Mini Review Roundup

*mostly comic books, one audiobook

True Blood: Tainted Love #1 by Marc Andreyko and Michael McMillian [comic]

Really liked this one! The whole gang wanting a prom at Sam’s and being silly ♡

True Blood (2010) #1 by Alan Ball, Mariah Huehne and David Tischman [comic]

These comics are actually so enjoyable! I want to check out the full length volume soon for sure.

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, Volume 1: The Man on the Wall by Aleš Kot [comic]

I am absolutely in awe of the art in this one. S T U N N I N G. And I demand a Bucky and Daisy buddy show.

The Pack (The Pack, #0) by Mike Raicht [comic]

I found this prelude an interesting start and I’m curious to see where it goes. Much more gore-horror than I expected, though.

Ray Harryhausen Presents Flying Saucers vs. The Earth #0 by Ryan Burton [comic]

Liked the art, but was a little confused by the storyline.

The Final Girls #1 by Cara Ellison [comic]

I totally mixed this series up with The Final Girls, which is totally *totally* different. I ended up really enjoying it, though! It’s a solid start, I’m curious to see where the storyline goes!

The Final Girls #2 by Cara Ellison [comic]

I love everything about this cover, I must say.

The Final Girls #3 by Cara Ellison [comic]

I love that this is set in Scotland! And the artwork is great. Enjoying the characters, too!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, narrated by Jodie Comer [audiobook]

This was a great audiobook, and it’s so nice diving back into Wonderland! Definitely recommend.

Review Roundup

Masquerade Season by ‘Pemi Aguda [short story]

This one really made me think and it hit me harder than I anticipated. Actually, Masquerade Season reminded me of The Giving Tree, honestly. One of those stories where the message makes you ache and it leaves you deeply melancholy.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt [fiction]

I got a chapter sampler version, so I’m only reviewing the couple of chapters I read, but I really, really like the prose in this one. There’s a very distinct voice, which is so nice to find. The set up is very intriguing, and I’m really curious to see how it’s going to wrap up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC-excerpt. Excited to read the full book!

Dust Bowl Venus by Stella Beratlis [poetry collection]

Woe be unto us: We thought dancing did not matter.

I really do have, like, a thing for poetry. I truly do. Poems are so fly, and these ones are awesome.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine [children’s books]

This is such an informative and awesome kid’s book! It’s interactive, which is great for teaching kids and getting them engaged with the material, and there are so many different birds that are described herein. It also delves briefly into how evolution and Darwinism work. A lovely, colourful book for young readers!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker [graphic novel/comic books]

I’m gonna admit, I picked this up because of the show. It’s awesome to finally have the focus on Bucky’s character, who I’ve always found interesting. This comic was quite compelling and I really liked the artwork. I was a bit confused? I feel like there was backstory I didn’t have, but maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the show/films universe. Like, I wasn’t expecting Bucky and Natasha to be so close! I liked them together, I was just a bit thrown. That said, I liked it overall. Definitely going to read a few more Winter Soldier tales. 

Mika and the Dragonfly by Ellen Delange [children’s books]

Do you need a spoiler warning for a kid’s book? It’s only 17 pages, so I have no idea! But, uh, spoilers? Haha. The artwork in this is absolutely lovely, and there’s a good message about being kind to insects and making friends. I’m a little unsure about the method of resolution, though: the dragonfly’s wing fell off and the kid ends up gluing it back on.

Adults don’t take kid’s books literally, of course, but I’d just be sure to tell the kid you’re reading this to not to attempt gluing a dragonfly’s wing back on. I really worry about the dragonflies, okay?! That’s my only nitpick, though. Overall it’s a very sweet little book and definitely worth picking up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Graphic Novel Review: Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms (2021)

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, illustrated by Val Wise

Synopsis: Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

Awww, this is such a cute graphic novel about two cheerleaders falling in love! Adorable. The artwork was bright and cheerful and the representation was wonderfully done, I must say. Definitely worth a go for anyone looking for a cheerful tale of love and pompoms! ❤

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Graphic Novel Review: White All Around (2021)

White All Around by Wilfrid Lupano & Stéphane Fert

Even in the land of the free, not all of America’s children are welcome.

Well. WELL. This is a gut wrenching graphic novel about historical racism. It’s a familiar enough story to those who know American history – white men at odds with Black women educating themselves – but the story of the Prudence Crandall School is new to me: a young white woman goes against the town of Canterbury to open a school for only Black girls in the 1800s. The white residents of the village oppose her actions and treat both Ms Crandall and the children terribly, but the ladies are determined to learn and defy the ridiculous restrictions placed upon them.

The artwork is simply stunning and vibrant and filled with warmth and colour. The women and girls that are the central focus of the story are wonderfully done. In addition to the lone lady teacher, and the girls aching to learn, you also encounter a woman living in the woods who has no love for the villagers, and a young boy who travels around regaling locals with tales of Nat Turner, a real life Black enslaved preacher who led a rebellion in 1831.

This is definitely well worth a read for everyone, although I’m sure it’ll leave you just as furious and frustrated as it left me. Equality is for everyone, and we need more girls and women like the ones herein. I really appreciate this novel for highlighting this true, heart-breaking story of injustice, racism, determination and feminism.

➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review / review cross-posted to goodreads

Buffy, Willow and Comics Galore!

Oh my gosh, the new Buffyverse comics by BOOM! Studies are simply wonderful. The Willow comics take place after Hellmouth, which happens partway through the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. So I suggest starting with Buffy, Volume 1 and then going to the Willow comics when the timelines diverge. Basically, the comics reboot the original show in the modern day, with all the characters’ appearances based on the actors themselves i.e. Buffy looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar, etc. The whole thing feels like an AU (but in a great way!).

The Willow comics are such a fabulous side adventure to the new Buffy. And isn’t the artwork so lush? I’m obsessed with these covers, my word. In this storyline, Willow’s a witch from the start, not after spending ages researching alongside Giles like in the show and she’s taking a break from Sunnydale after events in the Buffy reboot. It’s only five issues long so far – not sure if it’s getting more? – so it’s a fun little fest that’s a great way to spend a couple hours. And, again, the artwork. (✿◠‿◠)

SPOILER WARNING! The Buffy reboot starts with Buffy, Willow and Xander in very different places than they started in the show. Willow has a girlfriend from the start, Xander is much less of a ‘nice guy’ and more nuanced (thank goodness), Joyce has a boyfriend who treats Buffy well, Giles and Jenny are already dating, Robin Wood is in school with the rest of the cast and has a side story with Kendra, and Spike and Drusilla arrive in season one. I haven’t reached Angel’s appearance yet in the comics, but I’m sure he’s coming as there’s also an Angel reboot comic.

In addition to all the Buffyverse comics, I also tried out Artifice and Vision #1. I also read and reviewed two great kids books: We Are All Under One Wide Sky and Theo’s Princess. All very good!

And now on to the Angel comics … (^o^)

Comic Book Review: Always Raining Here (2012)

Heartstopper was my wonderful introduction to online webtoons and kickstarted my recent fervour for comic books and graphic novels, and today the webcomics have led me to Hazel + Bell’s Always Raining Here. IT IS SO PRECIOUS AND WONDERFUL AND ADORABLE. This comic is definitely on the same wavelength as Heartstopper, but I loved it that little bit more, I reckon. Adrian and Carter are great characters and it’s the type of story that would make for a superb coming of age movie or tv series.

The whole story is posted online, but there’s a page where you can buy the paperback versions of the books and other stuff as well. EVERYONE IN THEIR SITE IS SO CUTE. The creators have also started a new comic series, Electric Bones, which is beautifully drawn.

January Reading Roundup

Following on from my post about comic books here at the start of the month, I read a lot more throughout the month, so do forgive the absolute overload of comics in this post! 😉 I’m absolutely loving the variety of genres that I’ve been trying lately and the artwork is always so different, which is enchanting. It’s hard to tell what my favourite art style is yet, but I definitely have some styles that I’m loving.

40 Seconds is really cool. Reminds me a bit of Stargate, and I’m curious to see how the storyline wraps up. Field Tripping is like crazy Magic School Bus, only it gets darker, fast. Goliath Girls reminds me of Pacific Rim, only with an Adventure Time-esque twist. My Boyfriend is a Monster is an anthology series, each following a different romance that centres on the paranormal. I read the first two; one follows a couple in the zombie apocalypse, the other follows a girl who finds out her boyfriend is reanimated.

Let all the Children Boogie is a new short story from Tor. I really enjoyed it! Tor has such a plethora of short stories to choose from and they always make a great break from long, winding sci-fi.

In the Flood was super trippy. Is trippy a genre? If so, this is definitely that genre. Perhaps more accurately it’s surrealism, but trippy works too. This graphic novel was visually gorgeous, but I admit I felt a bit confused by the storyline and I’m still not wholly sure I get how it played out. I think it would’ve helped if I’d read the synopsis beforehand. Oop. Definitely worth a read, though! (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

The Weirdies was bloody fantastic. When the main location in the book is Our Lady of the Perpetual Side-eye, you know the book is going to be good. AND WHAT A GREAT READ À LA A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. A bit like The Gashlycrumb Tinies and Addams Family, too. Kate Winslet’s narration just made it *chef’s kiss* Barnacle, Garlic and Melancholy are just delightful. And Ms Emily is the best! The descriptions and one-liners had me giggling and shaking my head the whole time. Some of them were incredibly profound, too:

‘Being very strange kept people away.
And if people stayed away, you could never disappoint them.’

This is dark, funny, a bit gothic, wicked and just wonderful. ‘I want you to be weird! As gloriously, outrageously weird as you can be! I like it – no, I love it!’  (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) was wonderful. It’s hard for me to really express how much I sank into this tale and how much I wish the ending was different!

If the book is good enough, you feel like everything is true.

I honestly, truly enjoyed this. It’s a very good twist on kid goes off to fantasy world. This story focuses on the family he leaves behind, the brother who wants to know the truth of where he went. My heart broke for Aidan throughout this story and I do wish it had a slightly different ending, but overall I thought the take was interesting and Aidan and Lucas had a great brotherhood. It kind of reminds me of Last Bus to Everland.

➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket IS SO CUTE! A little girl builds a ship to Mars, aiming to be the first one there. It’s told in rhymes and it reads like a song almost, which I adored. This is such a great book for kids!! There are facts on female scientists and Mars at the end, too. (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Fearscrape was so unexpected! I loved the sarcastic, quippy, fourth-wall breaking narrative of this comic. Seriously, I was not expecting it to be so amusing, haha. So many good one liners! This first comic follows Henry Henry, a translator/writer after he steals a manuscript from another author. He’s subsequently mistaken for the author by a being who appears before him, the Muse. Henry Henry’s consequently brought into the ‘Fearscape’, a place where writers selected by the Muse battle fears in order to make them less frightening. That’s, like, such a cool idea? Very intrigued to see where it’ll go! (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Apparently this was originally written in French as Mécanique Céleste, which I didn’t know until I finished it. Very cool! I love reading translated work.

‘The envoys are supposed to represent the planets … but that girl’s a star.’

I didn’t realise this was a sport-themed graphic novel, oops. Not a genre I’d normally pick up, but I enjoyed this one! The art is really cool and the colour are very … calming, almost? The colour scheme reminded me of Peanuts, although the genres aren’t in the same realm at all. It was very retro! The plot is fairly straight forward: the fate of everyone’s future lies with who wins the match. So, in essence it’s a very relaxed, sporty version of The Hunger Games.

Worth a read, especially for those who like dystopian, sports or graphic novels!

➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Review Round Up

New year, new reads, new shows.

I started off the new year by reading a few comic books and finishing Sylvester by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Richard Armitage. I’ve been having a hard time focusing on longer reads at the minute, simply because I have so much to do, so short reads and audibooks are very helpful right now.

I really enjoyed Oddly Normal, which has adorable illustrations and a fairly sad storyline; Die!Die!Die! was intriguing. It’s by the same author as The Walking Dead and has gruesome opener, but looks to be really interesting. I’m curious to see where it goes! Has anyone read any of these?

I also started two new TV series: Young Wallander and The Alienist. I adored them both and cannot recommend The Alienist enough. Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans and Daniel Brühl make a fantastic trio! The mystery is intense and fairly un-guessable, which is something I’ve been waiting for. The costumes are gorgeous as well. Everything about the show is well done, honestly. If you enjoy dark mysteries, this one is enthralling.

Young Wallander is based a Swedish book series and was brilliantly done. I love the whole cast and thought it ended well. It has a second series coming, I believe, so the few things that weren’t wrapped up I’m assuming will be addressed in the coming season.

Comic Books: Mini Reviews

I never got into comic books and graphic novels when I was younger, but recently I’ve been getting into them. I had read a few: Fence, Heartstopper and Pumpkinheads, but I haven’t dived head first, as it were, until recently. And now I can’t stop!

I started out with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina because they popped up for free and I figured I’d give them a try. I’ve seen a couple episodes of the show but haven’t finished it yet. The comics are insanely dark. Like, whoa. I was not expecting how dark they were going to end up. (I’m still like w h a t). Sabrina Spellman is half girl, half witch, growing up with her aunts, but everything changes when she’s supposed to reject her human side – what follows is a series of insanely gruesome events that culminate on quite the cliffhanger. It’s now put me in the mood to finish the show, but they’re also, like, supremely different.

I followed The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina with Afterlife with Archie, which are basically ‘what would happen in Riverdale if Archie and the gang had to deal with zombies and werewolves’. I do vaguely recall old Archie comics scattered around the place when I was growing up, but I don’t really remember much about them except the art style. This set is more à la Chilling Adventures, and are quite short and horror-filled. I’ve since started Riverdale, the companion comics to the show. They’re pretty enjoyable, too!

The Swords of Glass was a pleasant surprise! It’s set in a world where the sun is about to die and a glass sword falls from the skies and lands in stone (sort of like Excalibur, but on another world). There are a few parts to it and I’m curious to see how the story wraps up. The artwork is also fantastic. Probably my favourite so far was Liebestrasse, which absolutely shattered my soul. I’M STILL NOT OVER THIS ONE. It follows two men who fall in love in Germany on the eve of World War II. I’ll just leave it at that ;_;

If anyone has any recommendations for comic books/graphic novels, do let me know!

Show Review: Titans (2018)

I don’t know why I put off watching Titans, but I’m so glad I finally started it! I think I was overloaded with Marvel, so DC got kind of pushed aside as a result. This one makes me want to dive straight back in, though! The show picks up after Robin, real name Dick Grayson, has left Batman’s side and gone off on his own. Now working for the police, he’s put Robin behind him and doesn’t talk to Bruce anymore. But when a girl named Rachel Roth crosses his path, he’s dragged back into the superhero world.

Rachel is a teenager with a dark secret – something lives inside of her. She think she’s evil as it takes over her, turns her eyes black and she often loses control. But the darkness also warns her of approaching dangers. She’s been dreaming of Dick and his parents for a while and recognises him when they cross paths at the police station. When someone masquerading as a cop kidnaps her, Dick goes after her. At the same time, a woman, Kory, who can’t remember who she is or where she came from, is also trying to find Rachel. Kory can channel solar fire, I think. It’s impressive to watch but I’m not at the reveal yet, so I’m not 100% sure.

The villains hunting Rachel are soooooooo creepy. They’re like evil Stepford Family. They call each other Mom, Dad, Biff and Sis. And they kill with smiles on their faces whilst thanking each other. It’s seriously chilling. They’re all part of a group hunting Rachel and their indoctrination programme is disturbing as frak.

My favourite part of the series is definitely Dick Grayson, although it’s a tough choice because everyone is so well cast. I’ve never really seen Robin be the focus in anything and he’s amazing in this. There’s a scene in season one where the whole group has super powers except Dick, and it’s him who has to take down all the bad guys single-handedly and it’s seriously awesome. He puts Batman in the dust with that scene. Kory is another highlight. Anna Diop is such a magnetic actress and she’s so captivating in every scene. I also adore Conor Leslie. She’s an amazing Wonder Girl. (I also didn’t know Wonder Girl was a thing?)

The family vibes of the central group are lovely, too, and Dick acting like Rachel’s big brother is adorable. I’m curious to see where this show goes and how the characters develop. I’m not even on season two yet, but I’m stoked that it’s been renewed for a third season.  ❤︎

Seriously, watch this one.