Review | Dryad Vol 1 by Kurtis Wiebe

The Glass family has spent thirteen years hiding peacefully in the sleepy forest settlement of Frostbrook where Morgan and Yale planted roots and raised their twins, Griffon and Rana. But secrets never stay hidden, and the entire Glass family find themselves the target of an unearthly attack on Frostbrook.

Now on the run from Muse Corp., they must flee to the massive city of Silver’s Bay to hide in plain sight. Rana and Griffon find themselves uprooted and answering for their parents’ mistakes. But, they’ll soon find that the past has a way of finding you, no matter where you run.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Though I haven’t read all of Rat Queens, I did enjoy what I have read of it – so I was eager to see this new series by the same writer. It would have been nice to get a little world set up, or backstory, but the world and story kind of unfolds as you read – so you’re learning about it along with some of the characters.

The art is great and suits the world and characters really well, I especially liked the color palettes used, especially in the different settings. I will definitely be checking out further volumes to see what happens to the Glass family in the future.

Happy reading!

Review | Delicates by Brenna Thummler

Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.

Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?

Delicates tells a powerful story about what it means to fit in, and those left on the outside. It shows what it’s like to feel invisible, and the importance of feeling seen. Above all, it is a story of asking for help when all seems dark, and bringing help and light to those who need it most. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having read and enjoyed Sheets I was excited when I saw it was getting a sequel and I have to say I enjoyed this one even more than I enjoyed Sheets. I think in this one we saw a lot of growth in Marjorie, as well as her learning who are really friends and who are not. Definite trigger warnings for bullying, suicidal thoughts and some of the behavior that is way too common in young teens. This one really tackled those difficulties head on and Marjorie gets kindof stuck in the middle having to decide if she will take sides or stay silent. There are a bunch of important lessons in here and I thought they were handled really well!

Happy reading!

Review | Candy Hearts by Tommy Siegel

A devastatingly funny view of how romantic couples are not on the same page

Tommy Siegel’s single-panel “candy hearts” cartoons are sharp-edged yet lighthearted observations of human romantic relationships. Each one brilliantly depicts the many ways in which lovers deceive each other and hide their true feelings from the world. In Tommy Siegel’s capable hands, this simple premise is incredibly relatable and very, very funny.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I picked up this one because the premise sounded humorous and like it would be a good palette cleanser from some of the other stuff I’ve been reading lately, and it was exactly that. These single page comments of candy hearts saying what they are really thinking and feeling in the moment. Be forewarned that there is some language, but if you’re looking for a very relatable laugh, this is a great one for it.

Happy reading!

Review | Gudetama: Surviving the Holidays by Wook-Jin Clark

Inspired by the worldwide hit Sanrio character and animated series star!

The holidays are tough! Between trying to find the perfect (affordable!) gift for your eccentric aunt, to reconciling this year’s failed New Year’s resolutions, to surviving air travel during the busiest time of year…we could all use a little help.

Thankfully, Gudetama, the apathetic egg, is here to help guide us navigate these treacherous times…even if you’re a bit lazy!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I saw this one pop up I just had to give it a read since I had enjoyed the previous installment where Gudetama hilariously gave love advice, while also trying to catch up on his napping. This one was very similar in that this time he was giving people holiday advice, ranging from how to make the holidays great for others to new year’s resolutions and more. There’s a lot of good sentiments and of course some of the storylines are hilarious as well as heartwarming. Though Gudetama just seems lazy and like he wants to nap, he still takes time to help the people who ask him to, even if it is just a few words of advice.

Happy reading!

Review | Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges

When seventh-grader Ash, his crush Eleanor, and their friends are transported to a girls-only imaginary world, Ash must come to terms with the fact that he may actually be a transgender girl. Full of wonder, humor, and heart, Girl Haven is the newest original story from the author of Lumberjanes.

Three years ago, Ash’s mom, Kristin, left home and never came back. Now, Ash lives in the house where Kristin grew up. All of her things are there. Her old room, her old clothes, and the shed, where she spent her childhood creating a fantasy world called Koretris.

Ash knows all about Koretris: how it’s a haven for girls, with no men or boys allowed, and filled with fanciful landscapes and creatures. When Ash’s friends decide to try going to Koretris, using one of Kristin’s spellbooks, Ash doesn’t think anything will happen. But the spell works, and Ash discovers that the world Kristin created is actually a real place, with real inhabitants and very real danger.

But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy. Ash uses he/him pronouns. Shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I found this to be such a lovely story, it opens a great narrative about gender as well as being a great adventure between four new friends. You immediately know what the themes of the story is about if you read the author’s preface, which I felt was wonderfully written.

I really enjoyed how different the characters were and how Eleanor especially worked towards being supportive and really buoy her friends up as they go on a fantasy adventure to not only answer questions but to save a special world. I can’t speak to representation or accuracy, but I really loved this story and it’s exploration of gender.

Happy reading!

Review | With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun by Hidekichi Matsumoto

Welcome to the Menagerie!

With both a cat and a dog, there’s double the antics, double the fun (and double the kibble!) but while Inu and Neko coexist peacefully, they have their own distinct personalities, which play out in unexpected, charming ways during these short-form stories.

Whether you’re a dog-person or a cat-person, there’s plenty to love about these homegrown sketches of daily life shared with four-legged friends!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This collection was super cute, with short manga comics detailing the behaviors and daily escapades of the author and their cat and dog. The two animals had two very different personalities, which is very evident in each little story. These were great vignettes into the every day life of pet owner’s, especially when there are multiple pets in one home.

I do wish some of the stories had been more connected or expanded upon, but I understand that these were meant to be short often single page glimpses. Still, it was fun to read and great for anyone who deals with cats or dogs on a daily basis.

Happy reading!

Review | The Sacrifice of Darkness by Roxane Gay

A tragic event forever bathes the world in darkness. Follow a woman and a man’s powerful journey through this new landscape as they discover love, family and the true light in a world seemingly robbed of any. As they challenge the world’s notions of identity, guilt and survival, they find that no matter the darkness, there remain sources of hope that can pierce the veil.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

On the surface this is a touching story about families and rising above through adversity, but really it is so much more. There is a lot of discussion about class, specifically the disparity between the working class and the wealthy, and how the working class can often be dehumanized. I loved the story as it progressed and how it told two timelines involving some of the same members of one family. The art style and colors used perfectly portrayed the world and it was easy to see the difference between the timelines because of the differing color schemes.

Happy reading!

Review | Secrets of Camp Whatever Vol 1 by Chris Gine

Eleven year-old Willow doesn’t want to go to her dad’s weird old summer camp any more than she wants her family to move to the weird old town where that camp is located. But her family—and fate itself—seem to have plans of their own. Soon Willow finds herself neck-deep in a confounding mystery involving stolen snacks, suspected vampires, and missing campers, all shrouded in the sinister fog that hides a generation of secrets at Camp … Whatever it’s called. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As soon as I saw the premise of this one I knew I wanted to give it a read. Spooky creepy summer camp and characters, that’s right up my alley! Overall this was a super enjoyable read and I’ll definitely want to pick up the next installment if/when it comes out.

In this story we follow Willow, whose pretty disgruntled about everything at the beginning. She doesn’t want to go to summer camp, she doesn’t like that her and her family are moving, none of it. At first Willow is a bit annoying in her attitude and behavior, she doesn’t want to be there so she seems like she doesn’t care about anything or anyone but herself. That does change over the span of the story as she and her new friends start to learn more about the island and its inhabitants. I did love the mythology/mystical elements that were thrown in, but did find myself somewhat wishing for more. I hope that the next volume includes more of that and expands on some of the characters we’ve met.

All in all this was a great spooky summer camp story that included all sorts of mythical creatures and the adventures of a ragtag group of kids as they try to solve some mysteries.

Secrets to Camp Whatever doesn’t come out until March 2021, but make sure to pick up a copy when it does!

Happy reading!

Review | Lemonade Code by Jarod Pratt

This is a fully illustrated graphic novel about a middle school super genius who starts a lemonade stand to fund his ultimate top-secret project, only to find unexpected competition right across the street when the new kid starts a rival stand.

Robbie Reynolds isn’t just a genius. He’s a super SUPER genius! But he doesn’t have the cash to fund his ultimate (and top secret) project. That’s why he’s opening a lemonade stand. Not just any lemonade stand: this one is state of the art, and his automatista can make you any flavor of lemonade your heart desires! Bacon, salsa, potato salad, dirty diaper—anything you want.

Unfortunately, Robbie isn’t the only one in the Lemonade Hustle. Daphne Du-Ri, his new across-the-street neighbor, has her own setup going, and something about her lemonade is resonating with people in ways Robbie’s can’t. Before the week is over, Robbie and Daphne are in a full-on Lemonade War.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The premise of this one sounded fun to me, and that was exactly what I was looking for. In this story we follow Robbie, who lauds himself as a super genius, and the story is the perfect example of the responsibility that comes with power. We follow Robbie as he competes in the realm of lemonade stands, his being super futuristic and able to provide any flavor and his neighbor, Daphne’s being classic lemonade. He’s determined to find out what she’s doing to bring in customers and make them so happy, sure that something nefarious is afoot.

This was a fun adventure that was full of quirky characters, friendly rivalry and many mad scientists – it was an enjoyable and fun.

Happy reading!

Review | Crema by Johnnie Christmas

Esme, a barista, feels invisible, like a ghost…. Also, when Esme drinks too much coffee she actually sees ghosts. Yara, the elegant heir to a coffee plantation, is always seen, but only has eyes for Esme.

Their world is turned upside down when the strange ghost of an old-world nobleman begs Esme to take his letter from NYC to a haunted coffee farm in Brazil, to reunite him with his lost love of a century ago. Bringing sinister tidings of unrequited love.

#1 New York Times Best-Selling cartoonist Johnnie Christmas (writer) and Prism Award Nominee Dante L. (artist) bring you a haunted tale of love, ghosts and coffee beans.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In this story we follow Esme who can see ghosts when she drinks caffeine, she has one ghost in particular that she regularly communicates with, but other than that her life is consumed with her job at a coffee shop. We don’t get a ton of information on Esme in the beginning, just a few tidbits, but it does build from there once she meets Yara and goes on a journey to find love as well as discover the truth about some characters they meet along the way. I definitely enjoyed the story itself, but it left me wanting more. I wanted more backstory and foundation on some of the characters. Overall it was a fun read and told a good story.

Happy reading!