Graphic Novel Review: Forget Me Not (2021)

Forget Me Not by Alix Garin

Give the sea a kiss for me.

This lovely graphic novel follows Clémence after she decides to break her grandmother out of her nursing home and take her on a road trip. Her grandmother has dementia and often forgets who Clémence is or where they’re going, but Clémence is patient and resilient and the pair are led on a wild road trip that gets them in all kinds of trouble! I really love the relationship between Clémence and her grandmother. The topics covered in this are hard, but it’s done with comedic lightness and joy, focusing on the duo and their love for each other. Really, really recommend.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

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.

Book Reviews: The Host (2008), Roommate (2021), Skyward (2018)

I read some really fantastic books this week. I think the one that’s going to be swirling around in my head for the next couple of days is The Host, though. It made me think and feel and wonder and angst. There were a few things I wish were done a bit differently or shortened, but overall I really truly adored it. Roommate by Sarina Bowen felt like a book to read at autumn time and I devoured it. Skyward by Joe Henderson was so brilliantly coloured and detailed and had such great representation. If you’re in search of a brilliant graphic novel, definitely pick up this one! I also read another children’s book that was wonderful, but I’m going to save that for a separate post.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

“Eight full lives and I never found anyone I would stay on a planet for, anyone I would follow when they left. I never found a partner. Why now? Why you?”

Wow. This book. I have a lot of feelings. I understand now why this is the book Stephenie Meyer picks as her favourite. There is so much that I loved about this story: dear Wanda, tough Melanie, kind Jeb, lil Jamie, angsty Jared and sweet, lovely Ian.

lil’ bit, Jared, it’s true
(gif set credit)

SPOILER WARNING

That said, I don’t think there’s even teams, because the book is pretty solidly Wanda/Ian, Jared/Melanie. But I think the gif is hilarious XD

Ian is a total pumpkin pie precious cinnamon roll gem, though. I mean:

“I held you in my hand, Wanderer. And you were so beautiful.”

And:

“You deserve a life, too, Wanda. You deserve to stay.”

“But I love her, Ian.”

He closed his eyes, and his pale lips went dead white. “But I love you,” he whispered. “Doesn’t that matter?”

“Of course it matters. So much. Can’t you see? That only makes it more . . . necessary.”

Gosh, I cried at multiple parts of this story and I’m well impressed by the sheer humanity Meyer packed into this alien tale. Bravo, Meyer, you got me. You got my EMOTIONS.

I’ve always thought that if a person wants to, he can get along with just about anybody. I like putting my theories to the test. And see, here you are, one of the nicest gals I ever met. It’s real interesting to have a soul as a friend, and it makes me feel super special that I’ve managed it.

JEB ♡

My interest in this book started when I stumbled upon an interesting interview where Stephenie Meyer talked about The Host and said, ‘If I never wrote another book, I think I’d probably choose The Host. It feels like my most important story in a lot of ways. But I very much hope that my best book is still ahead of me. (Let’s be honest, though. I’m going to be remembered for Twilight.)’ For anyone curious, the interview is here.

I always get curious about the book that an author picks as their favourite of all their work, and the fact that she picked it over Twilight is striking to me and has left me very curious to read it.

Also, the movie left me with FEELS. Jared and Melanie OTP:

And of course Ian and Wanda \o/ ❤❤❤❤

I love all these characters.😭😭😭

(Movie review.)

Roommate by Sarina Bowen

We’re like a constellation in the night sky—people associate the stars with one another, but those stars only look like a group. They’re really millions of light years apart.

This book has everything you could possibly want in a romance story: adorable couple + amazing, delicious descriptions of cooking and baking + great side characters + heartfelt romance.

I loved Roderick and Kieran so much! Precious pies, both of them. I wholeheartedly recommend this one!!

Skyward, Vol. 1: My Low-G Life by Joe Henderson

This was a seriously cool graphic novel and I’m so curious to see where it goes in future volumes. The artwork in this is breath-taking, and there’s really good representation, too. I love the central characters, and the premise of a world without gravity is intriguing (albeit highly disconcerting!). The ending left me with EMOTIONS, so I must read the next one asap.

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

Review Roundup

Wanted (2016) is a gripping television show set in Australia. Lola is a single mother with a job she hates and a boss who treats her like crap; Chelsea is a wealthy accountant with a stealing problem. While the pair wait at a bus stop, a car rolls up and knocks into the side. Just as they start helping the unconscious driver, another car arrives and two men jump out wearing masks. A fight ensues that leaves one of the men dead, with the other man forcing Lola and Chelsea into the boot of the car.

While the women try and convince him to let them go, the police try and figure out what happened at the bus stop and whether the women are involved as accomplices or as victims. When Chelsea manages to break away from their kidnapper and call the police, the women expect help to arrive – but the cop who shows up kills their kidnapper and then tries to kill them. Terrified, the pair flee. On the radio, they learn that they’re being blamed for the murders and decide to keep running. Very quickly, a much larger story unfolds as the women try to outsmart the men chasing them and find out why they’re being framed.

This is such a good action/mystery/drama. Lola and Chelsea are fantastically well actualised characters and as their story unfolds, they become unlikely friends. Good cop Josh, trying to unravel the crime that his boss is in on is wonderful, too. If you like shows that centre on friendship, this is definitely the one for you. Lola and Chelsea have fantastic growth and the actresses are brilliant!

I can’t wait to see how season two shapes up!

All five of these were arcs from Netgalley

Mouse Music by Suzan Overmeer is the first a few ARCs that I requested recently. This is a lovely kids book about keeping an open mind to others, told through the perspective of a mouse violinist. I adored the art style and the message was lovely. A great book for young kids!

Pitter, Patter, Goes the Rain by Ellen Delange. I absolutely loved this art style! It’s so cute! The story has a lovely rhyming structure and the pictures draw you right in! Great book for kids.

Tales of the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging is another ARC. The cover is just so lovely and I’m a big poetry fan.

I sit alone to contemplate
the workings of a muse.
Yet the pages still seem blank,
I wonder what’s the use.

This is a collection of poetry, short stories and artwork which was so well done. Seriously, the illustrations are fantastic. Definitely worth checking out for those who like fantasy collections and mixed poetry/prose/art.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley is going to be awesome, I just know it. I received a free excerpt and it looks to be a smashing début. This book opens with some great prose and a quickly engaging plot. Boulley’s writing is superb! I’m not going to rate it until I can read the whole thing, but I’m definitely excited to see how the whole book turns out! Native American folklore is something we need much more of in books and this one looks to be a fantastic read!

Big and Little by Yang Hang. Oh goodness, these raccoons are TOO PRECIOUS. What a lovely little book for kids about patience and friendship.

I have also been inhaling comic books recently! There are so many good ones online that I’ve discovered, so I’m going to share quite a few recommendations!

The Old Guard is by far one of my top superhero stories. I saw the film first (and have rewatched it OF COURSE), but I missed the characters and wanted to try out the comics. They have the same vibe and are just awesome. *waits impatiently for movie two*

Rock and Riot WAS SO FUCKING CUTE. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS ONE RIGHT NOW.

Jackson’s Diary looks like it’s going to be super cute. It’s just beginning as a webcomic, so I’m curious to see where it goes!

I was really surprised by Priya’s Shakti. I downloaded it because the artwork was very eye-catching, but it ended up having a very important message. The comic is about women’s rights and the horrors of rape culture.

Jupiter’s Circle is an LGBT centric superhero tale set in the McCarthy/Lavender Scare era when persecution was well under way. Curious to see how this unfolds, but I’m nervous it’s gonna be super depressing 😥 

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal IS AMAZING AND WONDERFUL AND EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT.

Novae is a historical fiction comic.

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!