Review | Brave Chef Brianna

I’ve been seeing a number of graphic novels when I’ve been perusing Kindle Unlimited, so I’ve decided to check some of them out. This one is one of the one’s I’ve picked up lately and enjoyed.

Brianna Jakobsson has big cooking dreams, and when her ailing restaurateur father poses a challenge to his only daughter and fifteen sons, she seizes the opportunity. She’s going to have the best restaurant around and earn the family empire. Thing is, the only place she can afford to set up shop is in Monster City. Her menu is full of weird delicacies, her kitchen is run by a half-bird harpy, and her dining room is filled with skeleton businessmen. Add on the nefarious Madame Cron, some highly competitive siblings and Brianna’s plate is literally . . . full. Brave Chef Brianna from writer Sam Sykes (Munchkin) and artist Selina Espiritu explores one woman’s incredible journey to realize her dreams in the unlikeliest of places. Welcome to Monster City!

I’ve never heard about this one before, but when I read the synopsis I immediately wanted to pick it up. Brianna wants to make a name for herself, initially to win a competition her father has set up between she and her 15 brothers, and finds herself in Monster City. She’s alone in an unfamiliar environment and has a steep learning curve. With the help of her new friends she has to try and navigate running her own restaurant.

Trigger warnings for self doubt and low self esteem should definitely be included, but it’s great to see Brianna work through those negative feelings. I also really appreciate the way her negative thoughts and self doubt were visualized through the art, representing the way those feelings can take over. It’s definitely a good story with some quirky twists and was really fun to read.

Happy reading!

Review: The Claiming

A ghostly apparition appearing along a dark and lonely stretch of highway. A ritual bound in blood. A race against time against a deadly supernatural force.

Kendra Garrity’s twin brother, the only person she has ever loved, will be dead at dawn.

Gwydion has done the unthinkable. He has triggered The Claiming, an ancient ritual that can turn an ordinary person into a witch. But power comes with a terrible cost. Now he hovers in a state near death, trapped in the underworld. At sunrise, he’ll be lost forever. And something dark and unnatural will rise in his place.

Kendra is the only one who has any hope of saving the brother she loves, the brother who once gave up everything for her. But in order to rescue him, she must enter into a terrifying mirror world populated by nightmare creatures and controlled by demons. If she fails, she will be trapped there forever. And if she succeeds, it might mean giving up everything she has ever known.

This book definitely ticked all the boxes when it came to buzzwords that I would enjoy and general feel. It was definitely on the spookier side and the writing was beautiful in so many ways. The descriptions are rich and suit the story perfectly.

You spend the whole story wondering about people’s motivations and learning things little by little. Finding out some of the history of the town and just what lays beneath the surface was great and definitely makes me want to read more in this series.

I will say that woven in to this story there are definitely some trigger worthy topics, there’s talk about abuse, rape and more, so if those are subjects you can’t handle then this one may not be for you. All in all I really enjoyed this one and it definitely fit my craving for something darker and mystical.

The Claiming is out now if you want to pick up a copy. Happy reading!

Review: The Cold is in Her Bones

When I first heard that this book was a take on Medusa, I was instantly intrigued and wanted to check it out. Things based on mythology always pique my interest as that’s one of my buzzwords/favorite concepts. This book did not disappoint on the Medusa aspect for sure.

After the prologue (which gives us a glimpse of events in the past) we follow Milla, who is sheltered and lives a quiet life outside of the village with her parents and brother. As the story unfolds we learn about the curse that the village lives under where young girls get afflicted by a “demon” and get taken away. We then continue to follow Milla as she does everything she can to learn more and to help those she cares about.

This book opens up great conversations about the extremes that some religious beliefs can go to and what happens when people react harshly out of their fear. In some ways you could draw some parallels to stories such as those written about the events that happened during the Salem witch hunts. There’s also a lot of talk about oppressing females if they don’t act the norm or perfectly obey. I felt that these concepts were subtle enough to not be overt, but still there.

Overall I really enjoyed this read and loved how the story unfolded. I would recommend picking it up if you’re looking for something mythology based or perfect for the spooky season.

Happy reading!

Review: The Babysitters Coven

Title: The Babysitters Coven
Author: Kate Williams
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 17th, 2019

When I first read the concept of this book, I wanted to read it immediately. Babysitter’s Club meets Buffy? Yes, please! While the book did meet that brief, there were some aspects that I didn’t love. I really enjoyed all of the great pop culture references (Labyrinth, Buffy, Harry Potter and more) as well as some of the discussion surrounding difficult issues such as Esme’s mom’s condition and how the town/school treated her because of it, as well as her internal dialogue about her worries and fears. Esme’s voice/point of view is rather harsh at times, which could be considered unlikable or polarizing, but for the age of the character it is understandable.

I do wish that some things had been a little more descriptive. At times the relationships between people didn’t seem to be as close as they were described. Also, a lot of the characters (granted, more minor characters) could have used more description to differentiate them from each other. That being said though, this was mostly with characters that only appeared a few times and I’m sure that if they show up in future books they will be fleshed out more.

The last half of the book was jam packed with action and went much faster than the 1st half, which I really enjoyed. There were definitely a lot of twists and turns that were surprising, but there were also many twists that were pretty predictable. There were times that I had a hard time liking Esme and Cassandra (mostly Cassandra) because of their decisions, but I could see some of those things being addressed in future books. In that respect this book set up future conflicts really well.

All in all I did enjoy this book and as I said the last half was really quick paced and enjoyable. If you’re looking for books that have great pop culture references, lots of mystical and paranormal content and babysitters who have to protect the world, then you’ll probably enjoy it. It was definitely a fun book with a lot of quirks and capers.

The Babysitters Coven is out now from Delacorte Press, so be sure to pick up a copy if it’s something that is up your alley, Happy reading!

Review: Case of the Shinigami by KC Hunter

When I saw this book available to me on Book Sirens I was immediately intrigued and excited to pick it up.

Case of the Shinigami is a prequel novella to the Kana Cold series and it a great introduction to the characters. Though it is short it is a great setup for what will be a paranormal series. This book is about Kana and her partner AJ as they tackle a case where a small child is being terrorized by an unseen force.

Glimpses of Kana’s personality and references to her past are few at first, but as the story goes on you start to learn some of the things that have shaped her and motivate her. She’s not the most likable person, doesn’t deal well with people and has a quick temper, but there are reasons that are slowly revealed.

I will definitely be picking up the first full book in the series as I feel like things that happened in this prequel will be playing a part in the series as a whole. This is creating a beginning to what looks to be an interesting and thrilling series full of adventure.

Be sure to check out this prequel and the series as it comes out if it sounds like it is up your alley, 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: 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!