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Midnight Poppy Land by Lilydusk

GoodReads|WebToons

Content/Trigger Warnings: Cheating, graphic violence, abuse, death, child abuse, trauma/PTSD, allusions to torture, loss of a parent, terminal illness (cancer), and plenty more!

Friends, I loved this! When I say I caught up on all the episodes in two days, I’m not kidding! This was so, so good and I was hooked immediately. I love anything that has the mafia within it. It’s one of my favorite elements in romance novels I don’t talk about that often, but I feel like I should (and stop feeling embarrassed by what I like). This is an on-going webcomic as of right now. New episodes get posted on WebToons every Saturday, which you can read for free HERE.

Poppy is just your every day book editor, doing the best that she can and living her life . Until one day she stumbles upon her boyfriend cheating which leads to a series of unfortunate events. She crashes in the country side, makes an unnerving discovery, and then on top of everything else, a young man returns her lost research paper to her… after her takes an embarrassing photo of her. Now without even trying, it seems like her life it starting to become more and more entangled with this mysterious man who genuinely can’t seem to stay away from her.

Let me just say that this book doesn’t shy away from events that occur within the Mafia. There are some scenes that are a big graphic, a bit concerning, and I’m not going to lie, you should take care of your mental health with some of the section because there’s a lot to unpack. With all of that being said, it’s fantastic. It builds the background of our love interest and the Mafia bodyguard, Tora, really well. It also helps paint a better picture of why Tora acts the way he does, says some of the things he says, and how he’s kind of been this protector of certain people within the Mafia from having to feel any wrath or take an punishments.

I also really love Poppy! She was a very pleasant surprise. In the beginning I thought she seemed very innocent and naive, but she’s a firecracker and I love her for it. She’s so intelligent and she’s so compassionate about those in her life or those who cross her path in life. And when she starts to really interact with Tora, her personality flourishes in so many ways. We see a side of her we don’t see with the other people she interacts with throughout the book. I also love how Poppy felt so realistic. There’s times throughout this book where she’d be dressed down and running late or she’d get so anxious about something and then be ready for whatever event, an hour early. Poppy is such a relatable character and I think many readers will enjoy her as the main protagonist of this story.

And can I take a moment to gush about the art work?! The artwork is absolutely stunning! I’m in love with how captivating each setting is. Even in the more darker, ominous scenes, the artwork sets the tone so wonderfully and I loved every second of it. My favorite was the intimate scenes between Poppy and Tora, though. The way the author made each moment soft, fluffy, and more intimate than what the comic shows… *chef’s kiss* I loved it so, so much.

Overall, I’m really loving this webcomic. I’m surprised I didn’t know about it sooner because I’m on WebToons every morning during the weekend. It’s like my weekend newspaper except it’s webcomics. Now I get to add this fantastic comic to the list of ones I read over the weekend and I’m just so excited for the next episode to be released. I don’t think I can recommend this enough. I definitely encourage you to give this webcomic a chance especially if you’re looking for fast paced, quick reads. And seriously, the artwork and story line is fantastic!

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Fence Vol. 2 (Fence #2) by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

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Other creators involved in the making of this comic bind-up include: Colors by Joana LaFuente, Lettering by Jim Campbell

🌻 Fence Vol. 1 – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Don’t think about winning. Winning is a distraction.”

I don’t think I could love a graphic novel series as much as I do with Fence. I read Fence Vol. 1 several times so far, along with rereading Vol. 2 several times and each time I read them I get goosebumps. Vol. 1 completely took me by storm and stole my heart so going into Vol. 2, I had insanely high hopes. I have yet to be disappointed with this comic series! Vol. 2 has been a wonderful addition to my every growing comic collection and Fence Vol. 3 can’t get here soon enough!

Unlike the first volume in this series, the second bind up focuses more on the tryouts and the various matches taking place. Everyone is being ranked based off their wins verses the other candidates. We learned in the first volume that Harvard has already been at the very top, but now Seiji has joined the top with Harvard. Nicholas, however, is still trying to climb his way up in the ranks. Despite these three characters, we get so many diverse match ups and see so many different sides to a lot of the characters they we were introduced to in the first volume.

If you thought I couldn’t love this series more than I already do, prepare for some really juicy moments with this graphic novel. From all the diverse match up to the moments of vulnerability, this second volume will have you melting into a puddle. My heart completely swelled with warmth and tenderness for all these characters.

As with every graphic novel that turns into a bind up, I like to do a spoiler free breakdown (to the best of my ability). I did this for the first volume and now I’m going to do it for this one as well. If you haven’t read Fence Vol. 1 yet, then please go do so or at least read my review for the first volume. So, the next portion may contain spoilers, but I will do my best to keep it as spoiler free as I possibly can.

🌻 Chapter FiveWe get a little bit of Nicholas in the beginning, but for the most part this chapter focuses on Seiji v.s. Aiden. The way the entire match plays out is intense and we see parts of Aiden’s personality, but we also see a lot of Seiji and his true feelings in this chapter.

🌻 Chapter SixThis is probably my favorite chapter of the whole bind up! Bobby is, as always, freaking adorable and amazing! We also get a little background on Jesse Coste – which gave me chills, might I add. But in this chapter, we really see Nicholas show himself and that he’s ready to come back from such a rough start in the matches. We also get some Seiji and Nicholas interactions…they stole my breath away. I also want to point out, coach really shows how much of a badass she really is in this chapter!

🌻 Chapter SevenNicholas v.s. Aiden! Aiden’s tactics are are good strategy, but Nicholas’s internal thoughts are absolutely hilarious. The amount of laughing I did was ridiculous! Also, there’s a part in this chapter that makes me think of Yuri! On Ice. But out of everything this chapter offers, seeing Seiji through Bobby’s eyes had me on the floor dying! A side bit: the banter between Nicholas and Seiji with their rubber ducky shower curtain divider is priceless. And of course, Aiden and Harvard are a true OTP. Their scenes were absolutely precious!

🌻 Chapter Eight – We see more of Seiji’s daily routine and the accuracy with these were so on point. However, the real event of this chapter is Harvard v.s. Seiji! This chapter will put you on the edge of your seat and that’s all I’m going to say on that. The banter between Seiji and Nicholas is always wonderful and of course, that final moment with Aiden and Harvard was so bittersweet. I adore them!

“Ah! An indirect win. The same concept as an indirect kiss!”

Overall, how could you not love this comic series?! I have fallen head over heels for this series and if you haven’t started it yet… What are you even doing?! I’m not the type to read a lot of sport themed read, but this gives me vibes of Check Please! and Yuri! On Ice. If you like of those, then this is a comic series you need to look into! I promise you won’t regret it, it’s just that good!

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Dream Daddy #5 by Josh Trujillo & D.J. Kirkland

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Other creators involved in the making of this graphic novel include: Color by Matt Herms, lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, designed by Kate Z. Stone and Angie Knowles

“Now Entering The Oh-So Foreboding TempleEveryone Roll for Awareness!”

The Dream Daddy comics are brought to us devoted readers from the amazing and incredible creators of Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. If you’re a lover of the video game, these comics are bound to make any Dream Daddy gamer and fan happy. Each comic is unique with their own stories to allow the reader to become familiar with all of the daddies! Now step into the world of Dungeon Daddies with the fifth volume in this comic series! D&D and the Dream Daddies come together in this sweet, funny, and enchanting comic. Now prepare your defenses, this comic is about to steal your life force! Roll for a health check, stat!

Meet the Daddies:

🌻 Joseph – Church Daddy
🌻 Brian – Homebody Daddy
🌻 Robert – Bad Boy Daddy
🌻 Craig – Gym/Coach Daddy
🌻 Damien – Gothic/Vampire Daddy
🌻 Hugo – Teacher Daddy
🌻 Matt – Coffee/Music Daddy

I’ve been neutral evil all day, I swear!

My Thoughts

Oh my goodness, I loved this comic with all of my heart! I mean, I love all of the comics so far, but this one just filled my heart with so much joy, love, and all the warm feelings! I was in the mood for a comic book that was going to fill a small void in my heart and boy did this comic deliver! Okay, okay… I swear I will try to avoid gushing all over the place, but let me go into some more details!

For starters, if you’re not familiar with the Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating simulator video game then these characters will probably annoy you or be a bit bothersome for you. They each have their own quirks and flaws, but when they’re all put together, they come together really nicely and some of the funniest things happen with all of them together as well! They’re just all unique, precious beans that I want to protect, always. However, Joseph is shady and no one can convince me otherwise!

The other thing that might turn people off from this comic is fact that it is very much inspired and joined with D&D. In case you don’t know what D&D is, D&D is Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a fantasy, role-playing tabletop game or RPG for short. The game was originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Lastly, the game was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Inc. Since then, multiple companies have release various versions of the game with all types of campaigns that can be played. So readers, if you’re not familiar with D&D, you’ve never played it, or have never had the chance to sit in on an actual campaign then this whole theme of this comic might seem silly or even confusing.

However, I loved it! I have played many RPGs (D&D included), I do LARPing almost every other week, and I’m an overall nerd so I never truly struggled with the flip-flop between the campaign and what was happening outside or the campaign. I lived for every moment this comic would take a twist or a turn in the campaign. I also really loved how we got a lot of attention on Hugo, who was playing Dungeon Master for this whole comic. Dungeon Masters, often, don’t receive the spotlight or credit they deserve. Seeing Hugo as Dungeon Master getting some spotlight time, but also getting guided on how to make the game enjoyable for everyone was really fulfilling. I also really enjoyed how the each Daddies’ character went well with their personalities. I thought it was so cute that the creators had their personalities really overlap into their charactersa. For example, Robert’s character is a rogue who can pick locks all the way to slight of hand. It was just all so precious and I really loved seeing that bit.

Newbies gotta stick together… You goofy bear-barian.

I also really liked the fact the creators had a little bit of Hugo’s son, Ernest, leave a little mark of himself in this comic. The fact they still kept up with Ernest characteristics and traits in the comic was priceless! Granted, I was expecting Ernest to pop out and set fire to something, but him leaving that little footnote for Hugo to find was hilarious and fits so well to his character!

Oh I almost forgot, but let me just mention that the amount of shipping and OTPing I was having with this comic was off the charts. Yes, I’m going there and I don’t care because someone needs to talk about it! The amount of love that flows between Craig and Brain in this comic is so apparent, so pure that is melts my heart. Brain’s this big, soft, lovable teddy bear kind of guy and Craig is this buffed up daddy who looks out for everyone, watching the two of them stick together throughout this comic made my heart scream with joy. A thousand blessings on the creators for giving us fans just enough romance to make us go wild for more!

And of course the artwork and coloring is absolute perfection! The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the cover. The actual physical cover of the graphic novel uses a lot of bright neon colors and I felt it was very hard on the eyes. However, the digital cover is absolutely stunning. I love the way the cover’s setting gave off these nightly vibes with archaic magic shooting out everywhere. It’s gorgeous and more pleasing to the eye to look at. Although, it’s always a good time when we can see Craig showing off his abs. So I’m not too upset, my eyes are just burning like a thousand suns from all the neon coloring.

Overall, I loved this comic and the best way is to just go in knowing it’s D&D themed. There’s so many wonderful moments from sweet to swoon worthy all the way to laughing so hard you can feel your six pack coming in. I just can’t believe this in the end?! Maybe?! I really hope this isn’t the end for these comics! There’s so much I’m hoping for and wanting to see the authors create for future comics! Each of these comics end so quickly and I’m not ready for it to end! But by far, this is my absolute favorite of all the comics released and it makes me want to break out my D20 and start rolling for everything!

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Dream Daddy Main Theme Song
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Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

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Other creators involved in the making of this comic bind-up include: Colors by Joana LaFuente, Lettering by Jim Campbell

Content/Trigger Warnings: Abandonment, minor bullying, mental stress/pressure

Why… Why did no one tell me how amazing this graphic novel was going to be?! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little and everyone tried telling me, but seriously, no one told me it was this good! Chapterlings, I love this story. I mean, I really love it and I will go down defending this series’s honor. The cast is so diverse, from social and economic backgrounds to personalities, to the different family dynamics to the sexuality (I swear, if the majority of these characters aren’t bi or pan, I might riot); this one volume has so much for the reader to fallen in love with. These four issues all bound together will have you hanging on the edge of your seat. If I had known I was going to love this graphic novel so much, I probably would have picked this up sooner! This is perfection!

Fence takes us on a wild ride of following the fencing team of an all boys boarding school, where many students are trying out for the fencing team. All of these students come from different levels of training and experiences, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, but the fact remains that there are only three open spots on the varsity team and the stakes (and the pressure) is at an all time high for these students. And even though everyone wants one of those spots, for Nicholas Cox… the stakes are higher than ever and only he knows why.

“I don’t care how good he is. I’m here to fence.”

These characters are all unique and so easy to fall in love with. The entire time I found I kept rooting for Nicholas and that he would some how pull an underdog move out of his pocket. And if you end up falling in love with these characters as much as I have, then check out these amazing character trait cards that are on C.S. Pacat’s Twitter!

“I’m the best fencer here.”

While I love the “love” and “hate” dynamic between Nicholas (precious cinnamon roll!) and Seiji, I love the “treasure” and “trouble” dynamic as well! Harvard and Aiden is a tense storm that just brewing in the background and I’m ready to go down with this ship! BUT, I also really love the dynamic between Kally and Tanner. The whole “war” and “peace” vibe they both give off is giving me life! If by some chance we found out they were really, really attached to one another, let me be the first to get that ship started! And let’s take a moment to appreciate Bobby! Bobby was such a beacon of light in this whole graphic novel. He was this precious cinnamon roll wandering around concerned for everyone and checking in to make sure everyone is okay. My soul just melted for him!

So, the way I usually review a comic or graphic novel all depends on the setup of the inside. Sometimes there’s chapters, sometimes everything is lumped under three-four larger titles, etc… Thankfully, this is just a bind-up of four issues so I can do a quick break down of these four issues. I will do my best to keep these as spoiler free as possible. I found my reading experience is always more enjoyable when other don’t tell me a whole lot of details of everything happening.

🌻 Chapter OneOkay, this was a perfect setup! We learn and see so much in this first issue. We first get introduced to Nicholas who comes from a background of hard work and struggles. We get little bits and pieces of Nicholas’s background and it’s the most precious thing. Seeing Nicholas wanting to fill the void of abandonment in a healthy way with something positive just… it’s everything and I wish we saw more of that in more books. Then we get introduced to Seiji and I’m not going to lie, he comes off as an arrogant prick. You really get a feel for Seiji’s personality and how he holds himself.

🌻 Chapter TwoAs fate usually has it, our two main characters end up crossing paths and what better way to do that than shoving them into a dorm room together! That’s right, we really get to see the boarding school and get a better understanding of the layout of the place. We also get introduced to a wider range of characters that will be showing more in later issues. Of course, Bobby is one of them and as always they are a precious bean that needs to be protected. We also meet Aiden and Harvard in this issues as well, along with many other amazing characters. Also, the juxtaposition of Nicholas and Jesse Coste was so powerful and effective. It was like a hundred bricks hit me and I just want the world for my favorite cinnamon role!

🌻 Chapter Three This is the issue where we learn that there’s only three spots available on the varsity team. With high stakes, we see so many characters testing strengths and weaknesses. Nicholas is still internally struggling with the emotional wound that he keeps locked away, that has never quite fully healed. Seiji, of course, is still being Seiji by acting like he’s some God of Fencing. This is also the issue where we meet Kally and Dante. While I’m still not sure how I feel about Dante, I easily fell in love with Kally and their calm demeanor. And did I mention the round robin tournament for the three spots at stake begins? Yeah, that’s starting and you better hold onto your seats!

🌻 Chapter FourI think a little part of me died this issue. We get to see so many of the different fencing matches happen this issue. But the piece that hurt the most was that ending… I think that ending will haunt me until I get the next volume. That’s all I’m going to say.

Overall, I need the next volume as soon as possible! My adrenaline is through the roof and I’m so ready for the next one! If you’re looking for an easy comic series to get addicted to, look no further, you’ve found it! I can’t recommend this enough and everyone should pick this series up!

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Heavy Vinyl, Vol.1: Riot on the Radio by Carly Usdin & Nina Vakueva

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Anxiety, panic attacks, a lot of self doubt, verbal bullying/harassment

“I’ll show them. I’m gonna get really good at the guitar and then they’ll have to let me in their super secret band.”

Starry-eyed Chris has just started the dream job every outcast kid in town wants: working at Vinyl Mayhem. It’s as rad as she imagined; her boss is BOSS, her co-workers spend their time arguing over music, pushing against the patriarchy, and endlessly trying to form a band. When Rosie Riot, the staff’s favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show, Chris discovers her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl . . . Her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club! 

Main Characters

🌻ChrisNewest member at Vinyl Destination, still finding their self and expanding their music taste
🌻 MaggieChris’s crush, likes everything, has two dads
🌻 DoloresResident goth, second most newest person at Vinyl Destination, Chris’s arch nemesis, lives on her own, large family
🌻 KennedyMusic encyclopedia, trying to expand Chris’s music horizon, has a boyfriend named Logan
🌻 IreneVinyl Destination manager, Chris wants to be just like her, has a cute dog, has a female partner

Chris is a seventeen year old who feels like they finally found their little corner in this big world. Vinyl Destination is the coolest place in town with some of the coolest chicks around and Chris desperately wants to be one of the gang. But things seem like they’re becoming more of an outcast more and more. Until the leader of Chris’s favorite band goes missing and suddenly their world has been flipped upside down where secrets start coming to light. Everything that they thought things were, suddenly aren’t and now Chris is just trying to find their place among the chaos!

“And then there’s me. Who am I? I thought music would be a way to figure that out…I guess I’m still looking.”

Let me start thing off with this….So much diversity! So much representation and I can’t get over it! We have a Puerto Rican girl and an African American girl, both so unique characters with their personalities, but so amazing in their own ways with their skills. Then we get a female-female main couple and they are just the cutest ever, and did I mention they’re a biracial couple too!? We also have Maggie who is the daughter of two gay dads, one who apparently loves to cook his heart out and I’m here for it! And we get all the girl on girl crushing our little hearts could desire! Maggie and Chris are the cutest and their interactions are the purest thing ever!

Now that I’m done gushing, this comic did a fantastic job at sticking with a solid story-line. There were times where things felt very rushed, but it still stuck with the story-line. I can’t begin to how often I’ve gone into a comic book and the story-line felt muddle or a little all over the place. Thankfully, this was the opposite of some of my past reads! While it does have a weird-absurd concept, the dialogues were so well suited for this comic and the mood of each page. At times funny, clever, some heart breaking moments, and those soft moments that just warm the heart.

I already mention the great representation and diversity this book has to offer, but the cast of characters is simply too amazing not to mention again! There’s so much individuality among all these characters. The story-line also helps to connect and let the reader create a bond with the characters for who they are. The reader will find someone among with this amazing group of people someone they can relate or they can connect with. For me personally, I felt connected to Chris and Irene who both have traits that I resonate with.

“How much of that did you hear? Enough to know that y’all are definitely hiding something from me!”

While on the subject of amazing characters, that girl on girl crush was such a mood for me with this comic! I had some full blown nostalgic vibes when I had my first crush on a girl. I became so invested in the whole crush that I couldn’t stop myself from rooting for both Maggie and Chris. That slow burn romance was everything and I was here for every second of it. I I could put a love burn romance in ever comic book then I would! Even those little moments, absolutely precious and I can’t get over how great it was!

My biggest issues with this comic were a few minor things and one major issue. My biggest issues is broken into two parts. First, was how Dolores character was setup. The author made it so pain-staking obvious on why Dolores was such a bully towards Chris. I thought there was going to be more to it, but it’s not. It’s exactly what you think it is and I just wasn’t feeling it. Not to mention, Chris and Dolores making up felt a little rushed to me and I personally wasn’t feeling it. I feel like more work could have been put into Dolores and her character. Also, the second major thing that definitely doesn’t fit this entire comic…I’m sorry but since when is tripping a guy and then kicking the guy out of a store for saying he doesn’t like a certain artist to a girl empowering, even if the guy has a douchebug-y attitude, or since when is flirting with a guy and then joking about “trying to get some free nachos” being feminist? Kicking boys’ butts and exclaiming that you ‘fight the patriarchy’ doesn’t make you a feminist, it makes you look a terrible person for treating someone so poorly. There are better ways these situations could have been handled or written, but to me, it made these girls come off as obnoxious, disrespectful, and bullies. For me personally, it made me cringe. Along with that, there were parts that felt rushed or like a little more detail could have been added in. And my last real issue with this comic, there isn’t a lot of action. If you were going into this comic thinking there was going to be a lot of butt-kicking, there’s literally only two panels where there’s a little action. So that’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, this was a quirky little comic that sets things up very nicely for any future comics. I’m eager for a little more action and butt-kicking, but I’m so here for these amazing characters. Also, Kennedy and Logan have some of the cutest moments in this comic. I’m so ready for more! I did have a few issues with this comic, but I still ended up flying through this comic fairly decently. If you’re looking for some queer themed, fast paced reading then this is the comic for you!

“There’s no mission too big or too small. And Vinyl Destination is just the tip of the iceberg.”

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Moonstruck Vol. 2: Some Enchanted Evening by Grace Ellis

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Other creators involved in the making of this comic include: Art by Shae Beagle, Pleasant Mountain Sisters Art by Kate Leth, Coloring by Caitlin Quirk, Lettering by Clayton Cowles, and Editing/Design by Laurenn McCubbin

Content/Trigger Warning: Toxic obsession, consumption of alcohol, anxiety, PTSD/trauma, and toxic friendship/relationship.

Blitheton is just like any other college town. It’s full of your typical monstrous creatures living alongside their mortal counterparts. Well for as peacefully as any town full of mythical creatures, magic, and mystery can be.
Julie, our werewolf deep in the threos of young love, longs to live for a normal, mortal life. But when enchanted drinks start getting passed around and your average college frat party turns into a full on magical melt-down, those dreams of normalcy seem to be lost at sea. Not to mention, her relationship seems be hanging by mere threads…Julie must find a way to save her friends AND her love life, before everything falls to chaos.

“Do you want some coffee? It’s got a little extra something in it. If you know what I mean. More something than usual. I mean. Caffeine is good.

We’re back with comic number two with the same crew! We join Julie, Selena, and Chet with their bands of friends as they get themselves into some sticky situations…again! There’s partying, there’s fairies, there’s romance, there’s some kitty action and even some more insight to my favorite seer! In Moonstruck Vol 2.: Some Enchanted Evening we truly do learn just how enchanted this evening is about to become when Julie agrees to find a way to save her friends from the fate of the fairies. Yes you heard right, we’re dealing with fairies this round!

If you been here for a hot minute then you know I recently just reviewed Moonstruck Vol. 1: Magic to Brew where you heard me talk about the good and the bad. Well the same thing is going to be happening here. And trust me when I say, I have A LOT of tea to spill with this comic. Volume two gave me happy moments, warm moments, made me laugh, but it also delivered a whole lot of ‘what the hell‘ and ‘why is this still happening‘ moments. I’m going to talk about it all, but let’s dive into the more happier things with the comic.

As always I love the art work for this comic! I love the way each page sets the mood whether it’s something light or something that’s about to have a lot of drama. Even the cover itself is so beautiful and really captures the essence of the two fairy houses. What I noticed the most was Cass’s visions got a slight revamping of their color tone. It was more eerie and more setting of the attitude rising between the characters in the whole scene. It was such an unexpected twisted and I loved every second of it! One thing I do want to say is the art style for the Pleasant Mountain Sisters comics did change. They’re still very bright in comparison to the rest of the artwork in the graphic novel, but I actually didn’t mind them that much this time. They felt a lot easier on the eyes and they didn’t overly clash with the color tones of actual graphic novel panels.

Also the fact that we got to see more unique characters that we never got to truly experience in the first comic was also really nice. In the first comic we just experienced Mark having conflicts with Lindi or the one scene where he pelted Lindi’s snack with a stale marshmallow, but in this comic we see so much more of him and learn some key details about him. We also get to experience more of Maneul! I love the panels we get with him and Chet. They’re so cute, they’re so sweet and fluffy, and even the way he interacts with Julie is so nice. He’s basically a cinnamon roll who’s packed with a whole lot of wisdom. I also don’t want to spoil anything, but wait till you find out the real secret with Manuel! Then we also get more scenes with CT (only mortal character) and Veronica (she’s basically a plant girl who can shift her body into different plants). These are two characters we both briefly saw in volume one, but now we’re seeing more interactions with them and seeing how their personalities are. I loved seeing these characters and how they interact with our more main characters in this comic. It was a really nice tid-bit that added those necessary details we needed to know. I think this was one of my most beloved parts. And before I forget, we do get to see more of Cass. Cass is our witch/seerthat everyone goes to for help, guidance, and assistance from. She is one of my favorite characters, I wish we had more panels of her in this comic, but the parts she did get were very vague and ominous. I got chills seeing her parts and had me tabbing up so many parts with blue tabs (blue tabs are what I use for questions). I’m always here for some Cass Greenhill action!

“Oh my stars, sugar, didn’t anyone ever tell you about fairy houses? A fairy lead and you’ll be freed! But on your own, never go home!”

However, even with all the wonderful information we get, the lgbtqiap+ representation, the beautiful artwork, and the fanart included in the back…all of this isn’t enough to make me stop from questioning a lot of the bad. And some of these issues have even lapped over from the first volume in this series. They’re issues that should have been nipped in the butt this time around, they’re issues that are still unsettling, and per-usual one of the same things a lot of other reviewers keep saying. So let me spill some tea!

My first biggest issue with this comic is the same as what I stated in my review for the first comic. Lindi’s character is a HUGE issue and I’m not saying this lightly. She is a problem character that has never been properly confronted about her actions, her attitude, her crappy remarks, always picking fights with people, and always being a person of conflict with someone. She stated that she’s a friend, but she’s a toxic friend. She is literally the definition of a toxic friend, a toxic person, or someone you don’t want to get mixed up with. Even worse, trying to bring in a form of comedy to distract from the point that she’s a problem character and needs to be properly challenged isn’t okay. The fact that this is book two, nothing background wise is explained why Lindi acts so horribly to those around her should have happened. And then fact that she’s not challenged and the author tries to use a form of comedy to normalize her behavior also isn’t okay and gives off a vibe that they “support” that type of behavior and I’m not here for it. This was the biggest issue I had and for me trying to read this comic, Lindi distracts from the whole story because her character is so in your face and starts so many problems that it’s hard to ignore. Lindi’s character is full blown narcissistic, toxic, and full on bully mode who gets brushed with some drama bomb or with some for of a comedic panel usually enforced through Mark. I’m not here for it. I dislike it entirely. I probably wouldn’t have an issue with Lindi’s character if we got more background information on her, but we don’t and she’s just this horrible person all the time in the comic. If her character can’t be improved, I honestly think I would drop the next comic. So I’m hopeful she gets challenged in the next volume or we at least get some insight on why her character is remaining a toxic influence.

On the note of toxic characters, Selena’s character is definitely turning down a path of toxic and abusive. In volume one we saw many sides to Selena. She was super sweet, supportive, and caring, but we eventually saw some sides of her that we didn’t like. If you’re like me, you were probably hoping that was a one time thing and we would never have to deal with that again. Yeah, me too, but we all make mistakes and we’re here now. Just like in volume one we see the classic Selena with her sweet, loving, thoughtful, and caring sides. But for some reason, the author continues to use Selena as the beacon for fights to break out. More specifically, arguments and almost full blown fights between her and Julie. Whether this is for dramatic effect or the author is trying to address abusive relationships, Selena’s character is definitely headed down a path of doom. I hate the fact that I went from loving this character to borderline hating her in such a short amount of time. In the first comic, I let things slide because I thought her behavior was a one time thing due to the heat of the situations and she was going to be better in the second volume. The fact that in this volume Selena almost got into a physical fight (AGAIN!) with Julie, but almost got into another fight with CT (the only MORTAL character) is not okay. Not to mention, Selena went completely radio silent on everyone (including Julie) and then just showed up man-handling Mark very aggressively…this is toxic and abusive behavior. And once again, a character does something really horrible and no one is challenging the behavior. What bothered me most was the author tried to brush off Selena’s actions and behavior by saying it’s a “werewolf thing.” What the hell does that have to do with anything?! Last time I checked, there’s no pack hierarchy and Julie definitely isn’t part of a pack. So unless we missed the memo that there’s a heavy werewolf presence in this town, that Julie or Selena are part of a pack, or something along those lines then there should be no mention of “it’s a werewolf thing” because that’s completely irrelevant to the big issues happening between Julie and Selena in this comic. Outside of the abusive and toxic behavior, we have one major scene where it almost implies Selena has some type of trauma or may even have PTSD, where she’s goes into a full meltdown saying how much she hates being trapped. That’s all we get for that scene. We don’t get anymore details into that , there’s no clues, but the really icing on the cake is literally right after a couple of panels Selena is up, fine, and ready to leave. Quickest bounce back much? I have so many questions that I hope volume three will answer because the scene as a whole felt rushed and left a desire for more details.

Not to keep repeating myself (or what other reviewers have been saying), but once again the story-line was an issue. Just like with my first review, the plot and story-line definitely left something to be desired. Too much was going on, nothing was explained, and once again, not enough detail for where it was needed most. Everything felt muddled and lacking with details. There were parts in this comic where I wished the panels had a little extra push to show so insight, but most of the time, some of the panels didn’t get the content across because of everything else happening. Honestly, this is the first time where I don’t know what the plot was about. My overall summary of this is as follows: There are fairies, they trap people, and that’s it. The comic itself doesn’t go into any further detail of what is about to happen, what the Beta House fairies are plotting, even when the Ice Queen fairy is explaining their “history” it doesn’t even lead into what is happening with the Beta House. Not to mention, it always seems like all this stuff is happening to the characters, but the characters aren’t actually doing anything. Even during the resolution, Julie nor Selena were the ones who resolved the issue. It literally just happened and Julie spent all that time literally just running around in circles until she got so frustrated and broke some equipment. It was really hard to keep focused and it really left a lot to be desired.

“Try my drink, I based it on a Newpals item called “Mega Blast Ultra Coffee,” doesn’t it look just like the drawing?? P.S. we’re being blackmailed by the sorority fairies now. But also: Try this Newpals drink!”

Overall, Moonstruck Vol. 2 has so many fun elements and is a super quick read. As the reader, you really fall in love with a lot of the characters or feel connected with specific characters. Plus, the artwork is absolutely beautiful and so eye pleasing. And let’s not forget, so much diverse representation! But there were issues that conflicted me and still haven’t been improved on that definitely need to be corrected for future volumes. However, if you’re looking for a quick read or trying to find something that may pull you out of a reading slump, then definitely check out this comic series. I have reviewed the first comic and you can find it HERE!

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Moonstruck Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis

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Other creators involved in the making of this comic include: Art by Shae Beagle, Pleasant Mountain Sisters Art by Kate Leth, Coloring by Caitlin Quirk, Lettering by Clayton Cowles, and Editing/Design by Laurenn McCubbin

Content/Trigger Warning: Bullying, severe aggression, toxic friendship, anxiety, violent fighting, trauma, grief, body dysmorphia.

In the quiet, little town of Blitheton, creatures of all shapes and sizes live normal lives alongside mortals and call this town home. One girl in particular, strives to have the most normal life of them all. But soon her world is turned upside down when a date goes terribly wrong with an evil magician casting a horrible spell on her closest and best friend, Chet. Now it’s up to Julie and her mystical friends to team up and put a stop to the illicit illusionist before it’s too late!

“Prepare, prepare! For the Fates are plotting! From their spinning, two threads are knotting! Beneath the cold moon, their ends draw near! United in love, but divided by fear! Concede your heart to the Universe’s hum! Steel yourself, for the worst is yet to come!”

Moonstruck begins with a conversation between Julie and Chet about Julie’s new romantic excursion. It’s a scene that emphasizes the friendship between the two as they make coffee like a well-oiled machine; the characters’ interaction creating a feeling of comfort alongside the warm color scheme used in the early pages. This is a part that I really loved and appreciate because a lot of my time at my job is spent working in the cafe making drinks. The whole opening pulls you in with that familiarity and I feel nothing, but warmth for the beginning of the comic. This is a scene I’m entirely familiar with that, it’s basically a little slice of home. And the interactions between Julie and Chet are absolutely precious to the point of it showing just how close the two are.

In this graphic novel we follow two main characters. Our first main character is Julie. Julie is a plus-size Latina who works as a barista at the Black Cat Cafe. She also happens to be a werewolf (isn’t that for a twist!)! Not to mention, Julie is a bookworm and it’s the cutest thing to see her talk about books! Julie is also a very sweet character who really cares about her friends and about others, but Julie’s character also holds a lot of issues. For starters, Julie spends a lot of time trying to suppress her werewolf side. While it’s not actually stated, Julie focuses really hard on trying to conceal that part of her and tries to avoid situations that would bring out the wolf in her. Julie also has a lot of anxiety and insecurities. As the story reads on, Julie shows more sides of her anxiety as well as her insecurities; whether it’s with choosing a date or being confident with stating her own thoughts and opinions. My two biggest issues with Julie end up kind of going hand-in-hand. My biggest issue with Julie is the fact that she was made to be “too sensitive” or should I say unnecessarily, sensitive. What I mean is, almost every situation she gets herself in she ends up getting triggered into shifting into a werewolf or she gets so emotionally upset that she ends up having a breakdown. While I love that Julie reps for anxiety, I definitely feel that making her so overly sensitive made her character become annoying as it progresses along with the story-line. On top of that, I also feel like Julie’s character never really had any room to grow as a character and try to work through the issues she was having. Instead, those issues got crowded out by details that didn’t need space devoted to them even if they were fun and makes for a pretty setting. The best example of this is the six full pages spent showing a story from one of Julie’s favorite books, an attempt to create a metaphor for her own emotional journey and refer to her goal of becoming a ghost writer that, frankly, fails to land.

Our second main character, Selena, is also a werewolf and a lady of color like Julie. However, Selena is more open about her werewolf side than Julie is. In fact, Selena radiates confidence in her werewolf form and isn’t afraid to bring out that side of her in times of dire need. To be honest, we don’t get a lot of detail to go off of for Selena’s character. The only thing we really find out about Selena is in the beginning of the book, Julie mentions reading Selena’s favorite series, The Pleasant Mountain Sisters. Outside of this, Selena is a mystery in the beginning, but as our tale begins to unfold…we definitely see different sides of her character. And just like Julie, Selena’s character also has her fair share of issues. For starters, Selena is definitely a plan maker and a “I trust my instincts” kind of person. She also takes charge a lot of the time and takes on the whole “leader” role on her own. She demonstrates this on multiple occasions and it fits her character so nicely. It pairs well with the confidence she radiates for her werewolf form and well with her wanting to deliver results. However, there was a point reached in this book where I definitely started disliking Selena’s character. At about 60-70% of the way through, we end with one of Cass’s visions and it show brief moments of Julie and Selena fighting, but we don’t get a full idea of how bad it really is until a little later on. While some of their fighting is harmless, Selena ends up saying a lot of mean things that are technically insulting towards Julie. Two of these incidents where they’re fighting/arguing end up triggering Julie to shift into her werewolf form. Also, as with Julie, Selena never got any room to really grow as a character or even have an opportunity to explain herself on why she responds the way she does. Any attempt for Selena’s character to grow from the situation or try to elaborate is cut off by too much happening around them or unnecessary scene where Julie is having an outburst to cut off Selena. Either way, it adds up to why I disliked Selena a little less in the end. As a side note, there is a moment where Selena almost had a redemption moment, but the writer cut that part short with other details happening in that section.

Okay, I feel like I ended up going on a negative rant and I swear I really did like this comic. Prime example, the artwork is probably one of my most favorite elements to this comic. Now let me be more specific…I love all the artwork outside of the Pleasant Mountain Sister comic sections. The style and the coloring are just so beautiful and really captures the world building so well. Even part where you thought it would still stick to the bright colors, each panel was so magnificent! There was never a page in this book where I disliked the art style. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

“That’s why they call them h-I-jinks and not h-OUR-jinks, because you’re supposed to keep them to yourself.”

Also, lots of blessings for all the amazing LGBTQIAP+ rep within this paranormal comic! Outside of our obvious dynamic duo of Selena and Julie, we have other characters who also represent the community. We have Chet (who we all love and adore because Chet is a cinnamon roll) who is a non-binary. So happy to finally see some non-binary representation in a book. It feels like the non-binary gets a little overlooked from time to time. We also get a minor character, a minotaur by the name of Manuel who shows interest in Chet. Even though it’s never actually stated, it’s implied during each interaction shared between him and Chet. So many warm fuzzy feels to see so much diversity and representation! Not to mention, the comic also tackles discrimination through the characters’ fantastical elements with the art style really pushing their emotions through gesture, giving the characters energy.

Another favorite thing of mine in this comic was the introduction of a character name Cassandra (Cass, for short) Greenhill. Cass is basically a very powerful witch or an oracle. We don’t know a whole lot about Cass other than she get moments where she has visions that foretell the future. When she has intense visions, her whole form is rendered in black and white, giving the reader an idea of the intensity of them. We also know that she works for a coffee shop called Little Dog 2 where you get the full on witchy vibes (that and all the black cats hanging around, plotting and scheming). She’s just a really fascinating character that was thrown into this whole mixing bowl and I love it. Not to mention she is such a mood. We get this one scene where it’s super early in the morning and Cass looks absolutely exhausted and looks like she wants nothing more than to crawl right back into bed. She is full on mood! I’m just so eager to gain more detail about her and if she got a little spin-off comic, I wouldn’t be disappointed. Her character makes me excited to find out what is going to happen next and to see what the creators have in store for her and the rest of the characters!

“There once was a seer named Cass. Who could see in the future and past. Then the going got tough. She called the Fates’ bluff. And made ripples she could not forecast.”

However, all these positive things in this book doesn’t distract me for the parts that really got under my skin (other than those first couple of issues, sorry!). Besides some of the key details I stated above, I also found other issues that seemed like pointless filler or seemed to get muddled with everything going on. For example, the fact that Lindi was never called out on her b.s. Lindi is basically a character who has severe anger issues who mistreats everyone. She is constantly in the mode of looking for a fight and having “issues” with everyone around her. She’s also a really bad friend with how she treats a minor character, Mark, throughout this comic. She manhandles him, gets really aggressive, and she even gets to a point where one of her snakes looks like it’s crushing Mark in his bat form. How Lindi acts as a character is never challenged, never corrected in anyway, and then at a later point in the story is even turned into a “funny” situation to create a laughing off type of situation. I definitely wasn’t a fan and it definitely didn’t sit right with me.

Another issue that really bothered me was the story-line in the last “two issues” of this comic. The story-line starts out strong, but at some point along the way everything became muddled and it felt like it was getting lost in all the other situations happening in the comic. This is something I stress all the time and I’m going to stress it with this comic, details are fantastic and help build the world as well as having a lot of action, but too much of either of these things and it will be a hot mess. It was borderline hot mess. There were parts of the story-line/plot that had me wondering where certain details were and wondering why we were getting details we didn’t need. Not to mention, nothing was every explained with the magician and the ghost. Nothing was every truly explained on why they were doing what they were doing and nothing was ever hinted at what led them to the point of getting this far. Not to mention it felt like there was barely any build up to the ending and just as quickly as “the final” battle started it was over. It was very anti-climactic and it left something to be desired.

Overall, I did enjoy this graphic novel. There were so many wonderful elements that I loved, so many characters to get attached to, and the diversity was such a big welcome. Plus, paranormal goodness. We get monsters and creatures living side by side mortals/humanity, that was just the cherry on top of my cake. However, there were a lot of issues I had with this book and reflecting on how it made me feel and the times where things felt a little all over the place, this rating definitely took me by surprise. I do encourage any reader to pick this graphic novel up if you’re looking for paranormal fun with plenty of diverse representation. This graphic novel makes for a great quick read and something to help give you a little nudge out of a reading slump.

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