ARC Review: Taproot by Keezy Young

Special thanks to Oni Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Taproot
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication date: 28 June 2022
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)


Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Taproot by Keezy Young”

Blog Tour Spotlight: Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard

Today I’m shining a spotlight on Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard. This is a historical fiction about a young Jackie Kennedy before she was a Kennedy. Special thanks to Algonquin Books for having me on tour!

Goodreads: Jackie & Me
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 14 June 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1951, former debutante Jacqueline Bouvier is hard at work as the Inquiring Camera Girl for a Washington newspaper. Her mission in life is “not to be a housewife,” but when she meets the charismatic congressman Jack Kennedy at a Georgetown party, her resolution begins to falter. Soon the two are flirting over secret phone calls, cocktails, and dinner dates, and as Jackie is drawn deeper into the Kennedy orbit, and as Jack himself grows increasingly elusive and absent, she begins to question what life at his side would mean. For answers, she turns to his best friend and confidant, Lem Billings, a closeted gay man who has made the Kennedy family his own, and who has been instructed by them to seal the deal with Jack’s new girl. But as he gets to know her, a deep and touching friendship emerges, leaving him with painfully divided alliances and a troubling dilemma: Is this the marriage she deserves?
 
Narrated by an older Lem as he looks back at his own role in a complicated alliance, this is a courtship story full of longing and of suspense, of what-ifs and possible wrong turns. It is a surprising look at Jackie before she was that Jackie. And in best-selling author Louis Bayard’s witty and deeply empathetic telling, Jackie & Me is a page-turning story of friendship, love, sacrifice, and betrayal— and a fresh take on two iconic American figures.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Spotlight: Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard”

Blog Tour Spotlight: Slip by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya

Today I’m shining a spotlight on Slip by Marika McCoola and illustrated by Aatmaja Pandya, as part of the blog tour hosted by Algonquin. This is a YA coming-of-age graphic novel that deals with topics such as suicide, self-harm, and mental health.

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Slip
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 07 June 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Magical Realism

Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?

But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all—if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?

Continue reading “Blog Tour Spotlight: Slip by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya”

Blog Tour Review: This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today.

Special thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: This Rebel Heart
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 05 April 2022
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A tale set amid the 1956 Hungarian revolution in post-WWII Communist Budapest.

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke”

Blog Tour Review: A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

Hello, friends! Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin, one of my most anticipated releases this year! I’m excited to share my (slightly rambling) review and a journal spread with you and I hope you enjoy this post! 🍵

Special thanks to Judy I. Lin and Feiwel and Friends for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea #1)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: 29 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Judy I. Lin’s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”

For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.

When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.

But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin”

Blog Tour Review: Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden

Hello, friends! Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden and I’m excited to share my review and a journal spread I made with some thoughts I had and some images that came to mind while I was reading! 🩰

Special thanks to Page Street Kids for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Anything But Fine
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication Date: 29 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

All it takes is one missed step for your life to change forever.

Luca Mason knows exactly who he is and what he wants: In six months, he’s going to be accepted into the Australian Ballet School, leave his fancy private high school, and live his life as a star of the stage—at least that’s the plan until he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his foot in a way he can never recover from.

With his dancing dreams dead on their feet, Luca loses his performing arts scholarship and transfers to the local public school, leaving behind all his ballet friends and his whole future on stage.

The only bright side is that he strikes up unlikely friendships with the nicest (and nerdiest) girl at his new school, Amina, and the gorgeous, popular, and (reportedly) straight school captain, Jordan Tanaka-Jones.

As Luca’s bond with Jordan grows stronger, he starts to wonder: who is he without ballet? And is he setting himself up for another heartbreak?

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden”

Blog Tour Review: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir.
Special thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Anne of West Philly: A Modern Retelling of Anne of Green Gables
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 01 March 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.

When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir”

ARC Review: Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine (Illustration)

Special thanks to Oni Press for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Chef’s Kiss
Publisher: Oni Press
Published: 12 April 2022
Genre: Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Watch things start to really heat up in the kitchen in this sweet, queer, new adult graphic novel! 

Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right? 

When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear. 

TL;DR: This was an absolute treat to read and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a wonderfully illustrated graphic novel about new beginnings and finding your way in the world, with wonderful characters and great friendships that are sure to make you smile!

Continue reading “ARC Review: Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine (Illustration)”

Blog Tour Review: Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti.
Special thanks to Random House Graphic for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Click here or on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Across a Field of Starlight
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Publication Date: 08 February 2022
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi, Graphic Novel

Panda Rating:

(3.5 pandas)

An epic sci-fi graphic novel romance between two non-binary characters as they find one another through time, distance, and war. An amazing story that explores the complexity of human nature and what brings us together.

When they were kids, Fassen’s fighter spaceship crash-landed on a planet that Lu’s survey force was exploring. It was a forbidden meeting between a kid from a war-focused resistance movement and a kid whose community and planet are dedicated to peace and secrecy.

Lu and Fassen are from different worlds and separate solar systems. But their friendship keeps them in each other’s orbit as they grow up. They stay in contact in secret as their communities are increasingly threatened by the omnipresent, ever-expanding empire.

As the empire begins a new attack against Fassen’s people–and discovers Lu’s in the process–the two of them have the chance to reunite at last. They finally are able to be together…but at what cost?

This beautifully illustrated graphic novel is an epic science fiction romance between two non-binary characters as they find one another through time, distance, and war.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti”

ARC Review: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart by BeKa, Maya

Special thanks to Europe Comics for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart
Publisher: Europe Comics
Published: 17 November 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle-Grade Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Linon and Garance are best friends with very different ideas about love. To get to the bottom of what all this romance stuff is really about, they decide to conduct an investigation into some of the older students at their middle school. Why are certain kids more popular than others? Why do some already have a “bad reputation” by the 8th grade? Why is everyone so obsessed with appearances? Along the way, the pair discover that, for best friends who are supposed to share everything, they’ve both been keeping some pretty big secrets of their own. 

TL;DR: A cute coming-of-age graphic novel about two friends who just want to know a bit more about love. The friendship between Linon and Garance was so sweet and I loved their little investigative adventures to understand their classmates’ experiences with love and to understand what exactly love means to others. With a fun and contemporary art style and a sweet storyline, I would recommend this to readers of all ages but I know middle-grade me would’ve absolutely loved this!

Continue reading “ARC Review: School of Love 1. Secrets of the Heart by BeKa, Maya”