Uncategorized

The Cat Proposed by Dento Hayane

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was given by NetGalley and LOVE x LOVE in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (February 23rd, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Suicidal ideation and mentions of attempted suicide

“That day… I took a story by the hand.”

It’s very easy for me to fall in love with a manga and The Cat Proposed is no exception! I fell head over heels in love with the manga. Despite the dark themes of this book, I really enjoyed my time reading it. I really wish we would see more of this book or see it turned into a series. I’ve always loved the lore and mythology of the bakeneko of Japanese culture and knowing this manga exists, ugh, it filled my heart with so much warmth and excitement.

“We may be completely different, but I still want you.”

Our story follows Souta Matoi, a company worker, who’s contemplating suicide because nothing has changed, his life seems to be stuck in a terrible loop. Living the same routine day in and day out, overworked by his company, a deep exhaustion has set into his bones and he desperately wants to make a change. Then one fateful night Souta decides to change the routine by going to a kōdan storytelling. And that’s when his whole world begins to change. Starting with meeting Kihachi, the kōdan storyteller.

I really loved the way the author portrayed Souta and Kihachi. Though they seem like absolute polar opposites of one another, the chemistry between them is perfection. Souta is very timid and bashful, has a hard time expressing how they feel, declaring what they want. Whereas Kihachi is the opposite. Not only is Kahachi a bakeneko, but he’s very upfront about what he wants and direct with how things will work between one another. Also, they’re both sensitive beings who care very deeply for others. They’re both the type of people who puts everyone before their needs. And they just balance each other out so well. There’s some really hilarious side characters we get to meet as well. Yamabuki is absolutely hilarious and I enjoyed the little pokes of fun he has with Kihachi. Also, he’s a lover of stories like Kihachi is and somehow, between all their banter, you can tell they’re long-time friends!

“The light in the darkness is twinkling beautifully.”

If you haven’t guessed already, this manga involves Japanese mythology and folklore. Bakeneko appear a lot throughout Japanese history and culture. From works of literature and landmarks all the way to famous legends, bakeneko have played a role in Japan’s mythology and folklore. Most commonly found within the Endo period, but don’t quote me on that since there’s a chance they appeared during the Kamakura period with the nekomata, since they’re so similar. But I really loved how the author took that mythology and knowledge to weave their own tale. I think the author did a fantastic job of bringing to life the world of bakeneko and finding a way to encourage the reader to learn more about this mythology.

While I know it’s a dark turn of things, I want to take a moment to pause and appreciate the way the author wrote about suicide in this book. I think the author did really well at talking about what it means to be suicidal, to have suicidal thoughts, and to feel such a bone deep exhaustion that’s almost suffocating. And on top of that, I love how the author made sure to show how one person can save us from and how important little acts of kindness, endearment can truly make a difference. I thought it was beautifully and respectfully written.

Overall, I just really loved this manga. I truly wish the author would consider turning this into a series because I have no doubt that I would purchase the whole series for my manga collection. I loved it so, so much! I adored the characters, I really wanted to see more of the bakeneko community and their world. There’s so much untapped potential with this one book and honestly, I want more. I’m excited to see what this author will do next and I’m so glad I got to read an arc of this manga early.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Twitch|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

Delicates (Sheets, #2) by Brenna Thummler

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Oni Press in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (March 16, 2021)

👻 Sheets ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, toxic friendships, manipulations, talk of death, mentions of racism, loss of a parent (in the past), loss of a loved one (in the past), allusions to depression, grief, depictions of suicidal ideation

“Except there’s nothing more delicate than a life.”

Friends, this graphic novel knocked my socks off! I really liked Sheets, but this Delicates was a whole other level for me. This graphic novel hit home in so many ways and I ended up in my feels. Brenna Thummler always has an important message in their books and the one in this graphic novel is so damn important. I just really loved this graphic novel so, so much and if you haven’t started this series yet, please do!

Following the events that took place in Sheets, Marjorie, our laundromat girl who looks after the ghosts who live there, is back in an all new story about navigating friendships and what it to be a middle schooler who feels out of place. Also, we’re introduced to a new character, Eliza Duncan, an avid photographer who spends most of her time in the school’s dark room and ghost hunting for her next photograph. Eliza doesn’t have any friends and through that loneliness (as well as Wendall), we see Eliza’s story truly unfold.

I love the characters in this graphic novel. When Eliza’s character was introduced, I instantly wanted to know more about her, about the backstory, and why Eliza likes to ghost hunt. I think many readers are going to enjoy Eliza’s character and the way her storyline plays out. Of course, I love Wendall and Marjorie, and the friendship they share with one another. I love how it’s not a perfect friendship, that there’s bumps along the way, but I love how everything comes together with them. Also, I really enjoyed the intersecting storylines of Eliza and Marjorie. They have a really rough path, but the conclusion with them was really wonderful.

“Humans are delicate too. The teeniest mistake can ruin them, even if you do everything else right. Just because mistakes seem small and insignificant, doesn’t mean they are.”

Of course, I have to talk family dynamics. I feel that this is one aspect of this graphic novel series no one talks about a lot. Marjorie comes from a single parent household, a widowed father of two. In the first book we saw him struggle with grief and depression. Now in book two, we see the hardships of what it means to be a single parent and trying to start you life again after the loss of your partner. There’s also Eliza’s family, who’s far from perfect. We see Eliza’s parents struggle to find balance within their home life. From schedule struggles to trying to co-parent the best they can of three children, these two are tackling the hardships the best they can even if it does stir up some disagreements. I love family dynamics and I love family dynamics that show the more realistic side of what families go through instead of the typical “rainbows and sunshine” family trope.

As I mentioned above, this graphic novel deals a lot with mental health. I think many of us can remember a time in school where we experienced peer pressure, bullying, or maybe some of us felt like outcasts. And Thummler doesn’t hold back from when we’re going through those hardships. This opens up to the bigger discussion of suicide and how during this point in many teenagers lives, they feel like they’ve hit a rock bottom and find it impossible to get back up once they reach that point. For myself, reading this was really emotional because of the friends I’ve lost to suicide and from the low points I’ve reached in my past. And I truly believe this graphic novel is going to resonate with so many readers like it did with myself. Truly, this graphic novel is going to touch the hearts of so many readers.

“Life is a precious thing, dearie. It has skin that feels. And feet that can dance. And hearts that can love and be loved.”

Overall, I loved this graphic novel so much. I love how there’s so many important themes laced throughout this graphic novel, how many important discussions this will spark. Truly, this hits like a ton of bricks and so many readers will resonate with the messages in this book. And I just wanted to say that if you do feel like you’re in a dark place, please reach out to loved ones or reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline. Please know that I see you, that you are loved, and that I’m so glad that you’re here.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Twitch|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin, Robert Garofolo, Zach Stafford, & Christina Garofolo

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Zest Books in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (March 2, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Mental health, homophobia, toxic relationships, addiction (drug abuse & alcoholism), depression, grief, mentions of suicidal ideation, trauam/PTSD, mentions of terminal illness (cancer), death, loss of a loved one, microaggressions, mentions of rape, mentions of assault, mentions of a forced outing

“What I’ve learned throughout my life is that while I struggle to feel loved and supported by the people around me, I can always rely on my dogs, no matter what.”

With my whole chest, I love this book so damn much! I’m a firm believer that there are some books that everyone needs to read at least once in their life. This is one of those books. All too often society doesn’t talk about mental health or certain illnesses because of the stigma around them. And all too often, that stigma can cause a one-sided perspective of them and the person who has to face these challenges every day. HIV and those who have HIV are no exception to these type of circumstances, but this book is so fantastic because it offers so many different perspectives, from a plethora of people who share their own stories. I can’t express the importance this book holds and how much I wish I could put this book in everyone’s hands.

This book is a collection of stories with a photo of a person(s) and their dog(s), and their story. Each story is centered around their story with HIV and how their canine companions help them heal, and improving their life despite the challenges happening to them. Throughout the book you’ll meet a plethora of diverse people who are trans, do drag, queer, BIPOC, and so much more. You’ll learn about their background and the most common theme is the rejection of one’s family and loved ones, addiction, and facing the struggles of mental health from all the stigma surrounding HIV.

This is probably the most emotional book I’ve read in a very long time. You know I love my books that make me cry and steal my soul away, and this book succeeds at that. This book is so heart breakingly beautiful and it shines a light on the importance of fighting back against the stigmatism surrounding HIV. As someone who faces stigmatism around certain mental health challenges, this book hit so close to home on how hard it is to keep going despite the stigma, despite feeling like you don’t have the support you need, and this book melted me into a puddle. And while I don’t have HIV, one of my good friends passed away from having HIV and seeing the hardships they faced, reading this book just hit so close to home in so many ways. I think that’s why I loved it so much because I love books that touch that part of my soul.

“I am not a bad person – you don’t get HIV because you’re a bad person. You can be a good person, an educated person, and get HIV. We have to get past the stigma – that is the reason people don’t get tested and are not honest about their status.”

I think the thing I love most about this whole book is the hopefulness and the reflection on the benefits, emotional and physical, that pets have on people. I loved that despite the hardships all these people face, there’s always a feeling of hopefulness, of love, and seeing the silver-lining. And I think with everything combined, the good and the bad, readers will be able to connect with the people within this book.

Overall, I don’t want to say too much about this book because I want to encourage you to go pick this book up and read it. I believe with my whole heart that everyone needs to read this book at least once in their life because this book is too important not to. Even though I read and finished this in 2020, this is book has made it onto my top books of 2021 because it truly is a master piece and I just love it so, so much!

“I know that without him I wouldn’t be alive, and without me he wouldn’t either. We saved each other.”

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Twitch|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

When Sharks Attack with Kindness by Andres J. Colmenares

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (March 2, 2021)

This was absolutely precious! With the way 2020 has been going, this is the book to make things just a little bit brighter. Truly, this is so precious and there’s some really hilarious moments. Let me be the first to say that everyone needs to check this graphic novel out as soon as it releases.

From really cute panels to friendships that will warm you heart, this is a graphic novel that will steal your heart. The characters are super cute and the dedication page was so wholesome. This is one of those graphic novels that poke you right in your heart and make you cherish the the friendships you have. Also, I know many readers will probably get this graphic novel for the children in their lives, but let another adult tell you that you need this book as much as children do. It’s just a precious gem of a book that many book lovers are going to fall in love with.

The only thing I think readers might have an issue with is thinking this is going to be a graphic novel with a continuous story. That’s not the case at all with this book. This is a graphic novel that’s designed to make you feel good, feel happy, and pick up the phone and call your friends. That’s the kind of book this is. For me, this wasn’t an issue because this was something I needed. I needed a feel good book to come into my life and wrap me in love, and that’s exactly what this book does.

Overall, I loved this graphic novel so gosh darn much! It’s so wholesome, the feel good book we all need, and just a fantastic pick me up. I highly recommend this to everyone, literally everyone! I think we all need a feel-good book that washes us in warm, fuzzy feelings. And if I could put this in everyone’s hand right now, I would.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

I Must Belong Somewhere by Dawn Lanuza

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (January 5th, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, suicide ideation, violence, bullying, graphic injuries, self-harm, body shaming, sexism, mental health/illness, toxic relationships, abandonment, depression, anxiety

“I must find a way to still choose myself despite holding on to you.”

I’m a firm believer that poetry, literature, and a plethora of other things can come into our lives when we need them the most. If I’m being honest, if this didn’t come into my life right now, I probably wouldn’t have given this as high of a rating as I have. Modern poetry and prose is something I have to be in a particular mind set or in a certain part of my life where I feel like it’ll be helpful to read. And reading this book right now, it has been a blessing.

This was such a well written collection that’s beautiful, and at times very heart breaking. I loved how every thing flowed and nothing seemed out of place. Everything was connected to one another whether it was a poem or prose. I think that’s one of the hardest parts modern poetry face, making everything flow together, but this author did a wonderful job of accomplishing that. And really loved that despite some of the hard themes throughout this book, there’s an optimistic feeling at the end. It was such a great way to end the book.

My most favorite thing of this whole book was the content and trigger warnings at the very start of this. I say this every time, authors should include these in their books and when the do, damn it’s the best feeling. Seeing an author take the time to add these at the beginning of their book, it’s like a little pat from the author saying, “I see you and I acknowledge your mental health.” It’s just a really great way for authors to show they care about their readers.

“I grew wings, but sometimes in between, I think I left my heart where you’ve been.”

Overall, I think this was a well-written book that many readers are going to connect with. I think many readers will find validation in their feelings or find a way to heal with this book. For me, with my whole chest, I believe this book came into my life when I needed it the most and that left a big impression with me.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Universe by Sam Maggs

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (October 27th, 2020)

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of harassment, talk of sexual harassment, talk of cyber bullying, talk of misogyn, themes of misandry

I’ll be honest, I’ve been dreading writing this review and have been putting this off for far too long. I really wanted to love this book and there were some things that I found really helpful, informative even, especially because I’ve been in various nerdy communities for such a long time, but I find that my opinion is going to be of the minority when it comes to this book. So take my review with a grain of salt. However, if you’re a reader who’s looking for some opposing thoughts on a lot of the content that’s talked about in this book then I can’t recommend enough checking out these following videos: HERE, HERE, and if you’re looking for statics about online harassment then I recommend checking this article out!

Let me take a moment to talk about the good of this book. This book is true to what it is; a guide book, a self-help book, however you want to view it. I really loved how this book talked about the different types of conventions, navigating the conventions, budgeting and expenses, and even things to pack. Despite the fact that I’ve gone to various conventions, events, etc… for almost fourteen years, I still find this kind of information helpful and good for referencing. There’s even an ‘after the convention’ list that I would’ve loved to have had after all of these years. There’s also interviews in this book with various women in the industry who have worked on a plethora of nerdy, geeky things such as anime, DC and Marvel, etc… that I enjoyed reading, despite the repetitiveness and the awkwardness of some of the interviews. Also, this is a super quick read and most sections are very brief, easy to fly through.

Despite the few good things I found within this book, they weren’t enough to prevent the issues I had with a lot of the content within this book. One of the biggest things being the continued theme of misandry throughout this book. This is a huge issue for me especially when no one wants to talk about how this book is set up to convince you men are terrible and do nothing but terrible things. Throughout this book, the author continuously references how we’re all in this community together, how we’re supposed to be supportive of one another, no matter the gender, for about one to two pages, and then will spend the next three or four pages talking about how horrible men are and how their actions are always terrible towards women in nerdy communities. There’s actually a whole entire section based around ‘internet trolls’ that’s based in the context of assuming they’re all male. Even when the author talks about sexual harassment and assault in the cosplaying community, it’s always in the context of a man doing these actions. I can’t speak for everyone in the community, but basing my opinion on my own experiences and things I have witnessed as a cosplayer and LARPer, I’ve experienced and witnessed more female/female and male/male harassment and sexual assault than I have any situations that are male/female related. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but what I’m saying is we need to make sure we’re accurately talking about what really happens instead of assuming/creating a certain narrative to fit our own views. And when you continuously place these narratives of one side being innocent/good and the other being guilty/evil, then you’re continuing to cause rifts and issues within communities instead of helping it grow and make it a more positive community to be in.

Overall, this book was exhausting to read and writing this review has been something I’ve been dreading for a long time now, for a plethora of reasons. I don’t have the energy or time to list the multiple references to a lot of the things that were inaccurately talked about throughout this book (do your own research, listen to those who talk about the facts), point out every little thing that was wrong with this book, or even try to continuously explain to people how misandry is just as bad as misogyny no matter what community it is. If you can’t see the problematic issues within this book then I don’t know what else to say expect to check out the links I provided up above if you want to hear opposing opinions about a lot of the things that were talked about in this book. I wish so many things would have been handled in a different light especially since this is an introductory book, a guide/self help book and I know there are going to be young readers who will pick this book up and be influenced by this book. With the knowledge and experience I have, I can’t recommend this book because of the narrative this book takes on and I can’t support a book that inaccurately talks about a plethora of things.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

Whisper Me A Love Song (Whisper Me A Love Song #1) by Eku Takeshima

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (October 20th, 2020)

What a supper cute, humorous manga! Typically I don’t read a lot of fluffy manga, but in some case it really works well and this is one of those books. I adored the characters, their personalities are so memorable and easy to fall in love with. Even the side characters fit the perfect story. I’m truly surprised I haven’t heard of this manga series sooner, but I’m super excited to continue this series and watch these characters fall in love with one another.

🎶 Himari Kino – Is a cheerful, very loving first-year in high school, who ends up falling in love at first sight on her first day at school, during the open live performance from SSGirls. With her best friend Miki-chan besides her and being in the front row, when she’s suppose to check out Miki’s sister, Himari can’t help being swept off her feet by the cool singer of the band.

🎶 Yori Asanagi – Is a cool, lone wolf third-year high schooler, who loves to sing and write their own in their personal time, ends up filling in for the singer of SSGirls. With the members of SSGirls begging Yori to write them songs and join their band, Yori refuses due to severe stage fright, until they meet Himari. Soon, their world changes and be a little head over heels.

Though these two are new to love, we follow their story after they confessed their feelings to one another, as they get to know each other, chat about their love for cats, and become more entranced with one another. There’s just one problem… They both have a hard time believing the other is really in love with them and keep misunderstanding one another’s words.

“I’m going to make you fall in love so hard. So you better brace yourself.”

I really loved the personality of both main characters. Yori is calm and collected, but easily gets embarrassed and has a deep love for cats. Himari is very energetic and has a very bubbly personality. When the two come together, they balanced each other out really well and have great chemistry. I also love how Yori never gets over-shadowed by Himari’s personality, as well. Himari is very much the instigator, Yori always speaks for herself, allowing both of them to be on equal footing. The process in which they grow closer is also super adorable and they have an amazing supporting cast with the side characters. I would have loved to see more of Miki-chan have a role in helping out, but the band is really fun and supportive of Yori.

This is very much a feel good story. It’s meant to be light, fluffy, and the music angle was such a good hook to make Yori stand out. There’s a lot of really cute moments throughout this book and the way Himari is so encouraging is refreshing. The way this manga leaves off, there’s bound to be drama on the horizon especially from the trope that’s being used in this book. However, I think the one issue many readers will have with this book is the clashing of two elements. You have the ‘love at first sight’ trope and then you have the ‘two people not being on the same page’ element added in. Sometimes it can feel like a bit much and I think many readers may struggle with that balance.

Overall, this was really enjoyable. I was chuckling and smiling the whole time reading this. I think the manga does an excellent job at being a feel good read. I think if readers are looking for something fluffy, charming, and just a read that’s going to leave you happy. Plus, the way this manga ends will leave you wanting to know what’s about to happen next with these characters!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

In Love & Pajamas: A Collection of Comics about Being Yourself Together by Catana Chetwynd

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (February 2nd, 2021)

Oh, this was just the sweetest and filled my heart with so much warmth! Times are really hectic and hard right now, and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been looking for things that keep me happy and make me laugh. This is the first book I ever read by Catana and I’m so pleasantly surprised! My heart is bursting with warmth, love, and just bright sparkles of joy. And this book reminds me of my own marriage to my spouse. The whole time I was reading this I couldn’t stop saying, “It’s us!” It’s such a sweet book, truly!

This book is a collection of comics that shows it’s okay to accept how perfect and imperfect your partner really is. What may seem odd or ridiculous to others, may work for other couples and this collection is the perfect example of this. With characters that are clingy, funny, and in their own unique way of charming, many readers will find themselves connected to this adorable couple.

I can’t remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud (so dang much), swoon, and get so soft and sappy that I went to look back through all the photos I have of my spouse and I. Even the little things in the collection reminds me of the little things that happen in our every day especially the parts where our female character is short and asking for help. That’s literally us, every single day! Or the parts with the naps, we’re always together for those. It’s just the little things and this book filled my heart with all the feels. I really loved it.

Overall, this is a fantastic book that you should pick up (even though it doesn’t come out till 2021)! This is such a relatable book and I can’t think of a better present to give to your partner for Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. Also, it’s a really quick read and perfect for readathons and any reading goals you’re hoping to accomplish. I can honestly say, I’m eager to pick up more work from this author and I can’t wait to see what’s waiting around the corner for us!

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story by Lauren Myracle & Isaac Goodhart

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and DC Entertainment in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (November 3rd, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of death, talk of suicide and suicidal thoughts, scene of attempted suicide, loss of a loved one (in the past), loss of a parent (in the past), grief, PTSD/trauma, terminal illness

“So. Fire. Ice. Both hold the power to snuff out life. But love. Stronger than fire, more powerful than ice. Where love surrounds, life abounds.”

I don’t talk about it often, my love and appreciation for one of the saddest love stories in all of the Gotham Universe. While there are many love stories, many ships and pairings that happen, none of them quite compare to the love story of Victor and Nora. Victor Fries/Mister Freeze is probably one of my most favorite Gotham “villains” and truly, he’s just a man on a mission to save the one he loves. Being able to read this graphic novel in advance and see a whole new take on Victor and Nora makes me fall in love with this couple all the more. Also, I now have a deeper appreciation doe these characters and their younger side

Our story follows Victor, a cryogenicist, who’s headed to Gotham Cemetery to visit his brother’s grave, as his grief and trauma weigh heavy on his shoulders. Nora and her family have just moved to a new house in Saint Agnes, to be closer to where her mother is buried. Upon their arrival at the new house, Nora decides to go visit her mother’s grave. Thus, these two characters cross paths and spark a very unusual conversation between one another. From here on out, these two will be pulled two one another and a romance will slowly bloom between them.

When I say I loved these two characters and how they come together, I mean I really loved these two characters come together. Victor isn’t like your typical love interest. He’s very soft spoken, brilliant, and so compacted with love and passion. And Nora, she’s one hell of a firecracker. She’s whimsical, sarcastic, and she brings people out of their shell. These two balance each other out incredibly well. The chemistry shared between them is apparent from the very beginning, despite the unusual conversation. I don’t talk about it enough because it’s such a fifty-fifty chance, but I like to believe there are the cases where two broken people can heal one another, love each other so fiercely and deeply, and make the world seem a little brighter. And I truly believe with my whole and soul that Victor and Nora are one of those relationships.

What I truly love most about Victor and Nora’s relationship is their love. Out of all the love and relationship pairings, none shine quite as bright as this particular relationship. These characters love one another so beautifully, so deeply, and I don’t think here has ever been a relationship in the Gotham Universe that had a more devoted partner than Victor when it comes to Nora. For those who aren’t familiar with the DC Universe or the Gotham Universe, Victor gave up everything for Nora. His love for Nora basically consumed him to the point of the only thing that has ever mattered has been finding a cure for Nora. Victor never cared if he came off as villain or how his actions impacted the those around him, his whole world revolves around Nora and finding the cure. And seeing how Nora and Victor come to love one another in this book, despite knowing everything they both carry on their shoulders, their love for each other grounds them in those difficult times. I really loved that the author included those moments of grounding because it’s so important to show how powerful love truly can be.

“Just, for years I’ve reached out to no one. And if anyone reached out to me… Well, I made sure to keep my heart protected. And then this girl comes along. And… and… She melts me.”

Of course the story itself is very well done. I’m not sure if the author actually researched the story of Victor and Nora, but reading this graphic novel felt like author did. I loved how the author alternated the story between Nora and Victor’s perspective. Most of the graphic novels out there only has Victor’s perspective of everything. So it’s a nice breath of fresh air to see Nora’s side of things. It’s also a nice change to see these this couple in their youth. Before Victor became Mister Freeze and before Nora became frozen. It’s nice to see these two characters in love and being in their relationship with one another. And just the mundane things like hanging out with friends and arguing with family. We also see the harder, more difficult side of things concerning their mental health and Victor who’s coping with his trauma and PTSD. I really appreciated see those sides of Nora and Victor. It’s just nice to see that side of these characters before everything became intense in their story.

And I have to talk about the art because as always, Isaac Goodhart has such a beautiful art style. I really loved seeing the Tim Burton type of twist in the beginning. That was such a pleasant surprise and I think that was my particular favorite. However, the artist has a fantastic way of highlighting these scenes that are softer, kinder and the scenes that are intense like the panels where Nora is seeing the crow. The way those panels were designed with the shading and lighting really made for a great reading experience.

My only real issue with this graphic novel has to be the one key detail that’s always remained true to Victor and Nora’s story line. Victor and Nora were and always have been married when Victor froze Nora. While I’m not sure if this was an intentional change for the story, given the audience this graphic novel is trying to target, but this is one key element that should have been included especially since this could have impacted the way this graphic novel concluded. Even more so, it seems the scene of attempted suicide was included (which has never be a part of Victor and Nora’s story) to replace the fact that Victor and Nora have been married. If you were to really look at the context of the graphic novel, we already see Nora and Victor fight over Victor suggesting he cryogenically freeze Nora until he can find a cure. Then the whole scene of attempted suicide comes in to play. In a way, depending on what you take away from this, all of these events lead to painting Victor in a negative light and making it seem like he was giving Nora no other choice than to be frozen. For my reading experience, personally, I would have preferred if we saw them elope or actually have a wedding ceremony compared to this one tweak of their story line. It comes off as hopeless, very negative way to lead into an ending for this graphic novel and I think it would have really benefitted this graphic novel to have a little more good scenes than fully wrap this graphic novel up on such a heavy note.

“But I don’t care. I’m just happy to be alive. Happy to be in love.”

Overall, I really enjoyed myself reading this graphic novel. I definitely think the marriage panel could have been added in to help balance the heaviness of the ending and to also stay semi-true to Victor and Nora’s original story. Also, I think this graphic novel shouldn’t have been so heavy with the death and suicide elements. If this graphic novel is targeting a younger audience, I’m not sure if going the darker route was the best path to take especially when it concerns those who are typically reading middle grade level books. However, I really liked this. It was so refreshing to see these characters outside of their usual setting, you know, Victor being a villain and Nora being fully frozen. And if you couldn’t tell, I just really love and appreciate the love story that is Nora and Victor’s. My heart felt so full reading this. And I have to mention the mental health and trauma/PTSD representation was very well done. I really liked how we got see those pieces throughout the book. I definitely recommend this to those who enjoy the DC Universe or even the Gotham Universe. I especially recommend this to those who love Victor and Nora’s relationship like I do. And of course, if you need a quick read or you’re look for a new graphic novel to pick up then I have to recommend this graphic novel!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi

Uncategorized

Blue Period, Vol 1 by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (October 13th, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking and side remarks directed at a side character who crossdresses

“Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth relationship: Tell people what they want to hear. Don’t focus on yourself, make sure they are having fun in the conversation. At least that the only way I know how to communicate.”

I can’t believe how much I loved this manga and I still can’t believe I didn’t know about this series sooner! This might be a new favorite manga series I need to invest in because this story line, these characters, oh be still my fluttering soul. Going into this book, not realizing how centered around art it was, and then being blown away by so much within these pages was truly an experience. And I just really enjoyed this manga so much, with my whole heart!

Our story follows second year student, Yatora Yaguchi, who’s always gone with the flow and making sure to be practical, to stay on the path his family expects of him. He’s spent most of his time pleasing those around him, never really talking about his passions or interests because to choose those would cause trouble for those around him, or so he believes. When one day he returns to the art room, he comes across a painting that stirs something within his soul and shortly after, his thoughts begin to be consumed by art.

I really loved Yatora as our main character. Yatora’s character is such a breath of fresh air especially in the manga world. Yatora is classified or labeled as a “delinquent”, but despite the bleached hair and the terrible smoking habit, Yatora is actually an honors student and has really high marks on their grade card. And like any coming of age story, we see a light shined upon some of the inner thoughts almost every high schooler has, thoughts such as passion vs. money, hobby vs. career, follow expectations vs. make your own path, peer pressure, parents support and disappointment, etc… We see a lot of that inner monologue with Yatora and I think many readers will be able to connect with a lot of those thoughts. There’s a moment where Yatora receives praise for a class assignment and how it touched him, how good it felt, and I truly believe that scene alone will resonate with so many readers.

“And those who are true to themselves make truly great art. Because art is a language without words.”

I think the progression of the story is the biggest factor that impacted my reading of this manga. The progression of this book is very much geared towards providing information about art and the various art school in Japan. Setting that aside, I couldn’t help becoming swept up in all the hard work, the dedication, and the way Yatora’s skills were developing. Even meeting the side characters and learning about their own skills was really enjoyable. I’ve never been an artist, but this book reminded me of how much I love to draw and sketch. However, I do think some readers will feel bogged down with the amount of information that’s scattered throughout this book.

I do want to say that there were a few minor things that caused me to reread the passages to make sure I was reading them correctly. Yatora’s friends are really disrespectful and there were times where it caught me off guard or it would throw off the entire vibe of a scene. There were also one or two moments where side remarks were made towards the side character Yuka, who cross dresses. For most readers, I think this will get overlooked or no one will talk about it. However, when I caught it and then noticed it was never challenged, it didn’t quite sit right with me. And that might be my own reaction especially due to cross dressing in the past myself, but it was hard to tell what the intentions were with those remarks and hopefully in future issues this will be challenged more.

“Liking something and saying so is scary.”

Overall, I had a pleasant experience and as I said, this might be a new series I’ll end up investing in. I’m eager to see how things will play out, I’m dying to know if Yatora will tell his parents, and most importantly, I want to see more of the side characters in the art club. There’s just a really soothing and enjoyable mood when all the art club students are together. Plus, the teacher is a a true gem and she’s one of those teachers who really cares for her students. If you’re looking for a new manga series to fall in love with, I definitely recommend give this series a chance. I think many readers will enjoy the progression of this manga and be eager to find out what will happen next!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

|GoodReads|Instagram|YouTube|Wishlist|Kofi