Review: Fangirl, Vol. 2 (Fangirl: The Manga #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.

Full disclosure: I have not read volume 1 of this manga. However, I have read Fangirl, the novel that this is based upon, and have always been curious about this manga adaptation. I am familiar with the story so I was able to read and understand this volume without having read volume 1. 

If I could use one word to describe this book it would be cozy. It feels like such a comfort read, probably because the book is set during the fall/winter. It has those cozy vibes that makes you want to read this while curled up with a blanket and a hot beverage. 

I loved the art style. The illustrator specializes in black and white manga style and that is very evident. The art looks like a classic manga. The illustrator did a phenomenal job conveying all of Cath’s emotions. 

I liked that the manga followed in the book’s footsteps and used snippets from the Simon Snow books and Cath’s fan fiction. Since this manga doesn’t use chapters, it helped separate different parts of the story. Generally, I prefer chapters in manga to avoid it feeling like one long scene. 

Overall, this was such a warm and heartfelt read. I cannot wait to read the next one since this one ends on such a cliffhanger! 


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Review: Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron

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Rating: ★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Avon Books) for promotional purposes. 

Let me preface this review by saying that I am not familiar with Miss Butterworth. I’ve only read 1 Julia Quinn book (The Duke and I) and have seen both seasons of Bridgerton. I enjoyed both the book and the show. However, neither of those reference Miss Butterworth. Because of that, I did not know what to expect in regards to this story. Initially, I had thought it would be more Bridgerton-like. 

This was a very absurd graphic novel. It was sort of insane, but that was the point. The story was a little gruesome/morbid at times, which I was not expecting. I found the whole story to be a bit strange and I didn’t necessarily love it (nor did I completely hate it). It was just okay for me. I probably would have liked it better if I was more familiar with Miss Butterworth. 

The art style is very cute and cartoon like and worked well for the story. Like I said the book was a little morbid at times, but the art kept it more humorous and light. 

I did love the “In Memoriam” at the end. In case you didn’t know, the illustrator, Violet Charles, was Julia Quinn’s younger sister who tragically passed away in 2021. Julia wrote a beautiful tribute to her sister and I am glad that this collaboration between them was able to be published. 

Overall, if you know more about Miss Butterworth from Julia Quinn’s other books, you’ll probably enjoy this one! 


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Review: Crazy Food Truck, Vol. 1 (Crazy Food Truck #1)

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes. 

What a fun and crazy ride! Action, adventure, delicious food, this manga had it all. 

I loved the juxtaposition of the two main characters. Gordon is a gruff middle aged man running a food truck. Arisa, on the other hand, is a naive and very hungry girl. They don’t have much in common (other than the fact they both know how to fight and have mysterious backgrounds), but they have a dynamic that works. Gordon acts as a sort of quasi-father figure/protector to Arisa. 

Since this manga is titled Crazy Food Truck, I have to talk about the food. The pictures of the food looked so yummy! It made me so hungry. I also loved the “recipes” included at the end of the book. That was a fun touch. 

I enjoyed the artwork a lot, especially the fantasy creatures like the sand squid and puffer cow. There is quite a bit of nudity regarding Arisa’s character that sometimes seems unnecessary. However, there may be a reason for it since Arisa’s background is alluded to but not revealed. There is something “off” about her that could explain her constant nudity.  

Overall, I had so much fun reading this! I cannot wait to see what happens in the next volume. 


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Review: Tidesong

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was such a cute graphic novel! 

I’ve read Mooncakes, which is another graphic novel the author co-wrote, and loved it so I knew I needed to read this one. 

The artwork was of course amazing. The art was very adorable and was appropriate for the middle grade audience of this book. Additionally, the font was super readable. It was one of the clearest and most legible fonts I’ve come across in a comic book or graphic novel. Fun fact: the font is actually the author’s handwriting that was turned into a font. 

Sophie was a relatable character. I can see many kids relating to her struggles to learn magic and her feelings of failure.

I found the storyline to be very basic. I know this is middle grade, but the plot could have been more fleshed out. For example, the magic system between the witches and dragons could have been explored more. Also, the beginning of the book happened so fast. Sophie was on the train to her relatives super quickly with very little background information. 

Overall, I recommend this book to readers of all ages who love magic, witches, or dragons. This book also makes a great gift because it is a gorgeous hardcover! 


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Review: City of Dragons The Awakening Storm (City of Dragons #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a fun and wild ride! 

You can’t review a graphic novel without first talking about the artwork. The art in this book is colorful, vibrant, and full of life. It complemented the story beautifully. Additionally, the dragon illustrations were superb. They were depicted as fierce and majestic. 

The story was so entertaining. I’m a sucker for fantasy adventure quests. Plus, who doesn’t love a tale about dragons? At the same time, there was also a lot of heart and emotion throughout which gave the story some balance. 

However, the ending felt a little convoluted. There was a lot going on. Luckily, this is the first book in the series, so more will be revealed in the coming book. The end does set up the next book nicely. I am very intrigued to see it how unfolds. 

I also loved the characters. Grace and all her friends were fleshed out, dynamic characters. I was glad that their backgrounds were touched upon. It made them feel more real and relatable. 

Overall, this was a highly amusing graphic novel. It’s aimed at middle grade readers, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you’re a fan of dragons or Chinese mythology, be sure to check this one out!


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Review: Conquer the Day

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Design) in exchange for an honest review.

This was a strange yet inspiring book!

Essentially, this is an illustrated cartoon style book of affirmations. It features classic affirmations such as “I attack the day with energy and conviction” alongside tongue-in-cheek pictures. That particular affirmation was paired with the cover photo, showing an unamused, not ready to get out of bed person. This contrast and duality made the book very fun and relatable. I find typical affirmation materials to be a little too upbeat and saccharine, so I appreciated this take on affirmations. My favorite one was a doodle of a man wearing headphones and listening to the affirmation, “I am sexy and people want to be around me.” That one was hilarious and also resonated with me. 

I am not familiar with the author’s work (@PantsPants on Instagram and @Pants on Twitter if you want to check out his stuff), so this was my first exposure to it. I found the illustrations to be cute but also weird and sometimes disturbing (but not in a bad way). It’s unique to say the least, but it worked so well for this book. 

Overall, this was an amusing little book and would make a great gift! 


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Review: You Brought Me The Ocean

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review.  

This was a heartfelt origin story that tackles identity and sexuality. 

Prior to reading this, I had no idea who Jake Hyde (aka Aqualad) was so I had no expectations going in about his origin story. I was pleasantly surprised. The superhero element was a lot more subtle than I thought it would be. Jake trying to figure out the mystery behind his powers and coming to terms with his sexuality were both given equal weight. I liked that the book didn’t go too overboard with the superhero aspect because that could have easily overshadowed the coming-out story. 

The plot is very basic (it’s not the most exciting superhero comic you will read), but it works well for what the story was trying to accomplish. Sometimes less is more, and this book proves that. 

As for the characters, I loved Kenny. He was hands down my favorite character. I also loved the diversity in the characters. Jake is black. His best friend, Maria, is Latina. Kenny is Asian. The teacher, Mrs. Archer, is Native American. 

At first I wasn’t a fan of the artwork. I saw a sneak peek of this in another DC Comic and I was a little hesitant. The artwork seemed a little incomplete. But as I started the book and kept reading, I grew to love and appreciate it. There was actually a lot of detail in the sketches. I loved that at the end of the book there was sketches from the illustrator explaining the thought process behind them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this beautiful superhero comic and its coming-out storyline! #RepresentationMatters 


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Review: Gotham High

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Rating: ★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from DC Comics.

This graphic novel takes the iconic Batman characters and puts them in a high school setting. It reminded me a lot of the show, Riverdale. There’s mystery and lots of high school drama. 

What I really loved was the diversity. Bruce Wayne’s mom is from Hong Kong, which makes him half Asian. I found that so refreshing. There’s been so many versions of Bruce Wayne over the years and they are always white. It was cool seeing a Bruce Wayne that was different. Now I really want to see an Asian Bruce Wayne on tv or in a movie. I also loved that Alfred is now Uncle Alfred, Bruce’s gay Asian uncle (he even has a husband). 

The storyline wasn’t mind blowing in any way. It’s fairly simple and straightforward. It went by really fast and could have used a little bit more of development towards the end. 

The artwork, on the other hand, was amazing. It really popped and worked well with the young adult vibe of the book. 

Overall, this was a quick and entertaining graphic novel with beautiful artwork. If you are open to a different interpretation of Batman, give this one a try! 


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Review: The PLAIN Janes

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review. 

Please note that since this is an ARC, it only includes the first 2 installments and a sneak peek at the third installment. Therefore, my review is based only on these parts.

I really liked this graphic novel and the story it told. The book deals with many relevant topics such as terrorism and PTSD. I was happy that the book didn’t shy away with showing the mental effects that terrorism has on people. Jane’s mother is the perfect example of that. 

I liked how the girls came together to make a statement using art. Art is such an important tool in enacting societal change. 

I loved the artwork and stylization of the text. Both the illustrations and the text were clear and easy to follow. If you find graphic novels to be a bit distracting, you might want to try this one. 

I’m really glad that all the installments were put together in this book because they all come together nicely. For example, the first installment, “The PLAIN Janes,” sort of just ends abruptly. But the second installment, “Janes in Love,” really builds upon the first. I only got a sneak peek at the third one, “Janes Attack Back,” but from what I read, I think it will be a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, I enjoyed this graphic novel and am looking forward to seeing how it all ends.