Review | The Crumrin Chronicles Vol. 1: The Charmed and the Cursed by Ted Naifeh

In this new spin-off from the New York Times bestselling Courtney Crumrin series the powerful young sorceress Courtney Crumrin has battled against all manner of evil forces, but helping her little brother Will navigate high school might be the death of her.

To help Will Crumrin adapt to the mortal world after a hundred years in the twilight realm of faeries, sis big sister Courtney makes him a glamor charm that renders him the most popular kid in school. But he eventually finds popularity a prison, in which he’s surrounded by people who neither know nor care about the real him. When football star Ross, jealous of Will’s friendship with outcast Tucker, bullies her relentlessly, Will decides to turn him in, give up the false popularity of the charm. But Ross retaliates against Will, prompting Courtney to take revenge using magic. But her activity draws the attention of Emil Gorka, an ancient, powerful vampire.

Once driven into hiding by Courtney’s former mentor, Uncle Aloysius, Gorka has reemerged under the guise of a corporate CEO. Everyone in town works for him, including Courtney and Will’s clueless parents. But he wants Courtney, a powerful but inexperienced young sorceress as his servant. And to save Will from his dreadful bite, she must surrender herself. Now only Will, with the help of his best friend Tucker, can save Courtney from eternal servitude to the undead monster and his unquenchable hunger for blood and power. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I haven’t previously read the series that this is a spin off from, so I’m not sure if that would add more to this story or not. That being said I really enjoyed this first volume and felt like for the most part the setup was done well. I did wish that a little more was revealed about Courtney’s background earlier on, because I was unsure at first how she factored into the story/characters. Still, if there are further adventures ahead for Will and Courtney in the future, I did feel it was a good set up for him and their interactions. It was also a great journey for Will to come to a number of realizations about himself, people and magic. The art style was dynamic and kept the story moving, and I felt the color saturation and tones suited the story really well as well.

Happy reading!

Review | Isola Vol 1 by Brenden Fletcher

An evil spell has been cast on the Queen of Maar and her Captain of the Guard will do anything to reverse it. Their only hope lies on an island half a world away–a place known in myth as Isola, land of the dead.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost I thought the art and coloration were amazing and that’s really what piqued my interest in this series. The way the story starts you do kind of get dropped in partway, but the backstory is built well through flashbacks so that you know what has lead to the state the main characters are currently in. I really loved how the coloration changed depending on the environment or character perspective. I definitely look forward to seeing where this series goes as the first volume definitely left some things as question marks.

Happy reading!

Review | Ghosted in L.A. by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan and Cathy Le

Daphne Walters moves to Los Angeles and finds that the only ones who can help her find love and live life to the fullest are the ghosts of her new home!

In Los Angeles, finding an apartment is killer—unless you live with the dead. Daphne Walters moves to Los Angeles for her boyfriend Ronnie, ready to live her happily ever after. But when happily ever after turns into happily for a month, she’s stuck in a strange city with no friends, family, or prospects for fun. Desperate to escape the lingering ghost of Ronnie’s presence everywhere, Daphne sets out to explore the city—and ends up encountering ghosts of a more literal kind! Rycroft Manor is abandoned, beautiful, and haunted. Will the dead be able to help Daphne find the life she’s been missing in the big city? From GLAAD Award-nominated Sina Grace (Iceman) and illustrator Siobhan Keenan (Jem and the Holograms) comes a story about learning how to make friends, find love, and live life to the fullest with a little help from some friends whose lives didn’t end at death.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I picked this one up I was pretty sure it would make me laugh and I was right. There definitely could have been more setup to the relationships that were already existing, but for the most part it is explained throughout the story. The end of the first volume definitely leaves a lot of things up in the air and questions unanswered, so it’s even more reason to pick up future volumes. I found the art style to also be very dynamic and easy to read, so it was a super fast read.

Happy reading!

Review | Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch

Beautiful, spooky, and utterly enchanting, Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch’s Grimoire Noir is a charming graphic novel about coming to terms with your own flaws and working past them to protect those dear to you.

Bucky Orson is a bit gloomy, but who isn’t at fifteen?

His best friend left him to hang out with way cooler friends, his dad is the town sheriff, and wait for it―he lives in Blackwell, a town where all the girls are witches. But when his little sister is kidnapped because of her extraordinary power, Bucky has to get out of his own head and go on a strange journey to investigate the small town that gives him so much grief. And in the process he uncovers the town’s painful history and a conspiracy that will change it forever.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was intrigued by the synopsis and my initial flip through of this book so I picked it up and flew through it immediately. I loved the art style and the way it really had that Noir feel, while also being mystical and spooky in some ways. I thought the way the story was woven and the characters that were featured really added to not only the main storyline, but also to the other secrets and mysteries that were revealed. The final twist was a total surprise and not something I suspected at all, so it was really well done. If you’re looking for something spooky and full of paranormal themes, with a touch of noir, check this one out.

Happy reading!

Review | Hopeless, Maine: Personal Demons by Tom and Nimue Brown

Trapped on an island off the coast of Maine, the people of Hopeless find life a little darker and more dangerous with every day that passes. The number of orphans rises continually, but who can say what happens to their parents? Plenty of the bodies are never found. This is not the stuff of happy, careless childhoods, it is instead fertile ground for personal demons. In Hopeless, the demons are not always abstract concepts. Some of them have very real teeth, and very real horns.

The island has been isolated for a very long time. Partly because of being small and forgotten, partly because the rocks and currents do not encourage visitors, Hopeless is surrounded by fog and overrun with nightmarish creatures, from small things with tentacles to demons and vampires. It’s a peculiar place. Here, almost anything can happen, from the weird and unsettling to the darkly funny. With a cast of freaks, nutters and the odd power crazed psychopath, life in Hopeless is seldom dull.

Hopeless is also about who you choose to be. The tale is a protest against apathy, and against the small evils that everyone takes for granted. The worst monsters frequently aren’t the ones with the obvious teeth–who are merely dangerous by nature–but the apparently ordinary people who choose to do hideous things.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As soon as I saw the coloring and art style of this one I knew I wanted to pick it up, that’s what instantly sucked me in. The styling is very gothic while at the same time having some paranormal and Lovecraftian touches. I did feel like this could have used backstory, or snippets here and there giving more of an explanation as there were definitely times I was a little confused. Still, I really enjoyed the imagery and mysteries that were slowly revealing themselves as I read. It intrigued me enough that I would definitely pick up the rest of the installments in the series.

Happy reading!

Review | Dragon Racer by Joey Weiser

On your mark, get set, GO! Dive into the graphic novel sequel to GHOST HOG from the Eisner Award-nominated creator of MERMIN full of action, adventure, and speed!

Following the events of GHOST HOG,Truff, Claude, and Stanley are joined by a new friend, Vern,as hegears up for the big race back home in DRAGON RACER! He’s never won the race before…but this could be his year! Vern’s been practicing and practicing, both on and off the road. But when the other racers start to tease the fast driving dragon about his abilities on the track, he’ll have to put the pedal to the metal and prove he’s got the speed and finesse to compete in this year’s race.

After the big race, a young racing fan falls ill and needs a doctor urgently. The only racer with skills off the road is Vern, and he’ll need Truff’s help if they’re going to make it to the doctor in time. Will Vern be able to face his greatest challenge yet and prove that he’s got what it takes behind the wheel to save the day?

Zoom into this fast-paced graphic novel full of friendship, teamwork, and believing in yourself. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This graphic novel was adorable, funny and heartwarming all at the same time. The colors are vibrant and dynamic and the art style is fun so it will definitely be a great read for younger audiences. I felt like the characters all have distinct personalities and there were so many different little touches that made then really individual. While the plot touched on some heavier topics such as everyone having different strengths and struggles, bullying and prejudice, these topics were lightly done which I also think will suit the younger audiences that this is meant for. Overall it’s a really fun story with some fantastic and adorable characters.

Happy reading!

Review | Pax Sampson Vol 1: The Cookout by Rashad Doucet & Jason Reeves

Pax Samson: The Cookout is the first volume in a new action-packed, fantasy trilogy that depicts a world struggling to find peace in the midst of threats, and a young superhero chef torn between following his passion and following in his family’s footsteps. 

When it comes to the kitchen, no one knows cooking better than twelve-year-old Pax Samson. He’s a hero when it comes to testing recipes and supplying copious amounts of Dragon Noodle Soup at his family’s cookouts. It’s tough being a master chef, though, when the rest of his family are world-famous superheroes, and they expect Pax to take up the beacon to keep the world safe with his telekinetic powers. 

Pax’s home planet of Soltellus is home to all walks of life, including humans, gods, as well as elves, orcs, dragons, sprites and other fantasy races known as the “Enchanted” all living in a modern society similar to our own. Among them is the Samson family, led by the fearless and mighty Grandma Samson, the greatest superhero to ever live and the person responsible for always saving Soltellus when trouble strikes. She’s been doing it for hundreds of years, but she’s ready for the younger generation of Samsons, including Pax, to step up. 

When the mad god Odin, long-time enemy to the Enchanted race and arch-rival to Grandma, resurfaces in another attempt to regain power, Pax will attempt to put his training into practice, but ends up just making things worse. Tempted to hang up the superhero cape and stick to the kitchen, Pax faces the toughest decision yet when a legendary savior of the Enchanted people arrives, along with a startling discovery that there might be parts of the Soltellus history that are wrong. Pax, determined to protect his family and friends, will do everything he can to stop the new threats set on disrupting the peace between humans and the Enchanted. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just the premise and cover had me wanting to pick this one up and I was not disappointed. While many may look at this like a fun, superhero story with mystical races and situations – it is far deeper than that. It hints to many real world issues that are prevalent today and the personal journey that Pax goes through is also a very real situation that many people have to work through. Deciding on your path and journey is something that pretty much everyone deals with and the conversations that Pax had with his family were real and refreshing. The color palette and art style went perfectly with the setting and scenes and were fun and dynamic. I definitely look forward to reading the future volumes and finding out what else happens with Pax, his family and friends.

Happy reading!

Review | Vampire: The Masquerade Vol 1

Immerse yourself in the hit comic series based in the world of the international best-selling tabletop role playing game, Vampire: The Masquerade!

When Cecily Bain, an enforcer for the Twin Cities’ vampiric elite, takes a mysterious new vampire under her wing, she’s dragged into an insidious conspiracy.

Will she be able to escape with her unlife and protect her aging, Alzheimer’s-afflicted sister, or will she be yet another pawn sacrificed to maintain the age-old secret: that vampires exist among the living.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was intrigued when I found that there was a new graphic novel series coming out of Vampire: The Masquerade, being someone who was familiar with the role playing game. While I did enjoy the storyline as it came together, I feel like this would be hard to get into for someone who didn’t have some base knowledge of the world. There isn’t a ton of backstory, but some clan information and world information is revealed throughout the story. I would be interested to see where the story goes and did like that there were game sheets in the back.

Happy reading!

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!