture the characters and it makes it more enjoyable for me.

The way the cover is designed says a lot about the book, and for me, a lot about how much I will enjoy the book. Now, a lot of people say, “don’t just a book by its cover,” but you have to just a book slightly by its cover, else how do you get interested? These are three covers that actually pulled me in and made me want to read these books.

What are some of your favorite covers? What about them caught your attention? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book challenge, book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Monstress, Vol. 3

Monstress, Vol. 3 by Marjorie M. Liu

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Published September 11, 2018*

monstress 3The third volume of Monstress, the majority of time is spent at Pontus, their current place of refuge. Throughout their stay, we learn more about Maika, the demon that resides inside of her, Ren and Kippa. We actually have a lot of more time dedicated to Ren and Kippa in this volume and we learn more about them than we have in the two previous volumes.

We also learn more about Maika and the demon that lives inside her and the plans that everyone else in the world has planned for that power. As Maika struggles to harness her control over the demon she also needs to find out and learn more about her mother and the shards of a mask she was trying to gather.

Some of the best things about this comic is the art. This is a beautifully drawn world; an ugly story placed within a pretty skin. It’s just beautiful and I love the way the characters are drawn! It’s all just beautiful and steampunkish! Wonderful!

What are some of your favorite comics? Is it the art or the story you like? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Fragile Things

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Published May 22, 2018*

fragile thingsI saw the cover of this book in the bookstore, saw who wrote it and immediately bought it. There was no way I was going to leave this beautiful book in the bookstore when I had a gift card and a love of Neil Gaiman’s writings.

This book of shorts stories and fictions, and they are from all genres, but mainly fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. I love Gaiman’s writing and his writing style and I’m always happy to read something new from him. I also enjoyed that we got to see a small peak of Shadow from American Gods and his time in the UK.

What author do you always read? Why do you enjoy them so much? Comment below and let me know!