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Sekaiichi Hatsukoi: A Boys Love Story by Shungiku Nakamura

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Please note, this is going to be a manga series review!

Content/Trigger Warnings: Sex, sexual assault, rape, talk and scenes of depression, guilt, talk of toxic relationships, severe panic attacks and anxiety, scene of manipulation, scenes of intoxication

When Ritsu Onodera (a literary editor) resigns from his father’s company to escape his jealous coworkers and father’s shadow, he never expected what was coming next. When he’s hired by Marukawa Publishing, he never thought he’d be assigned to the shojo manga department and he certainly didn’t expect that his ex-lover(Masamune Takano) is his new boss. Later on, Ritsu learns that Takano still has feelings for him and tells him he will make him fall in love with him again. Through many obstacles and inner struggles, will these two find their way back to one another or will they drift apart forever?

Dearest readers, this is probably one of the few manga series that I have been reading and following for the longest. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is a series I constantly revisit and reread all the time. This is also an anime series that I often rewatch when I doing mundane things when I’m home. I have loved this series for so long and I finally decided that I really wanted to share my love for it with all of you!

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi follows our main characters Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano who were once lovers in high school, but now are now thrown into the new reality of being coworker and boss. While Ritsu is still torn up and heartbroken about their past relationship, Masamune still has feelings for Ritsu and will stop at nothing to make him love him once again. Throughout this story they’ll struggle from many obstacles and face their own inner demons. There are also a few side stories with other characters from the shojo manga department, Emerald, along the way.

I really love this story line and mainly because it’s one of my favorite kind of tropes. I love a good boss and coworker kind of trope especially between someone who is more of an alpha male with a more sensitive love interest. I love this kind of trope, it’s something I really enjoy reading about in romance, and this series definitely delivers with that trope. There’s also another trope in here between a client and agent, and I have to say that I enjoy that dynamic just as much. That dynamic is definitely different compared to our main relationship in this story. There’s a lot more of the alpha male taking care of the love interest compared to the main relationship of this story. So if you enjoy different alpha male personalities as well as more sensitive personalities then you’re going to love a lot of characters in this series.

Aside from the tropes, I really liked Onodera as a main character. I felt more connected to him as a character just based off a lot of his personalities traits. He’s sensitive, reserved about his thoughts and feelings, very hard working, he puts a great amount of stress and pressure on himself of doing things to the very best of his capability, and he constantly has panic and anxiety. He felt like a real person and a lot of his traits I found similar to my own personal habits and characteristics. Compared to Tanko who is very assertive, very blunt, doesn’t really take ‘no’ for an answer, and a leader. There were times where Tanko would feel to overly assertive or dominant in a situation so his character put me off at times and it became hard to see his as someone to relate or connect to.

As I mentioned above, we also get side stories as well from coworkers of Onodera and Takano. We have the side stories of Hatori and his lifelong friend (and manga artist he’s in charge of) Yoshino, as well as Kisa and the attractive bookstore employee, Yukina. And then there’s my favorite novel in this series with Takano’s longtime friend and salesman of Marukawa, Yokozawa who gets swept off his feet after a harsh breakup by an attractive widower and single father Kirishima. I truly loved all these side stories especially since we see so many different personalities and situations. Yokozawa’s story is my favorite of them all though because I love the concept of finding love after the death of your romantic partner or after a really harsh breakup. I also really love the concept of single parents finding love again. I get real soft and sappy about those type of stories because I do come from a single parent home and I want that happiness and partnership for my parent. So I really love and adore Yokozawa’s story and him finding love all over again. I also like that Kisa and Yukina’s relationship. Their relationship does have an age gap element, Yukina is 21-years-old while Kisa is 30-years-old of age. It really shows the struggles of an age gap relationship, but it also shows the importance of communication and how to make it work. I really thought it was sweet and I liked the positive way the age gap relationship was reflected in their stories. And as I mentioned before, the relationship between Hatori and Yoshino is another forbidden romance!

One thing I really want to mention with this graphic novel series is that it’s very different compared to the anime series. When I refer this series to friends, family, fellow manga lovers, I really express the difference between the two. The anime is very “vanilla” compared to the manga series. The anime has taken out insane amounts of details and graphic content that this manga series has within it. There have been scenes that have been made very innocent and leaves more room for the imagination whereas the manga series has a lot of intimate, sexual scenes, and a lot of more detail in those sense. Huge difference and contrast to one another. So if you’ve only seen the anime, but wanted to pick up the manga, just know that there is a big difference between the two.

Along with the difference of the manga vs. the anime, I also wanted to mention content and trigger warnings for this series as well. While I do have a lot of the content and trigger warning stated above, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge the problematic material of this series. Upon really deep reflecting and bouncing thoughts, I concluded that some of the intimate and sexual scenes can be taken as sexual assault or attempted rape. I know for a fact that in both the manga and in the anime series, there is a scene where Yoshino went over to his friend’s house and things took a completely unexpected turn. That particular scene didn’t sit well with me especially since it was followed up with a scene of assault. I have also heard other reviewers say that this manga series romanticizes sexual assault. I personally didn’t get that vibe from this series, but I do acknowledge that is how some readers may interpret certain scenes like that. Just beware of this content and please make sure that you practice self-care if you think this might be triggering for you.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series and it’s been one that I’ve been following for such a long time now. I’m very eagerly awaiting the drop of the thirteenth volume which is happening in 2020. I wish I could say more about this series, I really do, but I want to keep this as spoiler free as possible. I definitely recommend reading the manga over the anime first just because of the details that you can end up missing in the anime, but if you don’t want all of those details then the anime is the best way to get a decent idea of what the manga is like. And as I mentioned, please use self-care. Oh, I love this series so much and I love it with my whole heart! And I hope you, dear reader, give this series a chance especially if you like manga.

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Graphic deaths, graphic violence, grief, talk of suicide, talk of cheating, scene and talk of domestic abuse/violence.

“It shouldn’t matter what your parents did, just what you do as a person.”

Once there were twelve lovely sisters, sheltered and raised in the manor of Highmoor, but was once a home filled with love and chatter is now filled with loneliness as four of the sister have had their lives cut short. One death is more tragic than the last and there’s whispers that a curse has fallen upon the family of Highmoor. When some ghostly vision are soon brought to life, Annaleigh starts to suspect that her sisters haven’t died by accident. With the help of the mysterious Cassius, Annaleigh will uncover the truth behind the deaths of her beloved sisters.

Oh my gosh readers, I’m absolutely in love with this book in so many ways! I was really nervous on where I would fall with this book due to all the hype, but I’m happy to say that this book is worth all the hype you’ve been hearing. There’s so many wonderful elements, true sibling bonds, curses, and talk of gods and demi-gods! What more could you want in a book?! I’m just so head over heels for this book and I can easily say that it has made it’s way onto my top books for 2019!

We follow a main character named Annaleigh who becomes disturbed by the ghostly visions that are come to her youngest sister. Soon, Annaleigh is trying to uncover the secrets that are lying within the house and the people among it, and possibly the curse that looms over Highmoor. I loved Annaleigh as a main character! She was such a breath of fresh air when it comes to so many things. Throughout this book she never let anyone tell her how to feel and she stood her ground in what she believes. And the way she loves her siblings, regardless of how unreasonable they are or how they treat her, it was something I resonated with so much. I truly lived for Annaleigh’s character in this book.

“All the dreamers are castle-bound. At midnight’s stroke, we will unwind, Revealing fantasies soft or unkind. Show me debauched nightmares or sunniest daydreams. Come not as you are but as you wish to be seen.”

Speaking of characters, Cassius was a pleasant surprise! I never thought a character like him would be introduced into the picture, but I loved the way his personality and Annaleigh’s personality meshed so well with one another. They had such a great amount of chemistry. Whether they were interacting at Highmoor or they were interacting on the mainland, they really clicked for me. The way the two of them interacted was so good and their little moments together was such a highlight especially as the reading pace begins to pick up. He really becomes an anchor for Annaleigh and his presence was just a calming experience through the eerie and darkness of this book. I think he is definitely my favorite character out of this whole book.

And if I haven’t sold you on this book yet, with Annaleigh being her true self and the mysterious Cassius, then the atmosphere is definitely one you’re not going to want to miss. The deaths are terrible and tragic, the funerals are just as unnerving, and if that isn’t enough to send a chill down your spine then the thought of ghosts haunting a manor and the general history of the manor will. I constantly had a chill slithering up my spine as a read this book. There are so many parts throughout this book that are dark and twisted that will have you gaping as scenes unfold before your eyes. The atmosphere was rich with paranormal events, secrets and lies, and a creepy setting you won’t forget.

My only true issue with this book was one of the side characters by the name of Camille. Camille is currently the oldest living sister to Annaleigh and she’s to inherit Highmoor when their father dies. At first, I didn’t mind Camille’s character and I kind of shrugged her behavior off, but then her behavior and her actions became very repetitive. Camille is a very selfish, entitled character who constantly wants to go to the ball to find a man. She also never takes the times to listen to her sister and brushes it off as her being crazy or wrapped up in all the grief. Her behavior would happen at such inappropriate times that it almost became a distraction from the main story line. I think many readers will be furious or annoyed with her character and I definitely think her character has the potential to cause a person to stop reading this book altogether.

“Nights like this were meant to be shared, remembered, and talked about for years. Skies like this were meant to be kissed under.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was constantly on my toes trying to figure out who was behind everything or was it all some strange dream. I was fully engulfed in the story line and plot of this book. Plus that romance, it was subtle, but I was living for every moment between Annaleigh and Cassius! I really wanted to go into far more details than I have with this review, but I whole-heartedly believe this is a book you should know very little about. And besides, if you’re looking for a book to read during the autumnal season then I highly recommend this book.

Buddy read with Robin from Paperbacks and Planners

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Almost Home by Joan Bauer

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“sometimes a kid has to act older than they are”

Content/Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism, talk of animal abuse, homelessness, grief, loss of a loved one, hospitalization

Dearest readers, I’m not going to lie, I got a bit emotional with this book. This touched on a lot of hard topics that I have personally gone through and I was a bit sappy. It had even more of an impact since I was reading this during the month of November and feeling a bit homesick. All of that aside, this is such a heartbreaking yet hopeful tale that everyone should take the time to read.

Almost Home follows the story of twelve-year-old Sugar who just lost her grandfather, and her alcoholic and gambling father just ran off again, and now her mother has lost their house. Leaving everything she loves in Missouri, Sugar and her mother travel to Chicago in hopes of a fresh start. Only things aren’t that simple. Things have never been more rough or difficult to handle. But with the help of a timid dog named Shush, a loving foster family, a supportive teacher, and her love for poetry, Sugar will navigate her way through her hardships with her own grace and positive outlook. She’ll soon come to terms that while she may not be able to control everything happening in her life, she can control how she reacts.

“Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a person is to have a puppy lick your face.”

I really loved the main character of this book. I loved how we got to see her talk about her hardships and talk about how hard she works. I especially loved the way she talked about her poetry and her teacher. She has a very whimsical personality in this book and an even more positive outlook. You can’t help feel a little upbeat even though the circumstances for Sugar are hard and challenging. Despite everything Sugar goes through in this book, she does her best to handle everything with that positive outlook and the wisdom her grandfather left with her. But the bit I love most about Sugar is how real she is. There’s a scene in this book where Sugar ends up talking about how it’s all too much for her and having that little part of just showing how hard she’s internally struggling really made her real for my reading experience. This is kind of the part where I became a bit emotional because in my childhood, I too had to grow up really fast and reading these bits my memory flickers to life and goes “Oh yeah, I remember the time when it was like that.” So reading how hard Sugar was trying to be positive, be the grownup, but reading how much she internalized, it really pulled at my heartstrings.

This book has so many important points especially for a middle grade book, but I think out of everything this books offers, I love how it normalizes how animals can be more than a pet and just how truly magical they really are. Our main character goes through a lot of hardship and when she receives this little puppy, it seems like she has a friend who on her side through all these struggles. Shush becomes a beacon of love, understanding, and a source of comfort for Sugar as she handles her father reappearing, her mother struggling to get back on her feet, and trying to find all the normal among all the chaos. There’s also a scene where Shush is licking Sugar’s mother’s face during a depressive episode and how it restores a little happiness into her. As the book progresses, I love how important the representation of animals become in this book and how important they become for Sugar.

Unfortunately, I did have some issues with this book. My biggest issue was things seemed to happen so quickly. While the reading pace of this book is steady, it seemed a lot of conflicts or situations wrapped up incredibly quick or resolved almost instantly. And my final issue I think a lot of readers will have with this book is nothing exciting or shocking really happens in this book. I guess my issue was it became predictable. It was obvious Sugar’s father was going to come back into the picture, it was obvious that Sugar was going to get relocated to a loving foster family (even though reality doesn’t always work like that), and many other points in the book. I feel like this book had the opportunity to be a really emotional read, really dip into reality, and this just didn’t drive it all the way home for me like other books have.

“Almost. It’s a big word for me. I feel it everywhere. Almost home. Almost happy. Almost changed. Almost, but not quite. Not yet. Soon, maybe.”

Overall, this was a good, solid story to read especially this time of year if you’re feeling a little homesick or need a reminder to be grateful for what you have. And of course, as I mentioned before, this book has so many important topics! From homelessness all the way to how we cope hardships. I find that this is a great book to introduce to children to the reality many other kids their age face and struggle with every day. I also find this to be a great book to comfort those who are going through similar situations like Sugar. A beautifully heartbreaking story that every child should be introduced to.

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The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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Dearest readers, if there was ever a book I needed to find it’s way into my hands right now, it was The Witch’s Book of Self-Care. I have been severely lacking in the self-care department as of late and mental, emotional, and physical state have been suffering very harshly. I’m glad I picked this book up when I did because if I ever needed something or someone to say, “hey, are you okay?” this was the time for it. I’m truly grateful for this book and for allowing it to take myself into consideration.

So The Witch’s Book of Self-Care is basically a self help book with a witch twist on things. Broken down into five chapters that tackle very specific types of self-care. I’m going to do a quick spoiler free breakdown of the chapters and brief description of the chapters.

🍁 Chapter One – Self Care and Magic
This section gives you self care tips and talks about the different sources of magic they’ll be using in the book such as herbal magic, candle magic, meditation, and various others. It was a nice little overview of what to expect and it’s also a great introduction for readers who unfamiliar in this field.

🍁 Chapter Two – Mental and Emotional Self Care
This chapters talks a lot of affirmations and also introduces a daily five minute self care routine. There’s a lot of talk of getting into the habit of stretching, meditating, or simply drinking a glass of water. This was probably my favorite chapter throughout the rest of the book.

🍁 Chapter Three – Physical Self Care
This chapter focuses a lot on how stress has an affect on the body. There’s a lot of mentions of making sure you’re giving your body proper rest, staying hydrated, and there’s even a small handful of recipes in this section of the book. This was probably my least favorite section, but I really appreciated the recipes and the reminder to stay hydrated.

🍁 Chapter Four – Spiritual Self Care
This is the chapter that talks about our relationships, exploring one’s creativity, the celebration of the Divine, and the connections you make with the elements around you. This is the chapter is mostly meditation.

🍁 Chapter Five – Household Self Care
This last and final section focuses on maintaining your home environment and creating a positive and safe space for oneself. There’s a lot of talk of creating comfort, de-cluttering, and aromatherapy.

“I release this guilt to the universe. I invite peace and serenity to take its place.”

I loved how this book had a lot of wisdom to offer and had really solid advice. I’ll admit that not all of this book really caught my interest, but there was a lot this book had to offer that will be helpful to anyone who needs this book. The one thing I didn’t like was the repetition within this book. It might have just been my reading experience, but there were moments within this book that would feel similar to another section. It just had a looming presence of repetition. That was the only downside to this book. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read.

Overall, I think this is a good read for anyone who needs it and I know I certainly needed this. I’m grateful to have read this book when I truly needed it the most. If you’re thinking about picking this book then I say go for it. There’s a lot of helpful advice in this book and some of it is the simple little things that can slip through the cracks of life.

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No Tricks, Just Treats by Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, and Tara Sivec

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Toxic relationships, cheating, stalking, manipulation, mental abuse, drug addiction/drug abuse, alcohol abuse, talk of infertility, death/murder, graphic violence, implications of an eating disorder, body shaming.

Four love stories all wrapped up and bound in a deliciously fall book. Full of sweet moments, thrills, chills, and will leave you screaming.

Dearest readers, I truly wish I had loved this book as much as I did when I first picked it up. When I saw this book, my heart flew right out of my chest with the thought of some fall romance, let alone in a bind-up of four stories. Sadly, I’m disappointed, un-amused, and quiet frankly, I never want to pick this book up ever again. I wish I could have loved this bind-up, but this book just wasn’t for me.

Like with every bind-up, whether for graphic novels or books, I like to do a spoiler free breakdown (to the best of my ability). This breakdown will include all four stories, a brief description of the short story, my thoughts and rating of each story.

🍁 Fallen Crest Nightmare by TIJAN – ⭐⭐

Sam, Mason, and the rest of their gang enter a fun Halloween-themed weekend with pumpkin carving, a girls’ night out, and a haunted house―until things take a turn into something far more sinister than they could have expected…
Description from GoodReads

If you like a spin-off on the movies Scream, Sorority Row, and The Nightmare on Elm Street all mashed together, then this is a story you’re going to want to read! Sadly, this wasn’t quite my cup on tea. The biggest issue I had with this story was the “date rape” scene in this story. It was horribly cringey because all the girls were too drunk, drinks kept appearing at their table, and the main character of this story definitely had indications of being drugged, and the theme of the main character being drugged was a common theme throughout the rest of the story from that point. This story just didn’t sit right with me. I would have been fine if this story just stuck with the stalking element, but I was cringing by the end of this story.

🍁 So Much More by J. DANIELS – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Four couples from Alabama reunite on Halloween for an evening of thrills and chills. Between haunted mazes, sexy stolen moments, and good old-fashioned trick-or-treating, this Halloween promises surprises, shocks, and maybe even love for all.
Description from GoodReads

Out of all the stories in this book, this is probably my favorite of them all. I loved seeing all the diverse couples and reading about how each couple interacts with their lovers. I also loved how there was infertility representation in this story. I especially loved the way the character with infertility expressed her feelings and you really got a feel for the emotions she was having. The only thing I didn’t like was how the news was broken to the character with fertility struggles. I feel like it was a round-bout way of telling her and for myself, I would want to be told directly by my friend or in-law and not through someone else. That’s just my own two cents and with my own personal fertility issues. Overall, I really loved this story and it ended on such an endearing note!

🍁 Getting Down by Helena Hunting – ⭐⭐⭐

Ruby Scott wants to have a party! With the help of her best friend Amalie―and Amalie’s fiancé’s budget―the two of them throw a Halloween-inspired fund-raiser. But no event goes off without a couple of hitches.…
Description from GoodReads

This has two perspectives, one from Ruby and the other from Amalie. Out of all the stories, this story has the most intimate and sexy scenes in it. It’s a real good time and there’s some really hilarious moments in here. My biggest issue with this series is mostly with Amalie and her fiance. Amalie comes off as easily manipulated and in honesty, her whole engagement comes off as a toxic relationship of abuse. There’s a lot of moments of Amalie being body shamed, there’s a few scenes where you could consider that she has an eating disorder, there’s scenes of the fiance being overly possessive of Amalie where he actually starts to hurt her or causes her discomfort, and so forth. It’s just wasn’t a good time. However, Ruby and Bane’s relationship was a joy ride! All I have to say is Catwoman, Batman, and the supply closet. And this amazing quote!

I’ve shared the size of Bane’s cock with her. I’ve mentioned my new religion: the Church of Bane Cock. I’ve written sonnets about how beautiful it is. Not really, but I’ve made up a couple of limericks.

🍁 The Pumpkin Was Stuffed by Tara Sivec – ⭐⭐

The Holiday family is coming together for Halloween. As Sam and Noel prepare for their upcoming life with a new baby, their crazy family and friends pull out all the tricks and treats and jack-o’-lanterns to make sure this ghostly holiday is one to remember…or, will it turn out to be one they’d rather forget?
Description from GoodReads

Okay, let me grab my glass of wine for this. Let me start off by saying this, clowns. Clowns galore. If that’s you’re thing then you’re going to love this story, but as someone who has a bad association with clowns, this is not something I wanted to read about. My second issue was with the aunt. At first, I had no problem with this character until the scene where everyone was putting together the wedding goody bags. The fact that the drug addiction and abuse is so bad with this character that drugs got put in all the goody bags including the bags for the children just blew my mind. That was the point where I wanted to put this book down and never pick it up again. I don’t mind stories with a crazy and chaotic family, but the aunt diverts all attention away from the story. The only saving grace this story had for me was the ending. I think the ending brought a little happiness back into this story.

As an overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who isn’t familiar with these authors. Mostly due to the fact that this whole book feels like you’ve had to read other series that lead into this book. If you’re someone who is going into this book and you’ve never read anything by any of these authors, it’s really easy to tell that these characters have been established in past series. And just to clarify, it’s not that this book was bad or anything, I just don’t think this was the right book for me to read. I personally struggled with trying to get into this book, to find reasons to care about the characters, and there was just so many moments I couldn’t stop cringing at. But please, take my opinion with a grain of salt because this is my first time ever reading something by any of these authors.

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Spell on Wheels (Spell on Wheels #1-5) by Kate Leth & Megan Levens

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Toxic relationships, talk of mental and emotional abuse, talk of cheating, scene of grief, sexism

When three witches have their home broken into and some valuable, ancient, magical items are stolen, these three witches are about to saddle up on a road trip along the East Coast. On this road trip they’ll retrieve their stolen belongings, fight for one another and strengthen their friendships, help others, and track down the thief before any damage can be done.

Readers, what isn’t more perfect during the fall and spooky season than a book filled with butt-kicking ladies who are also legacy witches?! It too perfect! Plus, add in a road trip element and I’m sold! This was such a great graphic novel to read this fall and I truly enjoyed so many wonderful elements this book offers. If you need a great comic packed with action, female friendships, and magical elements that pair well with some hot apple cider, then look no further!

🎃 Characters 🎃

🎃 Jolene NguyenAbilities: Technopathic and emotional manipulation

🎃Claire BettanyAbilities: Psychic intuition, visions, reading the cards

🎃 Andy HighsmithAbilities: Mastery in spells, charms, and potions

In this five-issue, graphic novel bind up we follow three twenty-something legacy witches, Claire, Andy, and Jolene, as they take a road trip to reclaim their stolen belongings and prevent utter chaos from happening. On their adventure they’ll encounter many obstacles and become closer than ever with one another. There will be magical happenings, side characters that will capture you attention, and moments that will have you falling in love with our main heroines.

And if all of that hasn’t sold you on this graphic novel yet then let’s talk about how diverse this book is! We have a diverse cast from our main characters to our side characters. There’s also a f/f relationship between two middle aged women who both come from different martial situations and it gave me so much life! There’s also a strong support and theme of positive female friendships and I can’t get over it, we need more of this in books! I challenge you to pick this book up and not finding something to love about all of this!

As always, whenever I pick up graphic novels that are a bind up of multiple issues, I like to do a spoiler free breakdown of each chapter in my review. This graphic novel is a bind up of all five issues of the Spell on Wheels series and so this calls for a break down! I will keep this as spoiler free as possible and will only try to give enough details to intrigue your interest.

🎃 Chapter OneWe’re introduced to our main characters and we also follow the perspective of the thief who broke into the home of our main characters. This also causes the start of our main heroines deciding to take a road trip to recover all of their stolen belongings.

🎃 Chapter Two – Our witches have set out on their road trip and have arrived at their first destination to recover the first object on their stolen belongings list. We get a glimpse at what Jolene’s powers can do. We also see a moment of Claire and Andy have a disagreement during a party. As well our heroines’ challenges of finding the orb.

🎃 Chapter Three – Our main characters are still trying to find the identity of the thief while making their way to their second destination to reclaim a planchette. We’re introduced to our queer couple in this chapter and the struggles they’ve been having with a ghost. Also, something dark and evil intentions become revealed.

🎃 Chapter Four – Onward to three third destination, our ladies meet Paul or otherwise known as The Goat Man! If you’re a fan of Beast before he turns back into a prince then this is going to be the chapter for you! We see Andy’s abilities come to life when she discovers some rare herbs the Goat Man has. We also get a lot of information regarding the thief and the challenges our main heroines were having.

🎃 Chapter Five – The final destination and the final obstacle for our witches. Claire will face down the thief that has caused her so much pain and grief, Andy will be thrown for a loop when the darkness finally reveals it’s true self, and Jolene will be the wall of support and unconditional love Clair and Andy need.

While I loved the majority of this book, there were two things that really prevented me from giving this graphic novel five stars and I think for many other readers it will be the same. My first issue is Claire. Out of all three main characters, Claire is probably my least favorite of the three. There were a lot of moments where I thought she was being reckless or over-reacted too much. There were two incidents that really did it for me where I just knew I was never going to to like her. The first incident was during the party where she came off as having a bad attitude the whole entire time and it almost felt like she instigated a fight with Andy. As much as I tried to give her a pass or chalk it up as “she’s not a drinker, so she’s probably not into party scenes,” that whole entire scene left a really bad taste in my mouth. The second incident was near the end when they finally caught up to the thief. Claire handles the whole entire situation with violence and high levels of aggression. I understand what the author was trying to do in this scene, but for my reading experience, it wasn’t executed very well and in the end it paint Claire in a really negative light for me. And my final issue with this graphic novel is the way it ended. This graphic novel ended in a way that it can make readers believe there are more to come in this series or there will be another volume. From the time I heard about this graphic novel to current time of writing this review, there have been no announcements of plans to continue the series or any plans in the future for more issues to come. I think the way this all wraps up and hints that there’s more to come is really going to impact the reading experience for how readers feel about this graphic novel.

Overall, this was a really fun book to read for the spooky season! So many witchy vibes and magical elements thrown into this graphic novel. Along with so many great elements that really set the mood! If you’re looking for a quick read to set the mood for the eerie, spooky goodness of October then this is a comic book you’re not going to want to miss!

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Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of abusive parent figures, captivity, grief, loss of loved ones in the past

“I always thought they were so sweet together.”

Dearest reader, I completely fell head over heels for Mooncakes! From the black cats to the witchy magic, to unconditional family love and found family love, to the struggles of becoming the person who you want to be and on your own time, to wise butt-kicking grannies, to the cutest F/NB relationship I have been waiting for, my heart is so full and I’m so in love with this graphic novel! My heart is so full!

When news of strange activity happening in the woods reaches Nova, she ends up following a white wolf into the forest. Not knowing what to expect, she certainly wasn’t expecting a demon horse to appear out of nowhere fighting her childhood best friend and crush. Teaming up together (and some witch-tastic grandmas), Tam and Nova will help one another, but find each other all over again. And soon, they’ll uncover the dark intentions lurking in their own town and real power of werewolf magic.

Aside from all the paranormal and magical goodness happening in this book, the characters will have you falling in love. Our first main character is Nova who’s Chinese-American who’s still coping with the death of her parents, while also living with her two grandmothers (they are seriously the cutest), and is also hearing impaired. And our second main character is Tam who’s also Chinese-American, is nonbinary and a werewolf who grew up with Nova, but recently left their family for mistreatment and for unkindness.

If you still haven’t fallen in love yet then let me add on with both of our main characters are young adults who are still learning and discovering things about themselves, both together and separately. Both Tam and Nova are dealing with hurt from their parents and even though they’re both two different kinds of hurt, they’re both supporting one another through their struggles and challenges with unconditional love. Unconditional love is one of the most powerful forces and it’s so beautiful to watch these two characters connect with one another is so many ways. It’s beautiful, powerful, and my heart is still melting and sobbing from how this graphic novel concludes.

Overall, I’m always here for a queer book with magical elements and paranormal activity, sprinkled with lots of family bonds and unconditional love. This was everything I wanted for the fall season and I’m so glad that I picked this book up! The representation was fantastic, the artwork is absolutely stunning, and magical/paranormal elements are so good. If you’re looking for some cute, full of meaning and underlying messages, and something quick to pull you out of a reading slump then you need to read this book before the fall season is over with!

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