Another Kind – Graphic Novel Review

About

Tucked away in a government facility nicknamed the Playroom, six not-quite-human kids learn to control their strange and unpredictable abilities. Life is good–or safe, at least–hidden from the prying eyes of a judgmental world.

That is, until a security breach forces them out of their home and into the path of the Collector, a mysterious being with leech-like powers.

Can the group band together to thwart the Collector’s devious plan, or will they wind up the newest addition to his collection?

Thoughts

Wow! Okay, I just want to start off by saying how perfect this graphic novel was. I loved the illustrations, I loved the writing, I loved the characters. There isn’t one thing about it I didn’t love.

I would totally recommend this to an older tween-teen probably kids around like 11 (grade 6) and up, since there is a bit of mild language, and violence that I would compare to something like Pirates of the Caribbean. The violence is hinted at in certain situations, versus shown, so it is definitely a kid friendly book, but for example…and I’m trying not to spoil it because this book was amazing and super fun…it’s like the car crash at the start of the book. They don’t make it where it’s super graphic or violent. You’re worried about the characters, and people are hurt, but it’s like rated 10 and up kind of PG violent. I hope that was a clear explanation?

Maggie was so cute! Oh my goodness. I loved Maggie so much! I would give Maggie a million stuffies if I could, after all these kids went through.

Omar and Sylvie showed their affection for the younger kids so well. This is probably one of my favourite found family books that I’ve read in a long time.

Omar tried to be calm and collected, always trying to do what he felt was best, and was very patient and understanding with the little kids, despite him being a kid himself. I won’t spoil it, but I believe based off of his backstory, he was equipped to handle Maggie’s outbursts, and took the time to listen to Newt and Jaali.

Everyones backstories made me cry except Maggie’s. Her’s was epic, and colourful and I loved her imagination.

Now Sylvie on the other hand was a lot harder on the other kids. Sometimes brushing them off with sarcasm, but it becomes very clear that she adores them. They’re her family, and she just wants them to be safe and happy. Again, like Omar, the way to treats the others and interacts with people is based on her early years and upbringing. His although resulting in him ending up at the playroom was mainly positive, whereas hers was very negative from day one. She didn’t have any real exposure to love until meeting the other kids in the playroom.

Newt was so cute! I loved them so much. Sweet little Reptilian Cinnamon Roll Techy. I loved their friendship with Jaali. They bickered at times, but it was because they cared about each other. I liked how although Newt, being a Reptilian was raised to ignore things like affection or compassion, this kid has the biggest heart. Newt is so kind, and caring, and their love for homework made me laugh so much. What a precious little bean.

Jaali’s backstory made me cry. Like…I loved this kid. He was literally a big teddy bear. And again, I loved the way Jaali acted like a best friend and older brother to Newt, who clearly needed someone who just loved them for who they were. Jaali was incredible with Clarice as well, and was really only hard on the other kids when he had to be. He’d been through a lot, so it only made sense that he would be striving to get back to that positive, and loving environment he grew up with.

Clarice! Okay, so I absolutely loved that Clarice was a selki. Like yes! Clarice’s facial expressions and body language were used to effectively throughout the story. I love how over time she warms up to the other kids, being the newest one to join the playroom. Sylvie initially is pretty tough on her, but eventually is doing everything she can to protect Clarice and keep her safe. Newt and Jaali were also incredibly sweet to Clarice throughout, always encouraging her and looking out for her when she got hurt, and you could tell that she grew to adore being a part of their family.

Ooh, and there was a Romeo and Juliet reference. I loved that so much. It also gave insight into the other groups and families within the story, and heightened the importance of community.

This book was so good. Seriously. Like, I will be recommending it to everyone. It’s my new favourite. I almost wish it was a series because I just want to read it over and over again. I feel like this is my new Scott Pilgrim or Ao Haru Ride. Like there’s a charm to it, where you just never want the story to end. You want to know more about the characters, and see where life takes them…but I also wouldn’t change a thing about how Another Kind ended.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I gave this book a full five stars. I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. I saw it on the shelf, went “Ooh this is a cool cover,” started flipping through the first few pages and went. “Oh my gosh…this is really good!”


Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe – Children’s Graphic Novel Review

ABOUT

Talented illustrator and author Shauna J. Grant, of http://www.shaunadraws.com/ introduces young readers to Mimi, a fun, fantastic little girl with a very big problem: everything thinks she’s just too cute!

Mimi wants others to see the other things about her, that make her special, and with the help of her magical toy dog Penelope, she does everything she can to try and change their minds…

Will she be stuck in this cute-astrope forever, or will others see her for who she truly is?

But that’s not all! She’s also a loyal friend and fun playmate, who has the best adventures with

THOUGHTS

Thank you Scholastic for providing this ARC.
I absolutely loved the illustrations for this book! When I saw the cover, I was immediately reminded of Pretty Cure, which was one of my favourite series as a kid.
The story itself was wonderful, especially since Mimi is super relatable. I can recall when I wondered whether being considered “cute” was a bad thing, and tried to make myself seem more “cool” like my older cousins and friends…even though I absolutely adored my stuffed animals and other cute things.
I think that exploring the thoughts and emotions that Mimi faces in this graphic novel, is an excellent way for young readers who are most likely facing similar situations, to try and understand what they’re going through.

I know I would’ve loved having a character like Mimi when I was growing up, especially since many of the books and films I grew up on weren’t much in favour of the cutesy aesthetic, and leaned more towards encouraging young children to be strong, as if those two things couldn’t go hand in hand. Here, Mimi proves the opposite, that you can still love what you love, and be loyal, strong, and brave! I think that’s a very important message for young children (and grownups too). We are more than what others perceive us as.

Another thing that I really want to mention is how precious Mimi’s friendship is with Penelope!

I had my very own Penelope growing up, who I used to take everywhere with me. To this day, I still have her.

Mimi shares her thoughts and feelings with Penelope, and even considers that in order to stop having others perceive her as cute or baby-ish she needs to stop playing with her favourite toy.

I can recall being teased about my stuffed animal by some kids in my class, and placing her in my trash bin (super dramatic I know), but then I felt lonely without her, and decided to rescue her. I didn’t care what the other kids thought about her anymore, because she was important to me. See, I used to be incredibly shy, and she helped me feel comfortable when I changed schools, or whenever I struggled to make friends. Just knowing she was close by in my backpack, was enough. She was…is…dear to me, and despite being a toy, really gave me an outlet to work through some complex emotions and situations as a child. I changed schools four times during our move between grades 3-4, and had to keep remaking friends, which at the time was extremely difficult for me. I wanted nothing more to go back to my old house and school, where my teachers all knew me and people actually pronounced my name properly haha.

Another thing that really got me was that Mimi has bubbles in her hair! As a kid, I absolutely adored these, and recently I found a doll with bubbles in her hair for my niece and went bonkers. Like, bubbles and beads were my favourite because it was like fashion for my hair…and until high school…and really more-so into my adult years, we weren’t really encouraged to experiment with our natural hair. It was always pulled back into a tight bun…but when I got to wear bubbles in my hair–I had these orange ones with teddy bears that had googly eyes–my mom would give me Pippi Longstocking braids…or that’s what I called them. It was my favourite thing in the world. Seeing Mimi with her hair like that on the cover made my day!

Mimi is such a sweet character, and I loved seeing how she grew throughout the story, and interacted with her friends, family and neighbours. I can’t wait to see what adventures she has going forward, and I look forward to seeing this book on shelves this July 2022!

RATING

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Perfect for ages 6-8!


Daughter of Black Lake – Book Review

About

It’s the season of Fallow, in the era of iron. In a northern misty bog surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, a settlement lies far beyond the reach of the Romans invading hundreds of miles to the southeast. Here, life is simple–or so it seems to the tightly knit community. Sow. Reap. Honor Mother Earth, who will provide at harvest time. A girl named Devout comes of age, sweetly flirting with the young man she’s tilled alongside all her life, and envisions a future of love and abundance. Seventeen years later, though, the settlement is a changed place. Famine has brought struggle, and outsiders, with their foreign ways and military might, have arrived at the doorstep. For Devout’s young daughter, life is more troubled than her mother ever anticipated. But this girl has an extraordinary gift. As worlds collide and peril threatens, it will be up to her to save her family and community.

Set in a time long forgotten, Daughter of Black Lake brings the ancient world to life and introduces us to an unforgettable family facing an unimaginable trial.

Thoughts


Wow! Cathy Marie Buchanan has done it again!
I absolutely loved reading about Hobble, Devout, and Smith. The story was so vivid. I was constantly filled with wonder, and anxious of what Fox would do next, and what secrets were kept in the past.
I also loved the way the chapters were split, with Devout’s written almost as if they were being seen by someone else, in third person because they happened in the past, whereas her daughter Hobble’s were written in first person, present day. I thought that this made the story stronger, and it also allowed the reader to get a clearer picture as to who Smith was through the eyes of both his wife, who had known him since he was a boy, and his daughter who could tell his every thought just by looking at him.
I loved each and every character in this book, and was definitely drawn to Smith, despite him not having a perspective. It was clear how much he cherished his family, and wanted to keep them safe, making decisions that could put himself in grave danger.
The way the suspense was built up in this story was also fantastic! I was constantly worried about what might happen to this family. I don’t want to spoil anything but it was definitely a thrilling read.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for this talented author!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

April Novel Update

Back in October of 2020 I wrote a post about what real life books the cast of Vermin might have on their bookshelves. It was […]

We Have Our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Vermin giveaway contest on Goodreads! We’re thrilled to announce that we have our four winners, and I personally […]

Let Me Save You – Review

About

Seventeen-year-old Nila Izawa’s life in small-town Japan is orderly, simple, expected. On the walk home from school before winter break, Nila finally sees that she is crumbling under her mother’s strict expectations, both of them fueled by resentment towards Nila’s absentee father. Nila reaches for the courage to break free, but her fear of failure is overwhelming.

Wavering on the edge of stability – and adolescence – rude, annoying, beautiful Kai Kento’s insults, at last ignite Nila’s resilience.

Thoughts

This novel reminded me of some of my favourite emotionally charged shojo series like We Were There and Peach Girl. I think the reason Peach Girl kept coming to mind was because Nila’s father called her Peaches growing up.
The doll house thing made me cry so much. I also built one with my dad as a kid, and I could understand how Nila must’ve treasured doing something so special with her dad. I won’t say anything more about it because I don’t want to spoil anything.
I loved all of the character’s in this novel! I especially drawn to Kenji as he developed throughout the story. I think Kida was my favourite side character. She gave off cool big sister vibes, despite being Nila’s best friend, and she almost reminded me of a combination of Claudia and Stacey from the Babysitter’s Club. She was just cool, and it was obvious her and Nila truly cherished their friendship.
I cried throughout the last half! So much happened. I felt like I was right there with Nila, throughout all of the chaos…Nila’s voice was so clear throughout the story. You could sense her anxiety, joy, and defensiveness within each chapter. There was such a clear reasoning behind her actions, and her initial hesitance with Kai. Even her frustration with Kida, which I’ll be vague about to avoid spoilers, was understandable. Nila was hurt by the very people who were supposed to love and protect her, and although she responds differently to situations and people than her brother Kenji, who is more abrupt and rash, it is clear that the two of them need to lean on each other along with the love and support from Kai and Kida to pull them through. Nila is a force. I loved her story so much. She really blossomed as a character.
Kai was cheeky in a good way. He was adorably sweet. He really pushed Nila to come out of her shell and I don’t think it would’ve been possible if he hadn’t been so open and charismatic. Kai’s very upfront and forward, whereas Nila’s more reserved and in her head about things. I loved how honest he was with her, and how the two of them grew together. It was so cute watching Nila fall in love with him.
Lindsey-Anne Pontes did an incredible job of capturing those glittery…petal covered, panels you might see in a shojo manga, and also included some of my favourite tropes from the genre! It was so cool how she created the feeling of reading those emotionally raw scenes in this medium. Especially with the flashbacks!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of manga like We Were There, Orange, and Mars or coming-of-age novels such as The Steps or Star Girl. I think you’ll adore this book.
The ending was extremely satisfying!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Anonymous Noise Vol. 2 – Review

About Nino Arisugawa, a girl who loves to sing, experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino […]

Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Tale (Full-Color Edition) ARC Review

About

In Disney’s live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful, and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. Soft, warm, bright colors show Belle’s optimistic view of the world in this full-color manga-style graphic novel, which explores Belle’s innermost thoughts as she learns that true beauty comes from within.

Thoughts

Just as lovely as The Beast’s Tale. I found this one leans in more towards the live-action films dialogue and plot points versus how The Beast’s Tale blends both films together, but it was still enjoyable to read.
What I loved about both stories is that the reader gets insight into what both Belle and the Beast are feeling in each of these scenes. It’s really sweet, especially when they’re read back to back.
Gaston seemed like more of a jerk, if that’s even possible? He was almost comedically irritating, which was fantastic because I really think that was needed without Le Fou singing his praises throughout like he does in the films.
Pulling attention away from his character in the last book was a bit confusing, mainly because of have the films memorized, but I almost wish that in Belle’s version they kept the scene where he ends up face down in the mud after his failed proposal. He’s a character you love to hate.
Overall I really liked Belle’s narration, and seeing the progression behind her and the Beast’s growing relationship. Oh, and the iconic “I love you” scene, I was so happy it was included!

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – The Beast’s Tale (Full-Color Edition) ARC Review

About

In Disney’s live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful, and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. Dark, cool, muted colors show the Beast’s pessimistic view of the world in this full-color manga-style graphic novel, which explores the Beast’s struggle as he tries to move on from his past and learn what it is to love.

Thoughts

I liked how the manga blended both versions of the movie, animated and live-action, and managed to keep and pull together many of my favourite scenes. Beauty and the Beast has always been a favourite of mine, and I think this manga is an excellent introduction to the story for those who haven’t watched any of the films yet, or a great gift for readers who are, like myself, absolutely obsessed with Disney.
I enjoyed the artwork, and thought the backgrounds were really lovely. It’s unusual for me to read a manga in full colour, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it’s because the story is set in France but the way the Beast’s half of the story is set up, made me think of the popular anime The Rose of Versaille, which is also a favourite of mine.

I felt a few key, or iconic scenes and characters being absent pulled me away from the story a bit, but I realized that because this is the beasts perspective, he wouldn’t have known about Gaston or the towns people until they arrived at the castle. So I think if I were to go back, I would read Belle’s story first and THEN the Beast’s.
Overall well done, and I can’t wait to read Belle’s half of the story.

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you Disney Manga and Tokyopop for giving me the opportunity to review this series. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I was accepted to review both books in the series. Thank you so much!

The Beasts Tale is set to release in March 22.

Falling Drowning – ARC Review

About

Honatsu just started her second year of high school, and already rumors are floating around that she’s dating her childhood friend, Toma. While Honatsu isn’t totally opposed to the idea, she’s not sure what she feels for Toma can really be called love. But when aloof transfer student Shun Tachibana appears, the waters get even muddier… How does Shun connect to the past she can’t remember? And can Honatsu decide what she truly wants, when her head and her heart are pulling her two different ways?

Thoughts

I fell in love with this manga by the end of the first chapter! It was absolutely perfect. I loved the dynamic between each of the friends, along with the smooth character introductions, and how I was instantly introduced to the plot without too much backstory or exposition.
I loved the art, and character designs as well. I was drawn to the book based on the title and cover art, was incredibly pleased to find that this was both a romance and mystery. I liked reading about the authors creative process in between the chapters, and had fun imagining what this first volume would’ve been like had it followed the original mystery-drama idea. I’m super glad that’s still in there because it is a genre I absolutely adore!
I don’t want to give any spoilers but I’ll definitely be buying a copy of this book once it’s available at my local bookstore!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thank you Netgalley for providing a copy of this ARC. Falling Drowning is currently available for purchase at book retailers as of Feb. 8, 2022.

A bit of Rambling After A Lot of Tea

So far the new year has gifted me with wonderful literature. I’ve read dozens of books and haven’t dnf’ed a single one. I’ve actually enjoyed the majority and given many of them 4 and 5 star ratings.

Tonight I plan on reading, as I always do, and I’m finally at a place where my TBR pile is nearly finished so I can actually go out and get some new books. I actually borrowed books for the first time in forever, and finished both the day I got them! They were both equally stunning, and memorable. I’m so glad they caught my attention. I can’t wait to choose my next handful of reads. Of course, there are also a bunch of books that I’m excited to check out this year. One in particular this summer, that I’m definitely going to pre-order. I’ve got a little collection of this authors work going, and thus far she has yet to disappoint me. I’ve definitely got to lend some of those books to the readers in my family. I think they’ll really enjoy them.

I’m a bit wired, despite it being late in the evening, but I’ve had a lot of tea…like three or four cups? I lost track at some point. I tried exercising to help myself calm down a bit but I’m still wound up. I’m usually like this after I record or write…I get really hyper and excited. I suppose excited is probably the best way to describe it.

Oh, right! On that note, I’m pleased to announce that the Vermin book giveaway is officially underway, and people can enter on March 1st. I’m so excited to be doing a giveaway during my birth month. It makes it all the more special. For this giveaway, we’ll be giving away four signed copies, to people who have added the book to their list on Goodreads.

The other day one of my best friends told me that another friend of hers got a copy of my book, which made me super happy! It was so sweet of her to recommend it to someone, and I always love hearing peoples feedback. Plus a few of her friends are local authors as well, and I absolutely love supporting my fellow authors. Many of the authors I’ve met so far are YA and Children’s Lit authors, which is awesome because I still read those genres both in my free time and for work.

The sequel for Vermin still doesn’t have a title yet, but I have to say I am absolutely in love with certain scenes. It’s so hard not to talk about it and gush over things because I want to…but I don’t want to spoil it for new readers! I hate having books spoiled for me. I’ll be sure to share the link to the ARCs when the time comes. I believe these will be digital copies like last time? They should work on kindles. I don’t have a kindle or kobo currently, and read most of my ebook ARCs using an app on my computer called Overdrive. I think it also allows me to sign out library books? So if anyone is ever worried about that, it works really well, and makes it easy to keep track of page numbers, chapters etc.

I’ve actually got a few ARCs to complete before the end of February…I believe those books are releasing mid-March, so I definitely want to get my reviews out by then. I highly recommend checking out review sites that offer ARCs like Netgalley, ARC Reviewers or…there’s another one I’ve used but I can’t recall the name. It might be linked with Reedsy? Anyway, I like all three and I’ve found some really great books on there. I love the fact that I can explore a bunch of new genres, or get to check out debuts, and new series. Plus writing reviews is really fun for me.

I only annotate books with sticky notes and things occasionally. Mainly because I don’t like writing on the actual pages, so instead I’ll write down words or phrases that stick out to me or my favourite things in a notebook. I also developed a skill growing up, where I’d memorize page numbers from where I left off in a book, and now it’s fairly easy for me to flip through and find my favourite passages. This was incredibly helpful whenever we had to do read aloud assignments in university, and explain what stood out to us about each passage. I think annotating everything I read, would make me feel like I was doing homework…but it’s still fun journaling. Perhaps I’ll set up an official book journal this year? Maybe I’ll start one next month.

I’ll share the links to those two ARC websites, for anyone interested in doing reviews:

Netgalley

ARC Reviewers

From these sites I’m currently reading Escaping the Caves, and a manga called Falling Down. As for already released books, I’m reading Let Me Save You, and A Sign of Affection Vol. 4.

Happy reading!

Far Sector #1 by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell – review

Summary

For the past six months, newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people. The city has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.

Thoughts

My friend recommended me this book, and I’m so glad he did!
First of all, the artwork was absolutely stunning. The panels were so detailed, the line art was fantastic and the colours…chefs kiss! Secondly, I’ve never read N.K. Jemisin before, but wow! The amount of world building and character development throughout, it’s no wonder they’re so many of my friends favourite author! I loved taking my time, going through each chapter and just admiring the beauty of this book. It’s one that really deserves a lingering eye, because it’s obvious how much work was put into it.

Although I didn’t include this bit in my review on Goodreads, I need to talk about Jo’s hair. The fact that the artists gave her multiple hairstyles, aside from her usual look…like girl has braids, buns, fros…and there was texture to it! You could see the texture in the images! This made me so happy. I love that she tied her head at night too, and that other black characters (or black coded in the case of the Nah or other species) had a variety of hairstyles. I don’t see this often in graphic novels. I mean, I get hyped at seeing hair that kind of looks like mine in a kids book. I’ve never seen it done to this degree of detail in a graphic novel! So as a member of the curly club, I’d like to just extend my deepest respect and gratitude to everyone who worked on this graphic novel. Again, this is just another layer of the amount of detail that was put into each and every panel!


I think the @At were my favourite species, mainly because of the whole cat memes thing, and the fact that they were called @At.

I also loved how there were parallels throughout the book between The City of Enduring and Earth, which created serious confliction in Jo. I think given Jo’s backstory, this really added depth to her character, and allowed her to make the right decisions. It was clear from the start, that Jo valued justice, and this is what made her such a great character to root for.


Overall this was a fantastic edition to the Green Lantern storylines, and I’m so happy my friend recommended it to me! I’ll also be checking out more of Jemisin’s work in the near future!