Review: The Black Mage

the black mageWhen I first heard about this book I knew it centered around a black student going to a wizarding/magic school, but didn’t know much else. The story was fast paced and fun while also dealing with important themes of racism. There was also the inclusion of important figures from the civil war that added to the overall theme and story line.

I feel that stories like this are important, where difficult subjects are openly discussed and shown in a consumable format. While reading you don’t necessarily think about what the overarching message is because the story is a great adventure, but it’s there nonetheless.

The art style perfectly fits the story and the effects for spells were just what it needed. The colors were vibrant and were great with the fantasy aspects of the story.

The Black Mage comes out October 29th, from Oni Press, be sure to pick up a copy!

Happy Reading!

Review: The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter by Caroline Flarity

ghost hunter's daughterWhen I read the synopsis for The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter, I immediately got excited and had to check it out. This is the story of Anna, whose father is well known for being the town well, ghost hunter, and because of this she is known as Goblin Girl at school. Things start happening in her town during a number of solar flares, things of a paranormal nature, and it’s up to Anna to figure it out.

Before I go any further I would caution that there are trigger warnings for bullying, self harm and suicidal thoughts. Though these aren’t central themes in the book, there are situations that arise that could be triggering to people.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way – this story was so much fun! Yes, it got pretty dark at some points with some of the things discussed (um hello demons and ghosties). If you’re looking for something with Poltergeist/Ghostbusters vibes, this will fit the bill.

Anna’s struggles are very relatable regardless of the supernatural aspects and influences in the story. It delves a lot into her internal dialogue and talks about how the bullying she endures affects her, as well as other characters and their struggles. While these situations are influenced by the supernatural aspects, they are still very real experiences that teens have and humanized the story a bit more.

The writing was really easy to read and get into, which meant that I flew through it.  Overall I really enjoyed this book and all it’s twists and turns.  This book is already out, so if it sounds like something you would enjoy, be sure to check it out!

Review: Texts From Mittens by Angie Bailey

texts from mittensTexts from Mittens: The Friends and Family Edition is a great little novelty/coffee table book that would be relatable to anyone who has owned (or been owned by) a cat. Full of fun shenanigans in the form of text messages between Mittens and his mom, grandma, dog brother and other cats.

If you’re looking for a cute book that is sure to make you laugh and you understand the whims of felines, this would be right up your alley. As someone who has a cat and fully accepts that she rules the household, this 100% hit the spot. Many of the portrayed conversations perfectly show some of the more humorous aspects and motivations of cats, especially boxes.

I could probably read these and other text messages like them for days without getting bored. It would be a great book to have and pick a page at random for a quick laugh. Text from Mittens: Friends and Family Edition comes out September 3rd from Andrews McMeel publishing, be sure to check it out!

Happy reading!

Review: The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

tea dragon festivalI cannot fully express how excited I was to get approved on NetGalley for this title, there may have been some squealing, just saying. The Tea Dragon Festival was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and has fully cemented the fact that I will probably buy anything Katie O’Neill writes in the future.

This story is a prequel to The Tea Dragon Society and you do meet some characters in this story that are in that one as well, which was a great surprise. It really feels like O’Neill is building a world for these stories and I desperately hope there will be many more installments featuring tea dragons and these characters.

I love how seamlessly she works diversity and inclusiveness into her stories, it isn’t there as any kind of novelty or anything, it’s there because these things are part of everday life and part of people’s worlds. This book specifically features a non-binary character and also highlights the use of sign language. Along with that it featured information at the beginning and end for resources regarding sign language, which I thought was a great way to provide information for anyone who is curious after reading.

I will also forever love O’Neill’s art style, she has the perfect balance of simplicity and detail and the color are so vivid that the scenes easily come to life. These stories are whimsical and full of fantasy, but still grounded and full of important messages.

The Tea Dragon Festival is coming out on September 17th from Oni Press, make sure that you check it out and also check out The Tea Dragon Society while you’re at it!

Happy reading!

Review: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

mooncakesOh my heart! Mooncakes was such a fun and enjoyable read and was a perfect title to break up my reading. This story follows Nova (a witch) and Tam (a werewolf) as they reunite and face a danger while also exploring their feelings for each other. It was a beautiful story that put a smile on my face, seeing friendship and love blossom between all the characters.

This story discusses so much in the way of real life issues such as family, love, diversity, etc while also seamlessly blending in the supernatural aspects and the mystery they must solve. I would definitely love if there were more stories following these characters, but this also stands well on its own. The art style and color palette are beautiful and fit the tone of the story perfectly. It leans earth tone, but that is perfect for the setting and feel of the story.

Overall, Mooncakes is a beautiful story full of magic and the strength of friendship and love. I’m very interested in seeing more from both the author and the illustrator as their collaboration produced such an amazing tale.

I definitely recommend picking up a copy.  Mooncakes comes out October 15th from Lion Forge.  I know I’ll be adding it to my shelf!

Happy reading!

Review: Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

soul of the swordShadow of The Fox was pretty much my favorite book of 2018 (see my review of it here) I was VERY eagerly anticipating Soul of the Sword, so was over the moon when I got approved for an eARC.  This was easily my most anticipated book of the year.

First things first, Soul of the Sword pretty much picks up where Shadow of the Fox left off and has the same anime like feel. Many scenes felt like they were a transcript of an anime and it was amazing. In this way the book was very similar to Shadow of the Fox. While there are a few new characters thrown in, it is mostly the same cast of characters. The overall character development and building of relationships in this book were top notch and I’ll admit, makes me worry a bit about what is going to happen in the third book and how much Julie Kagawa is going to break my heart.

In this installment the POVs are Yumeko, Hakaimono/Tatsumi and Suki. Kagawa has a way of writing the different character arcs and their journeys that it is seamless when they all come together.  I love how if you read carefully there are little hints here and there regarding character’s motivations/intentions. She also made sure that more of the history of the dragon scroll and the wishes bestowed was revealed without it being too much of an info dump.

I absolutely loved how she wove in Japanese mythology and legends, she made the world and culture that she wrote feel absolutely real.  Sure there may have been some character traits or actions by characters that I didn’t love, but those things weren’t out of character for the people she had written.  Besides the slight slowness of the first half there wasn’t anything I actually disliked about the book.

I did feel that this story suffered a little from 2nd book syndrome and the first half was a bit slow, which is understandable considering all the set up that was happening but the rich settings, characters and characters more than make up for the slowness. This book had to be a bit of a bridge just so we can get to what I’m sure if going to be an amazing conclusion.  The last 20% was a thrilling journey where the action was non-stop and had me on the edge of my seat.

It will be very interesting to see where the final book goes as so many loose ends are going to need to be tied up. It’s definitely going to be a long wait until it’s available!

Soul of the Sword is out now! Make sure to pick up a copy of this book and its predecessor Shadow of the Fox if you’re interested in a thrilling adventure full of Japanese mythology.

Happy Reading!