eARC Graphic Novel Review: Fangs by Sarah Andersen

Goodreads: Fangs
Publish date: 01 September 2020
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Graphic Novel
Panda Rating:

A love story between a vampire and a werewolf by the creator of the enormously popular Sarah’s Scribbles comics.

Vamp is three hundred years old but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets a charming werewolf. FANGS chronicles the humor, sweetness, and awkwardness of meeting someone perfectly suited to you but also vastly different

I’m a big fan of the many Sarah’s Scribbles comics that I’ve seen online although I’ve never actually read through or purchased one of her books, and after reading Fangs I’m really questioning why! This was such a cute/weird/sweet love story between a vampire and a werewolf that had me laughing out loud and ‘awwing’ constantly. Talk about them feel good feels!

Continue reading “eARC Graphic Novel Review: Fangs by Sarah Andersen”

eARC Graphic Novel Review: Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo, Lilian Klepakowsky

Goodreads: Eat, and Love Yourself
Publish date: 21 April 2020
Publisher: BOOM!Studios
Genre: Graphic Novel
Panda Rating:

A story about Mindy, a woman living with an eating disorder who has to learn how to love herself again.

In pursuit of the perfect body, Mindy buys the low-fat diet products and the glossy magazines which promise the secret to losing weight. One night, while perusing the aisles of the neighborhood convenience store for a midnight snack, she finds a new product. A chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself”. On a whim, Mindy buys the curious candy, not knowing that with every piece of chocolate she eats, she will be brought back to a specific moment of her past — helping her to look at herself honestly, learn to love her body the way it is, and accepting love. Perhaps, she will even realize that her long lost high school best friend, Elliot, was more than just a friend…

Trigger warnings: Eating disorders, body dysmorphia, body shaming, binge-eating, purging

I got extremely excited when I saw this cover and read the synopsis. The comic covers an extremely important topic that is such a personal issue for so many people who have struggled with their weight, and loving and accepting themselves. So I’m pretty sad to say that the story gave me pretty mixed feelings and that ending was especially disappointing because it was so abrupt. I checked to see if this was a series but I couldn’t find any information on it. I’m kind of hoping that Mindy’s journey will continue but I have a feeling it won’t?

Continue reading “eARC Graphic Novel Review: Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo, Lilian Klepakowsky”

Goodreads Monday – 18 November

We’re back with another Goodreads Monday, a weekly meme started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.

This week’s book is I Kills Giants by Joe Kelly, Ken Niimura. Well, this is a little different from my previous Goodreads Monday picks! I honestly don’t remember adding this graphic novel to my TBR but it could’ve been during one of my biggest graphic novel binge phases! On Goodreads this has an average rating of 4.14 stars with 14,154 ratings and 1,467 reviews.

Barbara Thorson is your new hero: A quick-witted, sharp-tongued fifth grader who isn’t afraid of anything. Why would she be..? After all, she’s the only girl in school who carries a Norse war hammer in her purse and kills giants for a living… At least, that’s what she’ll tell you – but where does the fantasy end and reality begin in the heart of this troubled girl? And what if she’s telling the truth?

Brought to life with unexpected tenderness by JOE KELLY (Supergirl, Action Comics, Deadpool) and breakout talent J. M. KEN NIIMURA, I KILL GIANTS is the bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her carefully constructed world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle.

Why do I want to read it?

Ever since I discovered Saga–the greatest graphic novel of all time, don’t at me–towards the end of last year, I’ve been desperately scouring the graphic novels out there to find one that’ll hook me in and make me feel the feels like Saga did. I’ve read a few pretty great ones but none that I love as much as Saga itself! That said, this one does sound really interesting; especially the main character! I’m looking forward to reading it 🙂

Have you read I Kill Giants or is it on your TBR too?

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)

Goodreads: Pumpkinheads
Genre: Graphic Novels, Young Adult, Romance
Rating:

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.
Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.
But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.
Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years… What if their last shift was an adventure?

PUMPKINHEADS WAS JUST SOOO CUTE. If you’re excited for fall, you’ll love this book! I just want more of Deja & Josie. I loved their friendship and their chemistry–they were so sweet! I also need to go to this pumpkin patch ASAP. I’ve never wanted four seasons more than after this!

I did not want Pumpkinheads to end. Ever since stumbling across the title earlier this year, I knew that I’d need to get my hands on it ASAP! So when I walked into the bookstore on Friday evening, I was shocked but super happy to see it on the shelves. I didn’t expect it to be available here already, especially since it wasn’t that long ago since it was released. You can bet your ass that I scooped it up without a second thought!

The Artwork

I adored the artwork in Pumpkinheads and it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of Faith’s work. The colors were so vibrant and perfectly suited to the fall vibes of the story. The art style is exactly the kind that I love to find in graphic novels and I felt that the illustrations really brought the whole pumpkin patch to life. I felt as if I could taste the food (omg it just looked so good!), feel the fire and smell the changing weather in the air. I also loved how Faith illustrated the expressions of the characters in the story! Josie’s expressions always had me cracking up and the longing and sadness in Deja’s face really felt like a punch to the gut sometimes. It was honestly all so perfectly done. Since finishing the book, I’ve been flipping through it again and again just to look at the art.

The Storyline

Deja and Josiah have been best friends ever since they met at the pumpkin patch three years ago. They’re opposites in so many ways, but they complement each other well. Deja is beautiful and outgoing. She talks to and knows everyone and is loved by pretty much all. She’s also dated a few of the guys and girls while she’s worked there. On the other hand, Josie is a bit of a shy nerd and has had a huge crush on ‘The Fudge’ girl for the last three years, despite never speaking to her in all that time. But that changes tonight because Deja has made it her mission to make sure they both enjoy their last night to the full and to have a ‘last adventure’ at the pumpkin patch that they’ll never forget!

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know what I DIDN’T love about this story! Pumpkinheads is the perfect read to transition into the autumn season! It is fall all over and I want to immerse myself in it repeatedly. Deja & Josie were great characters and their experience dealing with the big changes coming their way was very relatable and so very real. They were both loveable characters and it was nostalgic to watch them reminisce about their days working at the patch, and about their worries for the things to come now that high school is over. It’s something that we’ve all been through and it made me think about myself all those (very many) years ago! While there were plenty of serious and heartfelt conversations, there was also a lot of fun and adventure as their mission took them all over the park, with its fun games and very delicious foods. While the story might not have been something completely new or life changing, I loved it for its simplicity, and that it was still able to evoke a range of emotions from me. It’s about dealing with change and taking hold of those simple moments and living for it. It was sweet, nostalgic and relatable. It was a heartwarming story and the ending is the kind that leaves me with good, happy feels all around!

Have you read Pumpkinheads? What’d you think?
Let me know in the comments below and let’s chat!

Elma: A Bear’s Life: The Great Journey (Vol 1) by Ingrid Chabbert – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: Elma: A Bear’s Life: The Great Journey (Vol. 1)
Publish date: 17 July 2019
Publisher: Europe Comics
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Comic, Graphic Novel
Rating:

Elma is a joyful, free-spirited child who is being raised by her father. But Papa Bear is hiding a secret, and the close-knit duo must make a long and perilous journey to begin a mysterious new life beyond the forest. Adventure and danger are in store as they discover the secrets of Elma’s past and future.

Um, OKAY. How dare this graphic novel end on such a cliffhanger!? Nooo… I want to know what happens to Elma and Papa Bear! Do they make it?! Where are they going? Is he bringing her back home? Why is the fores seemingly conspiring to take Elma away from Papa Bear? SO MANY QUESTIONS! I kind of feel a little bit like Elma right now because the curiosity and need for answers is strong!

I adored this graphic novel. First of all, that cover is a wonderful representation of the stunning art work that you’ll find inside the pages. The colours are autumnal, so they’re warm and very comforting. I could seriously just look at the pages all day because the work is beautiful, and I enjoyed that there was limited dialogue so it didn’t detract from the art. This is targeted at children, however, at one point Elma does lose all her clothes and her full body (including genitalia) can be seen. It’s one scene and then she’s covered up again in the next. I don’t think it was done distastefully, but I just thought I’d leave a warning anyway.

I found the start of the storyline just as enjoyable as the art. It obviously has “Jungle Book” vibes (of course, abandoned child in forest raised by an animal that’s meant to be a predator) and although I admittedly am not the biggest fan of that story (don’t hate me), I really enjoyed this one! I’m a little sad this was only the first volume/chapter, as reading the blurb led me to think it might be the full story. Still, I’m glad I stumbled across it because so far it’s a sweet story, although it does raise many questions I hope will be answered in the next volume!

The relationship between Elma and Papa Bear was very sweet, and you can feel through their dialogue, interactions and the art that they really care for and love each other like father/daughter. Elma is full of life and so much sass and Papa Bear is this big calming force looking out for her. I love a story where animals can talk and this was definitely no exception! I thought their story really fit with the art work because it effused the same warmth the colours in the art work gave me. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on more of this graphic novel and I would 100% add this to my physical shelf because it’s beautiful book and the story is shaping up to be too!

Thanks to NetGalley and Europe Comics for providing the e-ARC for an honest review. This book is out now! Have you read Elma: A Bear’s Life? What’d you think? Let me know in the comments below and let’s chat!

Sparrowhawk #1 by Delilah S. Dawson – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: Sparrowhawk #1
Publish date: 20 August 2019
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Comic
Rating:

Teen Victorian fairy fight club! As the illegitimate daughter of a Naval Captain, Artemesia has never fit in with her father’s family, nor the high class world to which they belong. However, when she is targeted by the Faerie Queen and pulled into another realm, she has no choice but to try and save the world that has always hated her. Writer Delilah S. Dawson (Hellboy: An Assortment of Horror, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny) and artist Matias Basla (The Claw and Fang) present a beautiful, gripping tale perfect for fans of Labyrinth and Princeless. 

Sparrowhawk is a fast paced, well drawn comic. The artwork is full of bold colors although the style itself is not one that I’m usually drawn to or prefer. That said, I thought it suited the strangeness of this story. I liked the artwork on the chapter/title pages more than I did the artwork throughout the comic, but I loved the contrast of the colorful against the brutal, gruesome and dark faerie world story. The plot itself reminded me of elements of Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland, which the author also mentioned as her inspiration in the afterword.

I found the story interesting. Artemesia is the daughter of a colonizer and a slave woman who grew up in a family that was cruel and didn’t want her. After being forced into a situation she doesn’t want to be in, Art finds herself being pulled into the faerie realm, having been replaced by the Faerie Queen in her world. In faerie, Art meets a demonic bunny (reminiscent of the cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland) who makes a pact to help her get back home, in exchange for one of Art’s memories. Art must go through faerie slaying monstrosities in order to get back home, and along the way she encounters both the good and evil creatures of faerie, including the gentle faerie prince, whom she falls in love with. How far will she go to get back home?

Art was a strong willed character who was fiercely determined to go home. Her transformation from a thoughtful human, to a monster who enjoys killing as much as any unseelie, was disturbing. It begs the question: how far would you go to do what you think is right, even if it turns you into someone who you don’t like. The side characters were all very interesting as well and although he was an evil, twisted thing I really enjoyed the demonic bunny’s character.

I liked the sinister vibes of the ending and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next and how Art will deal with the repercussions of her actions.

Thanks to NetGalley and BOOM! Studios for providing the e-ARC for an honest review.
Have you read Sparrowhawk? Loved it? Hated it? Meh about it? Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges and Lev Grossman – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: The Magicians: Alice’s Story
Publish date: 16 July 2019
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Rating:

Alice Quinn is manifestly brilliant, and she’s always known that magic is real. During her years at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, she rises to the top of her class, falls in love with Quentin Coldwater, and witnesses a horrifically magical creature invade their dimension. It’s not soon after graduation when Alice, Quentin, and their friends set their sights on the idyllic setting of Fillory: a place thought to only live in the pages of their favorite children’s books. A land where magic flows like rivers . . . But in this magical realm nothing is what it seems to be, and something darker lies behind the spellbinding facade. It is in the darkness where Alice will discover her true calling and her life, and those friends, forever changed. 

Having read the first book in The Magicians series, I was able to follow along with the story pretty well. It’s very much to the book, which I appreciated. I thought the artwork was well done, a little dark coloring, with darker and imperfect lines to fit the tone of the story. One of the things I liked most was that the characters in the graphic novel were true to the descriptions in the book (unlike in the TV show). I liked them better this way.

I always found myself having a love/hate relationship with Alice so I thought it’d be interesting to learn more about her and to experience things through her eyes. That said I wish that the story covered more than just following along with exactly what happened in the novel. I thought this would cover more of her at home life, her odd relationship with her parents (which was really a sticking point for her in the book) and how the loss of her brother affected her. That loss really turned her life upside down and I wish that more of the effect it had on her was explored. I also felt the ending was a little rushed. While the graphic novel does stay true to the original book, I thought it really lagged at times. It honestly gave me the same feeling I had when reading the original novel, which I admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of because it felt a bit dull. I thought reading it in graphic novel form would make it better, and it was but only slightly.

I’m glad that I read this though. I am curious to know what happened to Alice after the ending. She does make a reappearance in the TV series but I’m not sure about the book (because I stopped reading it). That said, it would be interesting to know if there’s anything sentient left. This was not a quick graphic novel read, but it was still enjoyable.

Thanks to NetGalley for sending me the e-ARC for an honest review.
Have you read Alice’s story? Loved it? Hated it? Meh about it? Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Double Vie (Rose #1) by Denis Lapière and Émilie Alibert – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: Double Vie (Rose #1)
Publish date: 19 June 2019
Publisher: Europe Comics
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Comic
Rating:

Ever since she was a little girl, Rose has had a special and troubling power: the ability to “double” herself and travel outside her body. She always saw it as something wrong with her… until now. When her father is murdered, Rose’s strange ability gives her a chance to find her father’s killer, solve a series of mysterious cold cases, and untangle a centuries-old curse. But maybe some secrets should stay buried…

I want more! What an interesting and peculiar story! It has ghosts, witches, demons, and it’s all wrapped up in the big mystery of her father’s murder and her father’s house.

And okay, honestly? I wasn’t thinking about inconsistencies or things that didn’t sit right in the story when I was reading this one; I was just enjoying the story that was playing out in front of me. In this first issue/volume, we learn about Rose and her ability to leave her body at any time. It seems a little bit like her soul was leaving her body. We see her leaving her body quite a few times throughout the story but I wished that we learned more about why it happened and how she manages to leave her body (especially when it happened the first time when she was a child). There was some narration at the start (which I assume is her father) that explained it a little, but I wanted to know more. I want to say more but I also don’t want to give anything away!

Although it was a bit of a slow start, I liked how the process of Rose’s thinking and discoveries unfolded. It wasn’t rushed and not totally implausible. Looking at ‘inconsistencies’ I guess it was odd that the house, its history, and the history of that history was recorded in the archives. Was the detailed history of the house, including the ancient witches curse, in the regional archives because the house had burned down so many times? It seems a lot of people are keeping secrets in this mystery and I’m very curious to know more!

I thought the artwork was well done. This is going to sound weird and I don’t know how to explain it but there was something very European about it. Perhaps it was the setting and the way the characters acted and dressed. It’s not my typical favorite style, but I found I really liked it. It’s a bit dark, and always a little gloomy, but I thought the style suited the story. The story might not be completely original and it isn’t one that you won’t be able to get out of your head, but it was an enjoyable fast mysterious read. I’m looking forward to finding out more.

Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC for an honest review. This graphic novel was published on 19 June 2019. Have you read about Rose? Loved it? Hated it? Meh about it? Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2) by Katie O’Neill – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2)
Publish date: 17 September 2019
Publisher: Oni Press
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Comic
Rating:

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

The Tea Dragon Festival is another beautiful graphic novel by Katie O’Neill. The style and use of color in the artwork is gorgeous and really brings to life this wonderful world of dragons, tea dragons, magical forest creatures and village life. The story takes places before The Tea Dragon Society, and I really enjoyed meeting the younger versions of Hesekiel and Erik, two loveable characters from that book.

In this comic, we follow the story of Rinn, a young village girl who’s an aspiring cook and talented forager, who stumbles upon Aedhan, a young dragon who has been asleep for 80-years. Aedhan is plagued by guilt for having not done his duty of taking care of the village residents, but he was put under a sleeping spell by a magical forest creature. Rinn brings Aedhan to the village and the two quickly form a strong, sweet bond as Aedhan picks up his dragon duties and reintegrates to village life. I loved how this story was even more diverse and inclusive than the first book. We have characters who use sign language, different ethnicities, and diverse sexualities, and none of these elements in the story feels contrived.

The tea dragons were just as freaking adorable as in the first book. I want to live in this world and I want to take care of those tea dragons, no matter how pesky they’re claimed to be! At the end, O’Neill also included additional information about the tea dragon varieties, and more wonderful history about dragons like Aedhan.

This was a very quick read full of sweet and fluffy things! And I mean, super cute good looking dragons. Come on, isn’t that all you really need to know? Recommended to everyone who wants to experience all the good and happy feels!

Thanks to NetGalley for providing the e-ARC for an honest review.
Have you read any of the Tea Dragon graphic novels? Love em? Hate em? Meh about them? Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!