Posted in Reviews

Mini Reviews from August

I drafted this post ready to go on September 3rd, and then didn’t finish it until September 17th. That feels about right for the flow of time these days. 😂 Two weeks feels like a few days at most! Anyway, here are the books from August that I didn’t get around to fully reviewing and some others that I posted for last month. 🙂

Fully reviewed books

Mini reviewed books below

All book covers link to the Goodreads page for the book with the blurb & additional info!

  1. Memoirs of a Teenage Insomniac by Gabrielle Zevin
  2. Heartsongs by Matti TJ Stepanek
  3. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer
  4. Nothing Special by Katie Cook
  5. Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala
  6. Let’s Play, Season 2 by Mongie
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesia by Gabrielle Zevin

2 Sentence Summary:
Naomi hits her head hard enough to forget the last 6-ish years of her life. Now she has to re-learn her boyfriend, her best friend, her family, her studies… and herself.

This book was decent, but I feel like it tried to be too many things at one time. The plot took a wild left turn halfway through, and then softly ended where I expected it to head all along. The overall experience was a bit jarring because of that. I didn’t much like Elsewhere either, so maybe this author’s style just isn’t my fav.

Heartsongs by Mattie JT Stepanek

2 Sentence Summary:
Poetry by a child, mostly about things children know about. Also God.

As I mentioned in my monthly wrap up, I 100% did not realize this was by an actual 5 year old child. My mistake; and my disappointment. Good for elementary school or KCC, less good for an adult seeking quality, moving poetry.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

2 Sentence Summary:
Twilight, but from Edward’s point of view. Bella is more interesting, but Edward is still pretty creepy.

Frankly the reason I didn’t review this is because Angelica from The Book Cover Girls already wrote everything I would have said, and more eloquently than I could have said it. Just go read her review.

If I had to recommend between reading Twilight or this one for the story, I’d say read this one.

Nothing Special by Katie Cook

2 Sentence Summary:
A half-demon girl goes on a search in a dangerous magical land for her abruptly missing father. Her boy-who’s-a-friend from the human world comes with her, and they discover he’s also half-something-not-human as well.

I don’t know how I found this but I’m thankful as heck that I did. It’s a perfect read for feeling hopeful and sweet while still getting that excitement f adventure and a rich new world. Also there are ghost plants, and it’s the cutest damn thing ever.

Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala

2 Sentence Summary:
A woman puts her standard career on hold to listen to people’s stories full time. It’s amazing how people just need to have someone really hear them.

I thought it would be too much for me, but I did finish this Fast Forward Friday book! It was every bit as emotional and affecting as I anticipated. If you’ll notice, the two reads before and after this one were lighthearted webcomics for a reason.

Let's Play, Season 2 by Mongi

2 Sentence Summary:
A game developer and avid player works her way through attempted romances and finding her confidence. Her friends and coworkers (and trusty loyal pup) are all by her side.

This story is great because you care about all the characters in it. When there are some episodes about Marshall, or about Link, you are just as excited to read them as the ones about Sam. It’s all excellent! Funny, sweet, honest, steamy… it’s got it all! (Plus, GAMING!)

Alright y’all, I’m off to continue reading!

Sometimes it’s hard to decide which to do: read, or write about reading! Today I feel like the decision is easy though, as I have a few great books I’m in the middle of. Have a lovely day!

PS – thanks to Yu Siang Teo on Unsplash for the photo featured in the cover!

Posted in A Picture's Worth

A Picture’s Worth: Secrets & Truth

Words have always carried more weight with me than images – give me a book over its movie any day – but I do love to see the beautiful images other people create when they’re in love with a book. That’s not my strength, but I can certainly appreciate it in others! So here’s a few of my faves based on what I’ve been reading recently.

Zahra’s Paradise

Ahhhh, this was one I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Zahra’s Paradise is published semi-anonymously, with only pen names to the title. The reason being exposure of corruption and evidence of coverups, hacking, stolen information, torture, and all sorts of horrific depressing crimes. It was originally written as an illustrated web series after the fraudulent elections in Iran in 2009. Protestors were arrested and vanished. The history included in the book is brilliantly helpful, but the emotion and the story is what really packs the punch.

Holding the book in front of the city streets reflects the spirit and nature of the story. Go out, fight, be heard. You CAN’T just stay in the comfort of home and take what’s given; you must brave the cold (snowy) reality outside.

Continue reading “A Picture’s Worth: Secrets & Truth”
Posted in Reviews

Just Published: The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Volume 2 by Mi Tagawa

Reminder that The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Volume 2 by Mi Tagawa (⭐⭐⭐⭐) published today! Check out the full review here or grab your own copy from Book Despoitory!

Recommended: yes!!
For more heartwarming moments, for a volume looking at some of the other characters in depth, for an interesting addition in the world we see them all in

Summary:
After 300 years, the gods that imprisoned Senzou the Fox Spirit for his arrogance finally set him free. There is only one condition — he can’t have any of his supernatural abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become one of their magical assistants. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Teen Titans Beast Boy

In contrast to throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Teen TItans: Beast Boy by Kami Garia and Gabriel Picolo.
Expected Release: September 1, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Beast Boy is a character who can’t help but be a fun one to learn about. He’s not just a werewolf or a shifter into one form, OH NO! Beast Boy can become any animal. And frankly, the changes that come with it (ex. being GREEN) are probably going to interfere with the whole being-in-high-school thing. This will be a delightful combination of a coming of age story blended with superpowers and origin story.
  • Well, I’ve been waiting on this once since I read Raven in this series, earlier this year. And, well, DAMN. It was really good! The art fit the story perfectly, and the story itself sucked me right in. Since this is the same series, I expect it will also be fantastic. Plus, I got a chapter preview at the end of Raven and was already loving it from that, so it’s a pretty safe bet!
  • These play into my nostalgia a whole lot, too, because I grew up with public TV. So I wasn’t watching Spongebob, like most of my friends. I was watching Teen Titans Go! and falling in love with these characters I had no other background on. Getting to learn more about them now, in these graphic novels, is an absolute treat.

Summary:
Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the 17-year-old with green streaks in his hair can’t find a way to stand out–and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn’t find a way to impress the Chosen Ones–the social elite at Bull Creek High School–he will never know what it’s like to matter. Gar’s best friends, Stella and Tank, don’t understand why he cares what other people think. They miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend.

Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the Chosen Ones and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops and, suddenly, he’s stronger and faster. He’s finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself–and the people who truly matter–before his life spirals out of control.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Volume 2 by Mi Tagawa

The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Volume 2 by Mi Tagawa – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Expected Publication: August 18, 2020

Recommended: yes!!
For more heartwarming moments, for a volume looking at some of the other characters in depth, for an interesting addition in the world we see them all in

Summary:
After 300 years, the gods that imprisoned Senzou the Fox Spirit for his arrogance finally set him free. There is only one condition — he can’t have any of his supernatural abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become one of their magical assistants. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!

Thoughts:
Well, the cliffhanger from Volume 1 is no longer hanging over my head, thank goodness! I was so excited to come back to this story in Volume 2. As ever, the art perfectly complements the story style, in how it’s able to carry so many different kinds of meaning effortlessly. Everything from the funny moments, to the painful moments, to the crying-because-it’s-beautiful moments: the art style is adaptable to all of them.

And yes, no worries: this volume is just as hilarious and cute as the previous, despite it’s darker tones as well. What I loved most about this one was being able to learn more about the characters besides the Senzou and Manpachi. Though we do still have stories with them, we also get to see more about some of the wolves and even about our frenemy the badger. Personally I loved this, in part because the relationship between the wolves are so delightful in their contrasting personality that it was enlightening to see how they each got that way.

We also get to see them in their human forms a bit more, which was a shocker but also a fantastic addition. Their interactions in the human world were still perfectly in character and added a twist element to the plot moving forward. I expect we’ll see a bit more of this weaving between worlds in future volumes as well.

One extra bonus at the end that I loved was the inclusion of some short one-off comics with the characters that were translated into English. Some of these comics have been posted on the author’s social media pages in Japanese, so here I finally got the English versions! And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. It’s always hard to end one of these volumes because I adore the characters so much and want to see more, so it made it a little easier to accept. 😁 Can’t wait for the next volume!

Thanks to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: I Left the House Today by Cassandra Calin!

Reminder that I Left The House Today!: Comics by Cassandra Calin by Cassandra Calin (⭐⭐⭐⭐) released today! Check out the review here or grab your own copy on Book Depository!

Recommended: yes
for people who have enjoyed her comics on social, for women who enjoy short comics that are #relatable, for anyone looking for a little smile

Summary:
Cassandra Calin’s ability to document the hilarity of relatable everyday events in a series of webcomics has generated a huge following on social media. This beautifully illustrated compendium of first-person comics about the trials of the single life, school, stress, junk food, shaving, and maintaining a healthy self-image. Cassandra Calin’s comics frequently highlight the humorous gap between expectations and reality, especially when it comes to appearance and how much she can accomplish in one day. This book is funny, lighthearted, introspective, and artistically stunning—the perfect gift for young women, recent graduates, and anyone who might need a little comedic incentive to leave the house today.

Posted in Reviews

Review: I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER

I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Brilliant art style with minimal but impactful colors and a story to keep you coming back for more.

Recommended: YEEESSSS
For a fantastic representation of how a little goes a long way, for a dark story that also makes me laugh out loud, for characters who are a lot broken but you still like them anyway

Summary:
On earth there are bad people, and then there are REALLY BAD people. If you’re one of the latter, you don’t just get sent to Hell, you get sent to Hell and get assigned a job collecting the souls of some of the worst people on Earth. Such is the career path of a young woman named Scarlet, who dies and is delivered down to the fiery underworld only to find herself in an entry level position as…The Grim Reaper!

Thoughts:
I stumbled upon this comic recently and I am so glad I did! ‘Scarlet’ is the worst kind of sinner, and delays her eternity of damnation by becoming a grim reaper. But she’s got a quota to fill — one sinner killed per day. Things get hairy quick, though, when a rogue detective happens to find her immediately after she slices up her first kill. Mutual suspicion is had.

I absolutely adore the art style. It’s almost entirely in black, gray, and red, and it’s stunning. It fits the story so well, and you might be surprised by how much drama the scheme adds to it. Plus when we get a surprise pop of brights or pastels, it’s a dramatic punch in the face that lets you know something is seriously different. Beyond that, it’s just raw and gritty and scary in that unsettling way. Multitudes of eyeballs usually are. And you know what? A story about the grim reaper and killing sinners really should be a bit unsettling.

Continue reading “Review: I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

My newfound love of Punderworld (a webtoon!)

Helloooo! Even in my reading, I’m always in search of things that make me smile and laugh. Web comics are fantastic for this, particularly because they convey so much of the artists’ personality and style for the story through every aspect of the art, not just the story itself. I found one that’s been started relatively recently that I have absolutely fallen in love with.

Enter Punderworld

HOLY CRAP AM I EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE.

Synopsis:
The focus is on Greek mythology, and primarily focuses on the lesser-known love story of Hades, God of the Underworld, and Persephone, Goddess of the Earth (in a life & growth kind of way). It’s totally consensual, and the original myth is actually pretty illuminating. Side plug to check out Mythos by Stephen Fry for their original story, as well as how Hades became God of the Underworld with a lot of bad luck.

From episode 6

The art is GORGEOUS. When you’re drawing the realm of gods, it’s pretty important that you make it look absolutely stunning. And let me tell you, sigeel (real name Linda Sejic with Katarina Devic assisting on coloring) succeeds. The skies are so so pretty. The clever framework, with spit-takes bursting the outlined boxes around the panels, are incredibly immersive, and are that extra special touch that makes it stand out.

Continue reading “My newfound love of Punderworld (a webtoon!)”
Posted in Reviews

Review: I Left The House Today! by Cassandra Calin

I Left The House Today!: Comics by Cassandra Calin by Cassandra Calin – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Expected release date: June 2, 2020

Recommended: yes
for people who have enjoyed her comics on social, for women who enjoy short comics that are #relatable, for anyone looking for a little smile

Summary:
Cassandra Calin’s ability to document the hilarity of relatable everyday events in a series of webcomics has generated a huge following on social media. This beautifully illustrated compendium of first-person comics about the trials of the single life, school, stress, junk food, shaving, and maintaining a healthy self-image. Cassandra Calin’s comics frequently highlight the humorous gap between expectations and reality, especially when it comes to appearance and how much she can accomplish in one day. This book is funny, lighthearted, introspective, and artistically stunning—the perfect gift for young women, recent graduates, and anyone who might need a little comedic incentive to leave the house today.

Thoughts:
If you follow her on Instagram or have otherwise seen her comics, then you can expect more of the same art style and humour. For those new to Cassandra Calin, YOU’RE IN FOR A FUN TIME! Mostly short 4-panel comics or expectations vs reality side by side comparisons, these are everyday issues most people run into. Her comics probably do appeal to women more since she writes about her experiences like menstruating, trying to find comfortable clothes, and attempts at hair styling. Men will probably get a laugh too, but honestly I could also see a lot of them scratching their heads or cringing in horror as they learn things they never knew about the female mind and body. 😂

For new content, there are definitely comics from her social sharings in here that I recognized. I’m not sure if any are exclusive to the book, but it was about half ones I’d seen and half ones that were new to me. The arc follows roughly a year in her life, with some seasonal and school based comics.

Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson

Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Loved it! It was so fun to get the detailed story that you play through when starting as a worgen in WoW. There are parallels through each, but details in this one that add so much to the story. And Genn is such an inspiring badass.

Recommended: yes!
If you’ve played a worgen this will be familiar but give more detail and background, for fans of the series who want gorgeous art on a dark, dramatic, and intense storyline, for a darkly illustrated story about werewolves and a city on the brink of desctruction

Summary:
The world’s most popular massively multiplayer online videogame continues its exodus into comics with this new graphic novel. The best-selling WORLD OF WARCRAFT comic series returns in time for a worldwide cataclysm! A series of grisly, animalistic murders have rocked the walled town of Gilneas. A famous detective sets out to discover the perpetrators and finds far more than he bargained for. To find the truth, he must delve through years of twisted history – both the history of his family and Gilneas itself. 

Thoughts:
My first character in World of Warcraft was a worgen, so the starting area quests for that are really stuck up in my head. Seeing those quests and moments drawn and woven into the comic was like a return to an old friend. Even without that background coming into this, the story is undeniably dramatic – how could an infestation of werewolves and undead at the gates not be? Betrayal, self-discovery, old enemies, new friends… it sounds cliche, but it’s actually fantastic.

Continue reading “Review: Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson”