Review | The Curie Society by Heather Einhorn, Janet Harvey, Adam Staffaroni, Joan Hilty and Sonia Liao

A covert team of young women–members of the Curie society, an elite organization dedicated to women in STEM–undertake high-stakes missions to save the world.

An action-adventure original graphic novel, The Curie Society follows a team of young women recruited by an elite secret society–originally founded by Marie Curie–with the mission of supporting the most brilliant female scientists in the world. The heroines of the Curie Society use their smarts, gumption, and cutting-edge technology to protect the world from rogue scientists with nefarious plans. Readers can follow recruits Simone, Taj, and Maya as they decipher secret codes, clone extinct animals, develop autonomous robots, and go on high-stakes missions.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Anything promoting females in more STEM roles makes me happy, so this one was an intriguing concept to me – then you add in a secret society and I’m sold. I really enjoyed this story and the way the three girls interacted and learned to work together. Building a team is never easy and that was definitely represented, but seeing how they were able to combine their strengths and work together, as well as the adventure they were on, was really nice. I also really enjoyed all the materials in the back such as a glossary and prominent figures.

Happy reading!

Review | Taproot by Keezy Young

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. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel followed a gardener, Hamal, who can see ghosts. I thought this was absolutely adorable and quirky and really enjoyed watching Hamal come into his own. The art style was whimsical and bright, which was so lovely to read. I did feel like this could easily have been more little vignettes into Hamal’s life after the initial story, and there was a little snippet of something similar at the end. All in all this was a very enjoyable read and I would definitely read more.

Happy reading!

Review | Princess Princess After All

When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They’ll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress, who wants to get rid of Sadie once and for all. Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what “happily ever after” really means–and how they can find it with each other.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As I’ve read other works by O’Neill I definitely wanted to pick this one up when I had the chat. This story was quick and cute, telling the stories of two princesses as they become friends and go on a journey together. They help each other break through previous opinions they may have of themselves or other people. I felt like the story in its entirety was a tad short, but it was still fun and adorable.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Shark Summer by Ira Marcks | Review

Shark Summer is bursting with vibrant, expressive art….The characters are distinct and relatable…It’s a lovely read!”—Molly Knox Ostertag, author of the Witch Boy series

“Eloquently chronicled in Marcks’s cinematic panels, friendships are formed and repaired, parental relationships articulated, and inner conflicts expressed and resolved. A winning production.” —Kirkus

When a Hollywood film crew arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with a mechanical shark and a youth film contest boasting a huge cash prize, disgraced pitcher Gayle “Blue Streak” Briar sees a chance to turn a bad season into the best summer ever.

After recruiting aspiring cinematographer Elijah Jones and moody director Maddie Grey, Gayle and her crew set out to uncover the truth of the island’s own phantom shark and win the prize money. But these unlikely friends are about to discover what happens when you turn your camera toward the bad things lurking below the surface.

Buy Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

I didn’t know a ton about this graphic novel going in but I was prepared for it to be a fun summer story, and it was! I really enjoyed the story as we followed Gayle as she navigated summer in Martha’s Vineyard, made new friends, dealt with a movie crew on location and dove deep into an old legend. She was definitely a complex character with not only issues that a lot of teens face, but she’s also having a crisis of identity due to what happened in her last baseball game, plus those she thought were her friends maybe aren’t as good of friends as she thought. While the plot has lots of components to it, I felt they were all wrapped up really well by the end of the graphic novel.

Ira Marcks is a cartoonist living in Upstate New York with his wife, two cats, a dog, and lots of books he’s been meaning to read. His love for ancient magic and possible futures has led him to create a warehouse of esoteric objects for the Hugo Award-winning magazine Weird Tales and to tell stories about villainous technology for the European Research Council. Shark Summer is his debut graphic novel.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Review | Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights

A feminist comic book history of women’s rights, from the ancient world to modern times, in a giftable, visually stunning package.

August 26, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote. And while suffrage has been a critical win for women’s liberation around the world, the struggle for women’s rights has been ongoing for thousands of years, across many cultures, and encompassing an enormous variety of issues. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun, fascinating, and full-color exploration of that important history, tracing its roots from antiquity to show how 21st-century feminism developed. Along the way, you’ll meet a wide range of important historical figures and learn about many political movements, including suffrage, abolition, labor, LGBT liberation, the waves of feminism, and more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed every aspect of this graphic novel, from the message, delivery and art. This graphic covered so much of women throughout history who had impacts on the rights of women, while also covering a diverse range of subjects in short, consumable vignettes. I would love if there were more put out by this author since I know this was likely scraping the surface on women and individuals who have made an impact. I also really enjoyed that it covered diverse individuals all over the world, not just in the U.S. – that was a really nice thing to incorporate into it.

Happy reading!

Review | The Avalon Chronicles Vol 1: Once in a Blue Moon

When Aeslin Finn was a little girl, her parents read to her from a magical book called The Avalon Chronicles. But that was a long time ago. Now a teenager, Aeslin is about to discover just how magical she and that book really are. Transported to the world of Avalon, she discovers a kingdom in need of a Dragon Knight – and the last dragon, Blue Moon, is waiting for her!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

While I felt this was a good start to a new series, it didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting. I really liked the premise and the twist regarding the books, but while the beginning and ending went really fast for me, the middle dragged a bit. I didn’t really feel like I could connect with many of the characters and their motivations. Still, for someone looking for a hero’s journey type fantasy quest in a graphic novel, they would probably really enjoy it. For me it was just ok and I probably won’t be continuing with the series.

Happy reading!

Review | Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol 1: High School is Hell

Go back to the beginning as the critically acclaimed pop culture phenomenon Buffy The Vampire Slayer is reimagined under the guidance of series creator Joss Whedon!

This is the Buffy Summers you know, who wants what every average teenager wants: friends at her new school, decent grades, and to escape her imposed destiny as the next in a long line of vampire slayers tasked with defeating the forces of evil…only this time around, her world looks a lot more like the one outside your window.

Eisner Award winner Jordie Bellaire (Redlands) and Russ Manning Award winner Dan Mora (Go Go Power RangersHexed), along with series creator Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers), bring Buffy into a new era with new challenges, new friends, and a few enemies you might already recognize. But the more things change, the more they stay the same as the Gang faces brand-new Big Bads, and the threat lurking beneath the perfectly manicured exterior of Sunnydale High confirms what every teenager has always known: high school truly is hell.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Whoa. Going into this I knew that it was a modernization and that it was remixing the BtVS universe a bit, but there are a LOT of changes. You could honestly go into this with no knowledge of the existing Buffy universe and enjoy it, but there are tons of references and Easter eggs if you are a fan of the canon universe. I did really love the modernization but definitely spun for a loop with some of the events that happen in this volume. I’m both excited and scared to see what happens next!

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Just Pretend by Tori Sharp | Review + Playlist

Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce. Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.

Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.

Book Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was really enamored with this graphic memoir from the start because I was able to identify with the way Tori coped with what was happening in her life. While I didn’t have the same experiences as her when I was her age, writing and reading were my escapes when I dealt with my own issues, so it was something that really resonated with me. That 7-9th grade range is a difficult time for many kids, especially when you have so many different issues going on. I really enjoyed the mix of seeing Tori’s life and day to day mixed with her stories when she escaped into them. The story lines in some ways had parallels as Tori navigated her real life and attempted to survive and juggle everything going on. The art style was bright and vivid and perfectly suited both the real life and the fantasy.

Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at http://www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

I also had fun putting together a playlist on Spotify with some songs that I felt fit some of the feelings I had when reading this book. I’ve included it below!

Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour too! Happy reading!

Review | Isola Vol 2 by Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl & MSASSYK

ISOLA returns!

Following a brush with death, Queen Olwyn and Captain Rook find themselves far off course, without supplies or any hope of breaking the evil spell trapping Olwyn in the form of a magical blue tiger. The companions will face grave new threats and uncover long-held secrets in their quest to find Isola, the land of the dead, where they hope to return the Queen of Maar to human form before war breaks out.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

While I did enjoy this second volume of Isola and definitely want to see what happens with the characters in further volumes, the events of this one did leave me somewhat confused. I feel like this series would have really benefitted from a prologue or backstory set up on the world. We run into a number of different clans or peoples and having no knowledge about the structure of the world really shows in this one. The art and color stories are amazing and I would likely pick them up just for that. I’m hoping that in the next volume we get more information as in this one it did feel like a bridge volume where a lot of things started, but were not wrapped up.

Happy reading!

Review | The Girl From the Sea by Molly Ostertag

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.

Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore.

But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Having previously loved Molly Ostertag’s other work I was super excited to get the chance to read this one and it did not disappoint! This story had the perfect level of real world conflicts mixed with some magical aspects as well. It’s a Sapphic love story as well as a story about changing friendships, families and more. As always I enjoyed Ostertag’s vibrant art style and colors and loved how the setting and people were depicted. While a number of heavier topics were touched upon such as parents divorcing or Morgan’s inner conflict regarding her sexuality they were all handled really well. The story itself was very touching and whimsical, showing Morgan’s growth through the summer as she came to know herself better as well as those around her.

Happy reading!