Review: Camp Spirit

Summer camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden… But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?

Summer 1994: with just two months left before college, Elodie is forced by her mother to take a job as a camp counselor. She doesn’t know the first thing about nature, or sports, of kids for that matter, and isn’t especially interested in learning… but now she’s responsible for a foul-mouthed horde of red-headed girls who just might win her over, whether she likes it or not. Just as Elodie starts getting used to her new environment, though — and close to one of the other counselors — a dark mystery lurking around the camp begins to haunt her dreams.

Though I had never heard of this graphic novel, as soon as I read the synopsis I wanted to pick it up. Set in the 90s at a summer camp that has a spooky legend woven into it’s history. The main character, Elodie, wants to be anywhere but there – but she’s stuck at the camp being a camp counselor.

The story and characters were so quirky and the art style perfectly suited that. While some of the elements of the plot were kind of predictable, the characters and their sub plots more than made up for it. Elodie is very much the odd one out, but that’s partly because of her own decisions and actions, watching her become more animated and more engaged. I absolutely loved the interactions she had with her group of campers and how they came to life throughout the story.

It was a really fun read and definitely was accurate to the 90s (including slang/language used in the 90s) and was just a great journey about figuring yourself out and perspectives changing when you actually get to know people.

Happy reading!

Review+Giveaway: Fun Fun Fun World

The Devastorm 5 is an alien warship whose prime directive is to seek out planets to invade and conquer in tribute to the almighty Alien Queen. The only problem is that the crew of the Devastorm 5 is the worst in the fleet. Despite being the losers of the alien army, Pilot Minky still considers himself the best pilot in the galaxy. Rounding out the crew is sober Science Officer Illy, cranky Commander Hoytch, silly Security Officer Von and the slimy Political Liaison Eggy, they are a dysfunctional crew to say the least. After being chided by other more successful members of the Queen’s Alien Army, Minky vows to conquer EARTH once and for all. And he does! But Minky doesn’t realize that he’s only captured an amusement park called Fun Fun Fun World. The only human to witness the invasion is Javi Camacho, the son of the park’s lead engineer. Javi is an avid consumer of conspiracy theories and paranormal activities, so the presence of aliens only confirms his suspicions. Javi has been on the hunt for the reclusive creator of Fun Fun Fun World, famed animator Franklyn Funger- who Javi suspects is still alive and hiding in the park somewhere.

After posing as the park’s colorful mascot characters, the crew sends the Queen Earth’s most prized treasure- the Churro. Jealous of Minky’s success, Eggy plots a coup with Franklyn Funger. Eggy’s shenanigans trigger the emergency signal back to the mother ship and reveal to the Queen that Earth hasn’t been taken after all. The Queen’s most evil warrior, Vang, heads to Earth to blow it up because if she can’t have it then no one can! Eggy and Minky mend their rift and must band together with Javi and Funger to save the park and save the world!

This was such a fun little adventure! In this story we follow a crew of misfits as they are doing everything they can to conquer a planet and redeem themselves as well as learn to work together. As with any group of aliens (or people) there are growing pains, hurt feelings and bad decisions. Add to that a precocious child who just wants an amusement part to find it’s old magic again and you have a roller coaster ride of mishaps and shenanigans.

The art style and coloring are perfect for not only the subject but also the targeted age range of the story. The colors are super vibrant and bring out that over the top, super fun motif!

Now for the giveaway! Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win one copy of Fun Fun Fun World. Please keep in mind that Oni Press will be sending the prize, so I will be supplying them with the winner’s information once the giveaway has ended. If you’re unable to see the widget below, click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to be taken to the giveaway.

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Happy reading!

Review: Pandora's Legacy

What starts out as a typical family vacation to Grandma and Grandpa’s house quickly erupts into supernatural mystery and peril when three siblings accidentally break an old, mystical jar hidden deep in the woods, revealing they are descendants of Pandora and their family has been tasked for generations with protecting the very jar they just broke… As magical monsters pour out of the fractured relic and run amok, Charlie, Janet, and Trevor must find a way to capture all of the creatures in order to save their family—and potentially the entire world—before it’s too late. Writer Kara Leopard ([Super]Natural Attraction) and illustrators Kelly & Nichole Matthews (Jim Henson’s Power of the Dark Crystal) weave an otherworldly tale about finding help in the unlikeliest of places, learning the truth about your family history, and most importantly of all, talking cats.

I was really excited reading the description of this graphic novel, descendants of Pandora who have to deal with Pandora’s box being opened? Yes please. The banter between the siblings and the humor woven throughout was spot on and helped the story move along quickly. The artwork was so vibrant and dynamic and I loved how each of the monsters shown were illustrated.

There were points where things were written in Greek and one instance where Korean was used and I wish there had been a translation somewhere on the page. You could definitely tell the context of what was being said, but I’m sure younger readers would really like a translation, even if it was through a footnote.

Overall it ended up being a fun and quick read that was full of laughs. I did really enjoy it and flew through it.

Happy reading!

Review: Hotel Dare

Olive and her adopted siblings Charlotte and Darwin are spending the summer with their estranged grandma at her creepy hotel and it’s all work and no play. They’re stuck inside doing boring chores but they soon stumble upon an incredible secret… Behind each room door of the hotel lies a portal to a different strange and mysterious place. The simple turn of a knob transports them to a distant magical world filled with space pirates. Behind the next door are bearded wizards. Down the hall is a doorway to a cotton-candied kingdom. But once the doors are opened, worlds start colliding, and only one family can save them before they tear themselves apart. Written by Terry Blas (The Amazing World of Gumball) and illustrated by the talented Claudia Aguirre (Kim & Kim), this world-hopping fantasy tale breaks down the door to imagination and dares you to embrace the idea that family is everything.

This was such a fun and wild adventure! I love stories like this that weave diversity and real life issues so seamlessly. They aren’t overt, they are just there – and that’s something I applaud. This story follows three children going to visit their grandmother and help her with her hotel. What they fall into however is an intriguing mystery involving portals to other worlds, little sprinkles of mythology and tons of adventures.

The art style is so fluid and vibrant, plus the color palette is really punchy and bright, which made the story dynamic and fast paced. Overall it’s a story of family, even when that family is a found family and it was a great read!

Happy reading!

Review: Nancy Drew – The Palace of Wisdom

Nancy Drew is seventeen and good at everything…ESPECIALLY solving crimes. But her totally-in-control-and-obviously-running-perfectly-smooth-(but-not-really) life hits a snag when a mysterious message drags her back to the hometown she left behind. There she’ll have to find out which of her friends are still her friends, which are enemies, and who exactly is trying to kill her…and (hopefully) stop them before they succeed.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Nancy Drew, so when I saw a graphic novel version I had to check it out. This is definitely a new take on Nancy and while her attitude towards needing to solve mysteries came through, some of the other aspects of her personality were off for me.

I completely understand and appreciate the need to modernize and add diversity to make it current, but with characters as classic as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys it’s hard to do without too drastically changing things. This one, while enjoyable and a fun mystery/adventure, just fell a little flat for me in regards to the true legacy that is Nancy Drew. For people who’ve never been exposed to the originals or the case files, this would likely be a great introduction, but for me not so much.

Happy reading!

Review: The Daughters of Ys

An Atlantis-like city from Celtic legend is the setting of this mythical graphic novel fantasy from National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson and artist Jo Rioux.

Ys, city of wealth and wonder, has a history of dark secrets. Queen Malgven used magic to raise the great walls that keep Ys safe from the tumultuous sea. But after the queen’s inexplicable death, her daughters drift apart. Rozenn, the heir to the throne, spends her time on the moors communing with wild animals, while Dahut, the youngest, enjoys the splendors of royal life and is eager to take part in palace intrigue.

When Rozenn and Dahut’s bond is irrevocably changed, the fate of Ys is sealed, exposing the monsters that lurk in plain view. M. T. Anderson and Jo Rioux reimagine this classic Breton folktale of love, loss, and rebirth, revealing the secrets that lie beneath the surface.

I had never heard of or read the folktale this graphic novel was based on, but I was instantly intrigued when I read the description of the story. It’s a tale of how people can change depending on what they consider important. It also examines themes such as power, good and evil and family connections.

The art style was simple and more rustic, but it fit the theme and setting of the story perfectly. It definitely gave it the feel of the time period and the seaside setting. You could definitely see the influence of the original folktale and the time period that it came from.

All in all this is an enchanting tale that provides more than one good morality lesson woven into it.

Happy reading!

Review: Magic 7

On his first day of class at a new school, Leo, a boy who talks to the ghosts of famous dead people for fun, meets Hamlin, who can talk to animals, and Farah, a human flamethrower. The new friends band together to track down the thief who has made off with the school’s prized trophy, and must use all their powers to fight off an army of gigantic robots intent on destroying them. What they don’t know is that this is all just part of a much, much bigger plan…

This was so fun! In this story we primarily follow Leo who can talk to ghosts, most of which are historical figures or famous people. He’s just had to relocate and is not only dealing with his special gift, but having to start over at a new school. He quickly finds himself thrown into a mystery and meets a couple interesting characters.

I loved the artwork and the way all of the characters fit together but were individual in their own ways. The colors were bright and vibrant, which added to the feel of the story and will definitely make it appeal to its target audience. I would definitely be interested to see where this series goes, as this was a great beginning.

Happy reading!