Review | Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy by Wook-Jin Clark

Mindfulness takes a lot of mental energy to wrap your brain around. Gudetama is here to help you become a better person…sort of.

Empathizing with others, understanding your feelings, learning to be selfless. These all sound like really hard things to do! Well fear not, come along with Gudetama who’ll guide your way to learning things and more. Living selflessly is something many struggle with. Don’t worry, Gudetama does too, and wants to join you on your journey in finding the wonders of mindfulness. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve really enjoyed the last couple Gudetama books I’ve read from Oni Press, so as soon as I saw this one pop up I wanted to read it as well. I knew it would be filled with humorous but also some wholesome content. This approach to mindfulness was no different. Gudetama is equal parts funny and morality lessons and some of the situations he finds people in are relateable and super easy to identify with. The art style is the same signature style that Gudetama always has, whether he’s laying down to take a nap or hiding in his shell, he always takes time to talk people through their issues and give them helpful advice – whether they take it or not is up to them. It’s a quick read that will make you smile and laugh and I’d say that’s perfect if you need a pick me up.

Happy reading!

Review | Nightschool Vol 2 by Svetlana Chmakova

When Alex’s sister, Sarah, vanishes and all memory and evidence of her existence is erased, Alex is determined to get to the bottom of her sister’s disappearance. What better place to start her investigations than the Nightschool itself? But when she discovers that sneaking into the Nightschool isn’t as simple as it might seem, Alex enrolls as a student. But is she prepared for what she might find?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really felt like this volume was definitely a bridge volume as it was building more of a foundation for certain situations. There’s definitely tension building between the different groups and we are starting to see how things tie together. I definitely felt like it’s setting up the next volume really well and left some things on a cliffhanger, but also felt like I was left with a lot more questions than answers. Still, it was a super fast read and I can’t wait to happen in the next couple volumes and find out how some things get resolved.

Happy reading!

Review | Nightschool Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova

Schools may lock up for the night, but class is in session for an entirely different set of students. In the Nightschool, vampires, werewolves, and weirns (a particular breed of witches) learn the fundamentals of everything from calculus to spell casting. Alex is a young weirn whose education has always been handled through homeschooling, but circumstances seem to be drawing her closer to the Nightschool. Will Alex manage to weather the dark forces gathering? 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Since I got to read the spin off of this series I wanted to go back and read the original series and I was not disappointed in this first volume. I really enjoyed the manga style art, which of course made the story race right by. After reading the first volume I’m still somewhat learning who certain characters are, but they are being revealed bit by bit as the story progresses. I immediately was sucked into the world and can’t wait to learn more about the characters and the little snippets of mystery we were allowed to see in this first volume.

If you have kindle unlimited this series is currently available on it – happy reading!

Review | Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu

Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.

Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.

And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too? 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I so enjoyed this graphic novel about Cici and her journey through a number of issues that she faces. Moving across the world to America, discovering her passion and wanting to fight for it, but also wanting to meet her parents’ expectations. This story was much more complex than it appeared on the surface and I loved seeing that. Her growth and coming into her own throughout the story was wonderful to witness, as were all the relationships and how they grew and changed over the span of the graphic novel. I loved the detail that was added when talking about all the foo represented and feel like it would be great for any young reader who is showing an interest in cooking, navigating a new home/country, or even just discovering their own voice.

Happy reading!

Review | Lobster is the Best Medicine by Liz Climo

Fans have fallen in love with Liz Climo’s charmingly quirky animal kingdom, which was first featured in The Little World of Liz Climo—a place where porcupines, anteaters, and grizzly bears all grapple with everyday life with wit and humor. Now Liz returns with a book devoted to friendship. Chapter themes include “Old Friends,” “New Friends,” “Unlikely Friends,” and “Friends with Benefits.” It’s the perfect gift for a special friend.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Liz Climo is one of those authors who I will pretty much always pick up. I know that her comics will put a smile on my face and love her art style. These are very simple single page comics, so the book flies by, but they are heartwarming and funny at the same time. Plus, all the animals she pairs have great friendships or interactions. If you’re looking for a book that you can just reference here and there or sit down and read the whole thing at once, this one would be a great option!

Happy reading!

Review | The Mystery of the Moon Tower (The Pathfinders Society)

Viking has bought The Young Pathfinders, a middle-grade graphic novel series by Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian. The book will be illustrated by Steve Hamaker. The Young Pathfinders is an adventure story featuring a diverse group of kids thrown together in a summer camp project. Researching their town’s history leads to a mysterious, abandoned castle that was once home to an eccentric inventor, and may still be home to great treasure.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had to pick this one up when I read the premise and thought it would be a fun read – I wasn’t wrong. I will definitely be picking up other volumes as this was just a joy to read. A fun, puzzle solving mystery with a group of new friends. The art style is fun and vibrant, and the story flows super fast. I can’t wait to see what else they find on their adventures.

Happy reading!

Review | Misfit City Vol 2 by Kirsten Smith

Wilder and her friends continue their adventures, exploring the secrets of their sleepy hometown.

Wilder, Macy, Dot, Karma and Ed continue their hunt for notorious pirate Black Mary’s secret treasure, and uncover their sleepy town’s hidden secrets. With tensions running high, and the smell of the sea (and unclaimed treasure) fresh on the breeze, the girls will have to work together to keep clear of the Denbys and Horace Shipp, not to mention Wilder’s increasingly suspicious sheriff mom, to get out of this without walking the plank!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been wanting to pick up the second volume of Misfit City for a while now and finally was able to – then made sure to devour it in one setting. Being a great lover of The Goonies I instantly give points to anything that references it and this one for sure does that. Sure, it plays on a lot of the same themes and tropes, but it was just a fun time. I loved the dive into Black Mary’s story that happened in this one and how the story wrapped up especially. There were some instances where I felt like some of the characters were hard to tell apart, so it might have been nice to have a slightly smaller group, or have more unique traits to them, but that didn’t decrease my enjoyment in the story as they had their adventure and discovered the truth.

Happy reading!

Review | The Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

Magic has a dark side . . .

Aster always looks forward to the Midwinter Festival, a reunion of the entire Vanissen family that includes competitions in witchery and shapeshifting. This year, he’s especially excited to compete in the annual Jolrun tournament-as a witch. He’s determined to show everyone that he’s proud of who he is and what he’s learned, but he knows it won’t be easy to defy tradition.

Ariel has darker things on her mind than the Festival-like the mysterious witch who’s been visiting her dreams, claiming to know the truth about Ariel’s past. She appreciates everything the Vanissens have done for her. But Ariel still craves a place where she truly belongs.

The Festival is a whirlwind of excitement and activity, but for Aster and Ariel, nothing goes according to plan. When a powerful and sinister force invades the reunion, threatening to destroy everything the young witches have fought for, can they find the courage to fight it together? Or will dark magic tear them apart?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been putting off reading this one for far too long, probably because I didn’t want it too end. Safe to say I loved it. It had continuing things found family, diversity and discrimination – especially when it can happen within families. I have loved seeing how all of the characters have grown, but even more so how Aster has come into their own. They’re still young and can still get hurt, but there’s maturity that is coming with growing up. I really enjoyed the very real portrayal of conflicts that other members within a family may have, and how their actions can be misunderstood. Seeing the very real conflicts, and then resolutions when they happen I think is very important. I loved this series and highly recommend picking it up.

Happy reading!

Review | Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.

Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I enjoyed this cute representation of how someone can feel like they’ve finally found the place where they are going to fit in, only to find out that they don’t really and that making friends is about more than being similar to people. This is the first title I’ve read by Vera Brosgol and I really enjoyed not only her art style but her story telling in general. She perfectly captures so many facets of what girls (and children in general) experience in their pre-teen ages – especially when they feel like they can’t fit in with anyone. I did really enjoy the experiences shown at camp and all the emotions Vera went through.

Happy reading!

Review | Ozy and Millie: Perfectly Normal by Dana Simpson

Millie is one unusual fox, and she knows it. She comes up with highly unusual thoughts, invents ingenious excuses to get out of her homework, and her classmates are not always sure quite what to make of her. But thankfully she has Ozy, one of the most loyal friends anyone could ask for. Together the two of them, their friends, and Ozy’s dad, Llewellyn (who happens to be a red dragon) enjoy various misadventures, whimsical conversations, elaborate schemes, and delightful bouts of mischief. Whether they’re navigating cliques, inventing new games, or just trying to make sense of life, Ozy and Millie are the perfect companions for upper middle grade readers as well as fans of Dana Simpson’s bestselling Phoebe and Her Unicorn series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I didn’t know this web comic existed, but now I’m glad I do. The adventures that Ozy and Millie have are adorable and the two of them seem to balance each other well. Plus other characters, such as their parents, were great voices in the comics as well. I loved the art style and how vibrant the colors were. These comics are great for all ages and I do really enjoy that they included a glossary in the back for younger readers to learn about words they may not know and people mentioned.

Happy reading!