Series Review | Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova

NIGHTSCHOOL answers the age-old question: Where do demons get their diplomas? Schools may close for the night and the lights may be off, but the classes still run. The Nightschool is education for a different crowd – vampires, demons and weirns, a special breed of witches. When Alex, a young weirn, enrolls in a Nightschool to learn what has become of her sister, will she be prepared for what she finds there?

Now that I’ve finished the four volumes of Nightschool, I wanted to kind of do a wrap up on my feelings about it. First things first, I really enjoy the world that Svetlana Chmakova has created here and would pick up anything else she writes in this world. At the end of this series I was definitely left wanting more but not because I felt there wasn’t enough, just because I felt like I just wanted more and more of this world. The art style is very manga-esque and I loved it as it was able to portray the characters and creatures well. I would love to learn more about some of the adults in the series, since it seems each of them could have amazing back stories on their own.

If you like paranormal worlds and mystical beings, I would definitely recommend picking up this series. They are quick and fun reads and will fly right by!

Happy reading!

Review | Living With Mochi by Gemma Gené

Gemma Gene’s adorable comics celebrate fur-parenthood and the extreme love you experience when you look into your dog’s eyes. If you are never alone when you go to the bathroom, are forced to share your food, and find your life ruled by a sassy fur ball, Living With Mochi is the perfect book for you.

When architect-turned-cartoonist Gemma Gené first met her pet pug, Mochi, she felt as if time stopped. This dramatic moment and her adoring relationship with the rambunctious pug led her to begin chronicling her adventures with Mochi in a series of incredibly cute webcomics that have gained a social media following of half a million loyal readers. The comics chronicle Mochi’s life from puppyhood to adulthood, featuring Mochi’s unrequited dog friendships, his jealousy of his two dog-brothers, and his love of food. Readers and dog parents will love this humorous tale of a sincerely loyal friendship between one grumpy pug and his adoring owner.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was so adorably cute! I’m not a pug owner and am pretty solidly in the cat camp, but as someone who loves pet in general and has owned both dogs and cats in the past, this was wonderful. It perfectly illustrates pet and owner personalities and interactions. If you’re a pet owner or love animals, you will likely enjoy these mostly single page comics about Mochi the pug and his humans. This is definitely a great read if you’re looking for something to put a smile on your face.

Happy reading!

Review | The Hazards of Love Vol 1 by Stan Stanley

The Hazards of Love follows the story of a queer teen from Queens who makes some mistakes, gets dragged into a fantastical place, and tries to hustle their way back home.

Amparo’s deal with the talking cat was simple: a drop of blood and Amparo’s name to become a better person. Their mother and abuela would never worry about them again, and they’d finally be worthy of dating straight-A student Iolanthe. But when the cat steals their body, becoming the better person they were promised, Amparo’s spirit is imprisoned in a land of terrifying, flesh-hungry creatures known as Bright World.

With cruel and manipulative masters and a society that feeds on memories, Amparo must use their cleverness to escape, without turning into a monster like the rest. On “the other side,” Iolanthe begins to suspect the new Amparo has a secret, and after the cat in disguise vanishes, she’s left searching for answers with a no-nonsense medium from the lesbian mafia and the only person who might know the truth about Bright World. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was really intrigued by the premise of this one so though I would pick it up. The art style was vibrant and punchy and had me instantly enjoying it but I did find the story a little hard to get into. It starts with action off the bat and the introduction of Bright World is like being thrown in head first. This made it a little hard for me to understand at first, but as the story goes on we learn along with the main character as they navigate it and it definitely picks up. The second half was more and more enjoyable as it went along and I was a little bummed when I reached the end. Though the first half definitely was slow for me, I would be eager to read the next volume to see what happens!

Happy reading!

Series Review | Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Hey everyone! If you read my post in January about the series I wanted to complete in 2021 one of them was the Locke and Key graphic novel series. I had already listened to the fully casted audiobook version a couple years ago, but I wanted to read the source material.

Overall I did enjoy the graphic novel series, and having the images added to the story I already knew was really nice. Some of the things described in the audiobook weren’t really easy to envision, so graphic novel was definitely the way to go in some ways. While I didn’t always love the art style, it didn’t detract from the story. There were definitely some things I had forgotten about.

I also recommend picking up Heaven and Earth (which is noted as book 7, but contains a few short comic stories and background information on the places that provided a lot of inspiration for the location. Seeing pictures of the town in Massachusetts that a lot of the locations were modeled after was great insight, as were the short stories featuring different generations of the Locke family.

I do recommend reading the series in its original form, but I also recommend the audiobook. It is fully casted and plays out like a movie, which makes it really enjoyable to listen to.

I’m glad I was able to complete the entire series and hope that this is a sign of finishing the other series that I set a goal for. Fingers crossed!

Happy reading!

Review | The Sprite and the Gardener by Joe Whitt and Rii Abrego

Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she’ll begin to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be. 

The Sprite and the Gardener, the debut graphic novel by Joe Whitt and Rii Abrego, is bursting with whimsical art and vibrant characters. Join our neighborhood of sprites in this beautiful, gentle fantasy where both gardens and friendships begin to blossom. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a heartwarming story about finding friendship and doing what makes you happy, this is a wonderful, whimsical graphic novel that will fit the bill. Though we don’t get a ton of insight into the other sprites as much as we do into Wisteria, they still come across as individuals. Wisteria’s need to do something and to have a purpose was very sweet and her creating bonds with others as the story went on was a great plot point. The story itself is very sweet and the art style matches that. Overall it was a great pick me up read that will leave a smile on your face.

Happy reading!

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!