Review | Space Battle Lunchtime Vol 1 by Natalie Riess

Collecting the first four issues of Natalie Riess’s delectable series, SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME! Earth baker Peony gets the deal of a lifetime when she agrees to be a contestant on the Universe’s hottest reality TV show, Space Battle Lunchtime! But that was before she knew that it shoots on location… on a spaceship… and her alien competitors don’t play nice! Does Peony really have what it takes to be the best cook in the Galaxy? Tune in and find out!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I heard about this one ages ago and wanted to pick it up, so I was excited when I saw it making the rounds and had to pick it up. In it we follow Peony, who is suddenly whisked away from Earth to join an intergalactic cooking competition (similar to Chopped). She’s met by all types of creatures from different worlds, some who are ambivalent or nice, and some who aren’t so nice.

The art style is quirky, and every character is unique. It was a thoroughly enjoyable journey as we watch them all compete. There’s definitely the starting of more underhanded happenings that are hinted at, and the cliffhanger at the end makes me want to pick up the sequel.

Happy reading!

Review | Labyrinth: Coronation Series

When I heard that there was a graphic novel series which was a prequel to Labyrinth, and specifically was the story of how Jareth became the Goblin King – I had to read it. So I started picking up the individual issues through on my Kindle and reading through them that way.

Regarding the series as a whole, I really enjoyed it. It was told in two timelines, one being following Maria as she tried to save her baby who had been stolen, and the other following Jareth’s perspective while Sarah was making her way through the labyrinth to save Toby. It was really interesting seeing the two storylines and their similarities, as well as which characters were present in both timelines.

The art style was amazing and perfectly fit the Labyrinth aesthetic created by Jim Henson all those years ago. If I had to give the story a star rating overall, I would probably go with a strong four stars, but my breakdown by issue is below.

Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #1 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #2 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #3 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #4 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #5 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #6 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #7 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #8 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #9 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #10 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #11 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #12 – 3 stars

There were definitely parts of the series that I didn’t love, but I would definitely recommend any Labyrinth fan picking this up as it is a solid prequel and does help to fill in some holes here and there.

Happy reading!

Review | Grumpy Cat Awful-ly Big Comics Collection

Collecting every (terrible) Grumpy Cat comic book story ever — in one giant (overhyped) comics collection!

The World’s Grumpiest Cat — and the world’s most adorable internet sensation — continues to delight fans of all ages. With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. Now, her unbearable cuteness and infectious sourpuss are featured in a collection of comic stories. If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistible scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat. Her comic book escapades are guaranteed to make you smile… even if she’s scowling!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had no idea that there were Grumpy Cat comics, so when I saw this on NetGalley I had to pick it up. In the comics we follow Grumpy Cat of course, but also her brother Pokey and their friends. It has a lot of great humorous references and the opposite personalities of Grumpy verses Pokey makes for fun romps that Grumpy refuses to enjoy. It was a really fun read and great for fans of not only Grumpy cat, but cats in general.

Happy (or grumpy) reading!

Review | Dead Dudes by Christopher Sebela

Trev, Kent, and Brian are allegedly friends, but are best known as the backbiting hosts of the popular ghost hunting show, Ghost Bros. With ratings falling and competition rising, they gamble it all on the Chernobyl of haunted locations: Edgeway Penitentiary.

Armed only with a bag of cameras, some sick tattoos and absolutely zero scientific knowledge, the Ghostbros find conclusive proof of the afterlife at Edgeway… After they die and come back as ghosts themselves, trapped there with the angry ghosts who killed them!

A year later, as film crews arrive for an anniversary memorial special hosted by their most hated rivals, the Ghostbros have to be the best DEAD DUDES they can be, in order to prove to the world that ghosts exist (Oh yeah—and to save the living from a ghostly armageddon, but whatever).

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I won’t lie, I’ve been guilty of watching some of the various paranormal ghost hunting shows – so when I saw the premise of this one I had to pick it up. I immediately enjoyed the cheeky fun that was poked at some of the current and past shows, as well as the shenanigans that follows when the Ghost Bros find themselves on the other side of the veil. This story is full of humor, fun capers and a hilarious battle at the end.

Happy reading!

Review | The Grimillet Sisters by Giovanni Di Gregorio

Being sisters is never easy. But when you’re as different as Sarah, Cassiopeia, and Lucille, it’s even harder! The first is haunted by recurring dreams, the second lives with her head in the clouds, and the last spends most of her time with her cat. Then one day they discover a mysterious photo of their mother pregnant. Where was it taken, and who is the baby? And most importantly, why was this photo hidden away in the depths of the attic? To find out, they’ll have to venture into the tangled forest of the Grémillet family secrets!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First things first, the art style of this graphic novel is absolutely breathtaking. It is full of whimsy, vibrant colors and depth. I was instantly drawn into the story on that alone. The story is centered around three sisters who are very different and have different talents. They do show some of the common insecurities that siblings have based on their place in the family, but also band together to try and discover what their mother may be hiding. They each try to process and discover things in their own ways, which leads to both self discoveries, blowups and some hurt feelings, but they come back together because they are family. It was a sweet story with just the right touch of whimsy and I really loved it.

Happy reading!

Review | Just Act Normal by John McNamee

This third collection from The Onion and the New Yorker contributor John McNamee features his most absurdly relatable comics on our futile attempts to seem “normal,” and why that’s hilarious.

Pie Comics began as a college comic strip way back in the mid ’00s, when flip phones roamed the earth. But after a shoulder injury forced cartoonist John McNamee to simplify his drawing style and improvise comics, Pie Comics evolved into the beloved strip it is today!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I won’t lie, when I see something described as being dry or sarcastic humor, I will definitely want to check it out. I really enjoyed this collection of comics as they perfectly suited my sense of humor. They took a real look at many of the cliches of growing up, as well as real situations that a lot of people face, with a sarcastic twist. I feel the simpler art style really lends to the quick jokes and humor of each comic and thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Happy reading!

Review | Mary by Brea Grant

Angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on her family’s celebrated legacy of being a great writer, but she soon discovers that she has the not-so-celebrated (and super-secret) Shelley power to heal monsters, just like her famous ancestor, and those monsters are not going to let her ignore her true calling anytime soon.

The Shelley family history is filled with great writers: the original Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the acclaimed mystery writer Tawny Shelley, cookbook maven Phyllis Shelley…the list goes on and on. But this Mary Shelley, named after her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, doesn’t want anything to do with that legacy. Th2020en a strangely pale (and really cute) boy named Adam shows up and asks her to heal a wound he got under mysterious circumstances, and Mary learns something new about her family: the first Mary Shelley had the power to heal monsters, and Mary has it, too. Now the monsters won’t stop showing up, Mary can’t get her mother Tawny to leave her alone about writing something (anything!), she can’t tell her best friend Rhonda any of this, and all Mary wants is to pass biology.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was excited when I read the synopsis of this, as I love stories that have a twist including famous authors or their descendants. I really enjoyed following Mary, a descendant of Mary Shelley, who is expected to follow the long line of writers in her family. She finds out pretty quickly that her normal teenage life of struggling in school and having family issues is not what it seems. Her adventures from there are comical and portray a struggle for her between doing what she’s expected to do and what she wants to do – as well as actually figuring out what she wants to do.

I also really enjoyed the art style, it seemed to perfectly capture the different characters and the different members and ancestors of Mary’s family. All in all it was a fun story and take on a famous figure’s descendant.

Happy reading!

Review | Virtually Yours by Jeremy Holt

Shouldn’t finding a life partner be more challenging than ordering a pizza? Welcome to Virtually Yours, a virtual dating app that provides all the proof of being in a relationship without actually being in one. With her career front of mind, Eva Estrella joins Virtually Yours, after a nudge from her sister, to alleviate some family pressure as she continues to look for her dream job in journalism. While Max Kittridge, a former child star in the middle of a divorce, takes a gig at Virtually Yours servicing multiple clients as a fake boyfriend. As they navigate their current circumstances, both Eva and Max find that sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you.

Virtually Yours is a rom-com for the digital age from writer Jeremy Holt and artist Elizabeth Beals. This exciting new collaboration includes letterer Adam Wollet, book designer Tim Daniel, and editor Kat Vendetti. Together, they present a refreshing take on a beloved genre that will appeal to anyone familiar with love in the time of the internet.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Virtually Yours follows Eva and Max who have had two completely different life experiences, and have their own issues to work through. Max is forever remembered for his role in a movie when he was a teenager and has had a lot of issues with his past relationships. Eva has a mother who thinks all her problems would be solved if she would just find a man, when she’s trying to find a job.

When her sister finds the app, Virtually Yours, that essentially gives you everything you need to prove you have a partner without actually having one, Eva is able to placated her mother and find a job. Max is able to utilize working at Virtually Yours to help himself heal and find purpose in his life. After a number of near misses in real life, they finally meet without realizing that they are interacting through the app.

I really enjoyed all the different issues this graphic novel explored, and loved seeing the relationship building between Eva and Max. I always appreciate when there’s diversity in a story without it feeling forced and this one was perfect in that aspect. I loved all of the characters and how they were individual and unique, there are some side characters I’d love to see explored more in their own stories.

Virtually Yours is currently available on Kindle Unlimited, so make sure to check it out – happy reading!

Review | Camp by Kayla Miller

Olive and Willow are happy campers!

Or are they?
Olive is sure she’ll have the best time at summer camp with her friend Willow – but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows – Olive. It’s s’more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow’s living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long…the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?

After reading Click I was excited to pick up the next installment and follow more of Olive’s adventures. Kayla Miller perfectly captures real life situations that kids go through. This story ticks a lot of boxes as we follow Olive and Willow to summer camp, and Olive – being an extrovert, starts making friends immediately and dives into summer camp, while also spending a lot of time with Willow. Willow, who is homesick and feels like she only has Olive, sees things from a different perspective. It’s a great look at young friendships, making new friends and learning that you don’t have to be the only person in someone’s life. I really enjoyed the story, though sometimes Willow’s reactions to things seemed a little over the top. The message that it would give young readers would help them navigate friendships of their own as well as enjoy a great story about two friends going to summer camp.

Happy reading!

Review | Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

A powerful and timely teen graphic novel memoir—perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo—about a Korean-born, non-English-speaking girl who is abruptly transplanted from Seoul to Huntsville, Alabama, and struggles with extreme culture shock and isolation, until she discovers her passion for comic arts.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up in the 1990s as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together.

So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends at home and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily. And worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to—her mother.

Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As soon as I read the synopsis for this graphic memoir I had to pick it up. I’m always interested in anything related to Korean culture and individuals so I definitely wanted to read about the author’s experiences and perspective.

Taken as a whole this is a very complex story where the author examines her relationships with her mother and others, her internal feelings and thoughts and cultural differences – plus having to deal with being a teenager at the time that her life went through major upheaval. Even if you haven’t dealt with many of the things she dealt with, you can probably sympathize with being a teenager who’s unsure of themselves and unsure how to fit in.

The way Ha addresses a lot of the cultural differences and issues was also great to see, she perfectly showed snippets of some of the different perspectives in Korean culture vs. American, and some of the racism she experienced just because of what she looked like and spoke like.

I really enjoyed her storytelling in this work and her art style with the changing color palettes that denoted time and emotion. It was just a beautiful story to experience in my opinion and I will definitely be looking up her other works.

Happy reading!