Sera And The Royal Stars #2 by Jon Tsuei Comic Review

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 2 by Jon TsueiSera And The Royal Stars #2 by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (Artist), Raúl Angulo (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer), & Tim Daniel (Design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: August 28, 2019

Pages: 28

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Sera And The Royal Stars Vol. 1

Summary: After rescuing the Eye of the Bull, Sera returns to Parsa, only to discover it is no longer her home. Just when it seems war has stripped Sera of everything she holds dear, a surprising ally emerges. Together they set out to turn the tables on her uncle Shaheen’s invading forces. 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Sera continues her quest to restore the Royal Stars in the page-turning Issue #2! Delving into even more of the politics, mythology, and familial ties of this series, Sera’s adventure takes her back home with a new ally!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you’d know that Sera And The Royal Stars is the main comic series right now that has literally taken over my life!

Words can’t describe how this story just sweeps me away with each issue from its detailed artwork, expansive world (inspired by Ancient Persia), gripping story and phenomenal cast of characters! Sera is inspiring and wonderful― though I’m only 2 issues in, I feel I already know so much about her! I’m incredibly excited to see where her journey takes her next.

As we learn in Issue #1, Sera has been tasked with breaking “the bonds that bind the Royal Stars…” Which means she must find the deities of her country’s past and awaken them to allow the seasons to turn once again. Only then, will the Empire Of Parsa and its people no longer suffer, even as they undergo a civil war. The first deity she’s tasked with finding, is the Bull and makes her way to an old temple, where a mysterious old man can’t seem to remember who he is!

Issue #2 picks up right where it leaves off with us figuring out the old man is in fact the Bull! Starting off with an action scene that pulls you in, Sera and the Bull are in the middle of fighting of hordes of lizard monsters in the temple.

Once the battle is done, the Bull (also known as Aldebaran) tells her that the temple has been “lost to time” and at one point “all people worshiped” the Royal Stars!

Delving further into the mythology of the world, Sera gets more insight into the other Royal Stars she’s meant to find and awaken (scorpion, fish, and lion so far). Also if they don’t act fast, they may lose the chance at getting the seasons turning again.

As Sera heads home, she realizes the aftermath of her uncle’s surprise attack on the kingdom! He’s taken over and her brother Jahar is nowhere to be found!

Family is an intricate and important element of this series and those ties are explored a bit more in Issue #2. From confronting her cousin (now prince) Nima, her uncle, and reuniting with her father and sister Roya. Even getting more background to Sera’s mother (who we already know was given the same task of restoring the Stars). I really appreciate the layers and complex ties of family that are being explored so far in this series! I’m looking forward to seeing how these threads continue to evolve over the future issues.

The scope of the world does seem to be more centralized in this particular issue and that’s mainly because of its focus on the royal family and Sera’s quest.

Luckily, as Sera finds herself reaching home and getting to continue her quest, she and Aldebaran are not alone! It turns out, the Scorpion is finally awoken!

The full page of Scorpion (Antares) being transformed/awoken in the palace’s throne room was one of my favorite pages! Her outfit is detailed and she is such a fierce deity I can’t wait to learn more about (also you have to definitely appreciate her friendly banter w/ Aldebaran)!

The setting immerses you from the very beginning and as with the previous issue, where your swept away into the hidden temple, tension of the throne room, and outskirts of the empire! I’m really looking forward to seeing what else there is to explore in this vast world that’s being set-up! Sera And The Royal Stars as single issues really balances the world-building, plot, and character-development in a fantastic way where it always leaves you wanting more after the last page!

As with Issue #1, Audrey Mok’s artwork continues to be an absolute highlight of this series! Similar to my thoughts with the first issue, its colorful, detailed, especially when it comes to character introductions, clothing, and landscapes. Again, probably one of my favorite pages was Scorpion’s intro (the detail on her spear, her long white braid, and her epic outfit!), also the trail of red smoke that symbolized her entrance just added a whole other layer to the issue!

I think my only minor critique is that was a slower-paced issue, where its focused on more on a couple of the core themes already established. It delves more into the complex familial ties/politics, and mythology, which puts the plot on a bit of a slower pace. But, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in Issue #3 as Sera’s journey with the Royal Stars continues!

Sera And The Royal Stars is an epic fantasy adventure that follows an arrow-wielding princess whose sent on a quest that could turn the tides of her country’s civil war! Issue #2 takes time to develop on the politics, lore and mythology, alongside the familial ties that were introduced in Issue #1! If your looking for a fantasy tale filled with ancient prophecies, great cast of characters, set in an immersive world as shown through the great artwork, then you should definitely pick up this series!

 

Graphic Novel & Comic Recommendations Featuring Women Of Color

This past weekend it was D23 (an expo to showcase/celebrate Disney properties + announce upcoming Disney projects)! One of those projects that had many (including myself) incredibly excited was that there is now a live-action series for Ms. Marvel in the works for Disney+.

To celebrate that announcement, I’m sharing a list of comics and graphic novels featuring women of color! A lot of these series are ones that have really stuck with me with their immersive stories, wonderful artwork and above all, feature inspiring female leads!

831. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (artist)

Publisher: Marvel

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Summary: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey! 

I remember when I first getting back into graphic novels, this was a series I picked up in my early days as a book blogger (2015) and fell in love with it! Not only was it the first female-led superhero series I’d ever read, but also I loved that it had a diverse lead (Muslim & Pakistani-American). Also, after looking at my Goodreads, I really need to catch up on this series! I can’t wait to see how the Disney+ series turns out, looking forward to seeing Kamala on screen! ⚡❤

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 12. Sera And The Royal Stars by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (artist), Raúl Angulo (colorist),  Jim Campbell (letterer), & Tim Daniel (design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: July 17, 2019 (issue #1) & Jan. 2020 Vol. 1

Full Review: Sera And The Royal Stars Issue #1

Summary: Civil war rages in the Empire of Parsa, and famine has struck. As the seasons refuse to turn, Princess Sera receives a vision from the deity Mitra telling her to find the Royal Stars and restore them to the heavens. Despite her kingdom and her troops’ need of her command, Sera embarks on a quest to find the fallen stars-now trapped on earth-and save her people from dearth and death.

Its been such a long time since I’ve found myself reading comic/graphic novel series and keeping up with them regularly, that is until, I discovered Sera And The Royal Stars! The first issue introduces colorful and detailed artwork, the world of Parsa is expansive, and I can’t wait to see where Princess Sera’s epic journey takes her next as she embarks on a quest at the height of her country’s civil war! This is a fantastic series and I highly recommend picking it up if you love fantasy tales with ancient prophecies, epic journeys, immersive world-building, and more! 💖💫

goldie-vance-vol-13. Goldie Vance Vol. 1 by Hope Larson (writer) & Brittney Williams (artist)

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Full Review: Goldie Vance Volume 1

Summary: GOLDIE VANCE IS ON THE CASE

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day be the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills, and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles, or chasing a helicopter to do it!

If your looking for a fun, 1960’s-set graphic novel filled with mystery and featuring a diverse cast (biracial, queer, & Black rep!) pick this series up! I’ve only read volume 1, but I really want to get back into this series again because I love mystery stories! 🔍🌟

M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder4. M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder (author & artist)

Publisher: Insight Comics

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Full Review: M.K.F.: Book One

Summary: A fantastic adventure following the story of Abbie, a deaf girl with a mysterious power, who is traveling across a vast desert to scatter her mother’s ashes.

In a world of sleeping gods, a broken government, and a fragile peace held in the hands of the corrupt, one youth must find the strength to stand up against evil and save humanity.

This story is not about that youth.

It’s about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine and scatter her mother’s ashes. But the way is filled with sandstorms, wild beasts, and rogues that wield inhuman powers and prey on poor desert dwellers. When one of these rogues threatens the town where Abbie takes refuge, she must choose between running, or unleashing her own hidden power to meet danger head-on.

Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world.

This is one of those graphic novels that in my opinion, is highly underrated! It has a lot of diverse representation within its main cast (featuring brown-skinned characters and Abbie, the MC, is deaf). I fell in love with this incredibly unique and moving story about Abbie who’s trekking across the desert alongside her giant pet bird, to spread her mother’s ashes! The artwork is beautifully illustrated and introduces so many different elements from some sci-fi/fantasy and is incredibly character-driven as she finds refuge in a small town and makes new friends! I remember reading MFK: Book One back in 2017 and was so excited to pick up the next volume, I haven’t heard much about a continuation recently but I do hope to one day see another installment of this wonderful series! 💖🏜

The Avant-Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin

5.The Avant Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin (writer), Noah Hayes (artist), Rebecca Nalty (Colorist), & Ed Dukeshrire (Letterer)

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Summary: When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.

As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this upcoming series and I’m counting down the days until its release! I’ve also been wanting to get into more sports-related stories and this one looks fantastic- not only does it feature a diverse cast, but its also about a women’s basketball team, and has a lot of queer representation! The Avant-Guards looks incredible and I’m hyped to read it when its finally out on shelves! 🏀🎉

And that’s my list of comic and graphic novel recommendations featuring women of color! I highly recommend checking out all of these wonderful female-led series and adding them to your TBR if you haven’t already! 📚❤

Are any of these on your list? Do you have any other recommendations you think I should check out? 📚✨🎉

Sera And The Royal Stars #1 by Jon Tsuei Comic Review

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 1Sera And The Royal Stars #1 by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (Artist), Raúl Angulo (Colorist),  Jim Campbell (Letterer), & Tim Daniel (Design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: July 17, 2019

Pages: 28

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Sera And The Royal Stars Vol. 1

Summary: Civil war rages in the Empire of Parsa, and famine has struck. As the seasons refuse to turn, Princess Sera receives a vision from the deity Mitra telling her to find the Royal Stars and restore them to the heavens. Despite her kingdom and her troops’ need of her command, Sera embarks on a quest to find the fallen stars—now trapped on earth—and save her people from dearth and death.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Sera And The Royal Stars #1 is a must-read epic fantasy-adventure comic! The detailed art, page-turning story, alongside its rich and expansive world, all come together to deliver a great introduction to what I know will be a fantastic series! Princess Sera finds herself embarking on a quest to save her kingdom and its people during the height of a civil war!

Sera And The Royal Stars is a comic series I’ve been waiting to read for months since I’d heard about it earlier this spring! I’d already been following the publisher for sometime,  I just hadn’t read any of their comics yet. I’m SO filled with joy that I finally did because I’m even more excited to read more of Vault’s comics on my TBR shelf!

This is the kind of story that swept me away without realizing it, allowing me to connect with its rich world, phenomenal characters, and immersive story and before I knew it― I’d reached the last page.

Sera And The Royal Stars is the type of story that roots you into its fascinating world (and doesn’t let go for one single second), as seen through a brave and valiant princess who’s willing to trek across her war-torn land to save her country and its people!

In the western territories of Parsa the story opens up with Princess Sera alongside her brother and sister (Jahar & Roya), who’ve come to collect the fallen soldiers as they continue on to fight a civil war across their dying land.

But Sera finds herself, in the midst of battle, summoned by the deity Mitra! She’s told that she’s been chosen to “break the bonds that bind the Royal Stars…” Once she does, she can save her people who have been suffering. With one more visit from Mitra, the deity replaces Sera’s heart with a special crystal and her journey quickly begins! The crystal seems to guide her along her journey and I’m interested in learning more about it.

The empire of Parsa is vast and within this first issue we get just a glimpse , but it leaves so many pockets of this world open to exploring―places, characters, the mythology, and the royal family!

What I loved about this first issue is how we’re thrown right into the action and already established story threads! We’re given all of these detailed bits of world-building to learn more about the story itself in a layered way! For example, Sera states that she’s already aware of the visions she’s had, but Mitra was the first to actually speak! Additionally we learn more about the queen, Tara who wasn’t able to complete the mission of restoring the dimming royal stars.

The layered and subtle details allow for the reader to build on this vast world with each turn of the page!

I’m also a big fan of royalty in fantasy stories and I appreciate how this first issue layers the complexity of the royal family, above all showcasing the importance of family (seeing Sera and her siblings fighting together)! I also love how the mythology and lore of Parsa are such driving forces in Sera’s journey to find a solution to this war–it allows the reader to get a glimpse into the on-going conflict and history of the world.

Sera is an incredibly dedicated and brave princess who’s love for her country and its people that pushes her to embark on a heroic quest!

Sibling dynamics are often overlooked in fantasy, but its clear Sera And The Royal Stars wants to explore it in more depth as future issues are released. Within issue #1, not only do we see Sera, Jahar, and Roya together on the battlefield, but also the conflict between family as the presence of war continues.

As Sera prepares to leave for her journey, her brother Jahar offers figs and feels confident in Sera’s abilities to find the answer. However, her sister Roya still carries the grief and anger of being abandoned by their mother all those years ago–just wanting Sera safe and staying home to fight!

I’m really interested in exploring more of the wonderful sibling dynamics that were introduced, in future issues.

Now onto the story–just wow! There’s so much that happens within this first issue and sets up even more as the series continues. After Sera’s vision on the battlefield, she heads back and we’re introduced to the king and quickly learn that the civil war is against Shaheen, Sera’s uncle!

We also learn that the queen was also called upon a similar mission to Sera’s but couldn’t complete it. As Sera is sleeping she’s contacted by Mitra and learns if she doesn’t break the bonds of the royal stars, not only will the seasons continue to remain unchanged, but her people will be led towards a horrible fate. Sera wastes no time leaving for her journey which starts with being directed east to find the Bull.

As she embarks on her journey, back home outside Parsa’s city walls, Shaheen is readying his forces to attack the kingdom! With Sera being the best tactician, the kingdom is left without her intellect.

After a few days of traveling she reaches a local village that directs her to a temple filled with ancient magic! She meets an old man who can’t remember who he is, until we realize he is the Bull–and the issue ends there!

Alongside Sera’s uncle, there’s a mysterious brother and sister duo who know quite a bit about the deities, the figure known as the Yazata, and are determined to rule, in time!

There’s a very present theme of war and its impacts on the people of Parsa from famine, to death, alongside mysterious forces at every turn. The plot though dark in its themes, presents resounding messages of hope and resilience!

“My earliest memories of family all revolve around war…”

Delving more into the mythology of Sera And The Royal Stars, the world seems to lay a large foundation on the deities and astrology! According to an interview with writer/creator Jon Tsuei over at Comics Pit, Tsuei was inspired to build this world around ancient Persia and wanted to focus on mythology from non-Western (specifically Asian) cultures:

” [The idea of the Royal Stars] seems to have originated through the Zoroastrian religion, which started in ancient Persia…It led me to sorcery and also led me to astrology…”

The setting is incredibly immersive, expansive and leaves so much to explore in future issues! The world of Parsa is vast from its rocky canyons of the Western Territories to its capital city, villages far from the outskirts of the kingdom, lush forests, and magical temples! There’s so many locations explored in issue 1 and not once did I feel lost in the world–I was excited to learn more and see what else lies in the expansive Kingdom of Parsa!

I’m also interested in exploring more of the politics of the different parts of the world, royals, and the war as the series continues!

The themes, world, characters, story, etc. all come together in such an incredible way to deliver an such a complex and layered story that’s easily my new favorite series!

Audrey Mok’s artwork is another highlight of this series! Its colorful and detailed, showcasing lush backgrounds, various styles of clothing, detailed characters, and the vastness of the world itself. As for the paneling, its done extremely well– the pacing of the story is great, each panel offers something important to the story and offers more insight into the world.

Also, every moment filled with action, shined through Mok’s detailed art and brought each scene to life!

I had such incredibly high hopes for this start to the Sera And The Royal Stars series and I was not disappointed, in fact I was left surprised and everything about it continued to exceed my expectations–I loved every moment and I can’t wait to read the future issues!

Sera And The Royal Stars #1 introduces an expansive fantasy world in the middle of war! Sera embarks on a heroic journey to save her people, while dark forces loom close by! If you love fantasy tales filled with epic journeys, ancient prophecies, royalty, heroic princesses, immersive world-building, and stunning artwork, don’t miss Sera And The Royal Stars, its a phenomenal start to a new comic series!

September 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram1.Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

ARC | Started August 25 + Finished September 3 |Rating:★★★★☆| Darius The Great Is Not Okay ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: A moving and deeply character-driven debut! I loved how Khorram explored the character-dynamics + relationships that Darius has and how they differ between each other. Darius takes a trip with his family to visit grandparents in Iran. This trip isn’t just about him connecting more with his cultural background, but also allowing him to carve a space for himself when he is unsure of where he fits in. He also makes a new friend while there, Shorab. They play soccer and their friendship is given so much page-time & development! Because depression is very much present in Darius’s life, we see how its impacted his views of situations and people around him, etc, so there’s a great exploration of mental health. There’s such a focus on family, friendship, and acceptance of ones-self that are such central themes to the book. My only major issue that impacted my rating, was that many times there were pauses written in to Darius’s thinking (b/c its 1st person; “um”). I felt it never really added anything to the story and because we already know the anxiety Darius feels, it felt very unnecessary and was a bit overused. But aside from that, overall what makes Darius The Great Is Not Okay such a wonderful debut to check out is the depth to the characters and story!

Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun Volume 32.Monthly-Girl’s Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 by Izumi Tsubaki

Owned | Started + Finished September 6 |Rating:★★★★☆ | Monthly-Girl’s Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Monthly-Girl’s is a brilliant & underrated manga series that follows Chiyo who has a crush on one of her classmates Nozaki & through hilarious scenarios filled with misunderstandings, becomes his assistant & meets tons of new friends! What makes this series so great is the unique and dynamic cast of characters that you connect with so easily and the clever ways the author puts comedic spins on romance/romance tropes! This volume focuses more on the side characters and their development. My only minor issue is that in this volume its more focused on the scenarios & skits that the plot doesn’t really connect & did feel a bit different than the previous volumes. However, this manga series continues to be one of my favorites, with brilliantly-timed jokes, fun & immersive skits & similar to volumes 1 & 2, puts the cast in such hilarious situations while also bringing them to life with each page!

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad3. Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Library | Started + Finished September 13 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Fence Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence is a fast-paced character-driven series that is incredibly immersive as it introduces you to the world of championship fencing! Fence Vol. 1 follows Nicholas Cox as he tries to prove he’s ready to get into the leagues of championship fencing, but with his loss against championship fencer Seiji Katayama, he gets set back quite a bit, but vows to challenge him again one day & win! This 1st volume not only introduces the main cast, but also whats at stake for Nicholas as he finds himself at the King’s Row boarding school & with his roommate being none other than, Seiji! I go more into depth as to why I rated this lower than when I read the single issues, but basically after a re-read I found the characters to be a bit static & the first few issues overall seem more as set up for something much bigger than the story its really giving you in this volume! Aside from that, Fence Vol. 1 is a fun series filled with friendship, rivalries, championships, & of course–fencing!

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes4. Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

ARC |Started September 15 + Finished September 18 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Analee, In Real Life Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Milanes delivers another stunning YA Contemporary! This novel follows Analee who finds things difficult to say in real life, but through her favorite online RPG, she plays as a character who is all the things she aspires to be: brave, outgoing, and always willing to take chances! The plot is fantastic, wonderfully paced, and told through a relatable 1st person POV! Milanes’s novel follows Analee learning to come out of her shell when she decides to start a fake relationship with Seb Matias who is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, thinking she can win back her friend Lily, who’s also part of the popular crowd. The friendship/relationship that develops between the 2 was so incredibly developed and I loved how the each grow with each other’s help. I loved it!! Aside from Seb & Analee’s relationship, there’s also themes of family, love & loss that is explored as we also learn that Analee’s mother’s death 3 years earlier has left both her and her father still grieving. Analee learns more about her stepmother Harlow & step-sister Avery! The incredible characters, plot, and themes explored made Milanes’s latest book another on of my all-time favorite YA Contemporary books! I loved everything about Analee, In Real Life and highly recommend it if your a fan of: Online RPGs, fake dating, diverse cast of characters, exploration of family, friendship, & love! 

Wildcard by Marie Lu5.Wildcard by Marie Lu (Warcross #2)

Owned | Started September 20 + Finished September 21 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Wildcard Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Wildcard was such a unique finale, but also delivers new elements that made it different from Warcross, in a great way! I found it delivered more on political intrigue and character-development, even hints of a psychological thriller in a way, that added many layers of depth to what we remember in Warcross. Without spoiling too much, I also enjoyed the addition to new characters and seeing a different side to the stakes introduced previously in book 1! My only minor issue is that because it is more character-driven and intrigue heavy, story/character threads did feel a bit slower and the development felt a bit uneven at times. However, Wildcard is definitely a finale that will leave you at the edge of your seat as the stakes and the game, changes!

The Carrying by Ada Limón6. The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón

Library | Started + Finished September 26 | Rating: ★★★★★ | The Carrying: Poems Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Limón’s collection explores life, death, identity, womanhood, youth, and so much more through a writing-style that has such vivid imagery and paints so many different emotions with each poem! Limón’s poems (broken up into 3 parts) really leave you thinking and reflecting as each line carries such weight and depth. I also loved the beautiful imagery/view of nature and how it connects to so many differing emotions explored throughout this collection! The Carrying is easily one of my favorite poetry collections of all-time. It really left an impact as it explored so much about life and reflecting on the intense and emotional moments in life! 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Latinx YA Book Recommendations For Your TBR! {2018 + 2019}

Waiting On Wednesday #10

Book Bytes #15

Latinx Book Bingo TBR! {Book Blog Discussion}

~ I also started a Medium page for my blog on the 7th just add onto what I post on my blog! But, overall I think it’ll be where I have more discussions, you can check it out Here
The posts currently on it talk about annotating books & audio dramas!

Plans For October:

~ Catch up on ARCs! I feel like this’ll probably be my goal each month for the rest of the year 😅📚✨There’s ARCs I hope to read ahead of time before release & review them on the blog! 💖📚✨

~ I’ve been listening to some new podcasts recently, so I’m also going to plan out some more reviews and recommend some new ones! 😍💞✨🎙

~ Read more than last month! I feel like I’m a pretty behind on recent releases, so I really want to try to get back on track with my TBR! 📚✨🎉🎉

What books did you read this month? Any bookish plans for October? 😍💕📚🎃✨

Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente Review

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The MadFence Volume 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad (Artist) + Joana Lafuente (Artist)

Publisher: Boom! Box (Boom Studios) 

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Pages: 112

Summary: Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…

Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Fence Vol. 1 is a fast-paced, character-driven series that follows aspiring fencer Nicholas who wants to prove he has what it takes to make it as a champion! From the fencing, competitions, high stakes, complex character dynamics, and so much more, this is gearing up to be quite a series!

So if you’ve been following my blog, you may have already seen my review of Fence, issues 1-3 in January!

Because the single issues (for me) were getting a bit pricey, I decided to put the series on hold and wait for the first volume collection!

So with this essentially being a bit of re-read, (except for Issue 4), overall I loved Fence as much as I did the first time! There’s such an interesting (but rather slow) dynamic between Nicholas Cox, 16-year old who’s new to the world of competitive fencing and Seiji Katayama, fencing prodigy, who’s on his way to the championships and possibly getting a scholarship from Exton (the best fencing school in the country).

Nicholas hints that his father, Robert Coste, was a fencing champion in the 80’s but now has is with his what Nicholas calls “legitimate” son, Jesse Coste, who currently fences for Exton!

We follow Nicholas as he makes his way to his first match in a Connecticut circuit, but ultimately loses against Seiji! However, after a 15-0 loss, Nicholas vows to challenge him again, one day!

Six months later, Nicholas makes his way to the all-boys boarding school on a fencing scholarship, King’s Row and learns his roommate is none other than Seiji!

After issue 2, Fence introduces life at King’s Row, the fencing team, and the beginnings of Nicholas and his journey to prove himself as a fencer worthy of his spot at King’s Row!

Aside from Nicholas & Seiji, the other characters I love are Bobby (who becomes one of Nicholas’s good friends) & Dante, Bobby’s best friend! (They are my faves <3)

Fence is a pretty plot-driven series for the most part, fast-paced, & the story is incredibly immersive!

I also love how diverse Fence is! From characters of different ethnic backgrounds, such as black characters (coach Williams & Harvard–Fencing capitan), Seiji (Japanese), Kings Row fencers Eugene (Filipino) & Bobby (trans), and there’s also gay rep. hinted at, but more clearly shown in volume 3!

I also love how this series has characters from different economic backgrounds and (though a bit vague), shows differing family dynamics!

Now I did rate it (& issues 1-3) 4.5 on goodreads, but after this re-read I think for this review I’ll leave it at 4 stars (But, I’ll see how I feel after future volumes)... My critiques are: I’m not the biggest fan of one of the King’s Row fencers, Aiden (he reminds me a lot of a female character in Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun named Kashima, but I like Kashima better TBH <3!), the art-style could have been a little more detailed (in the backgrounds especially), and the side characters for the most part felt static.

Another thing I noticed from a re-read is that because some characters are static and the story is gearing in a direction that I’m looking forward to, it just feels a little too planned out! With the quick pace, it feels as if Fence is more setting up for whats going to come and not really lay the foundation for the story its giving us (if that makes sense)?

However, I will say what is really keeping me invested in this series, is where the story is headed exactly for Nicholas & Seiji!

But overall, Fence is such a delightful, character-driven series that is just fun all around! I definitely recommend checking it out!

Fence Vol. 1 will leave you wanting more! Its a character-driven series that is fast-paced, inclusive, while having a cast and story that easily immerses you! From fencing, boarding schools, rivalry, championships, friendships, & so much more, Fence is a must read series!

July 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)1.Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)

Library | Started July 1 + Finished July 5 |Rating: ★★★★☆ | Artificial Condition Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven continuation to The Murderbot Diaries! Artificial Condition follows Murderbot who is trying to learn more about its past by looking for the now abandoned mining facility, Ganaka Pit (where it went rogue). Similar to All Systems Red, I love how immersive the world is! In this novella, there’s some new characters, and its great that the tech introduced to this world gets expanded on, which in general adds even more to the world building! I did find however, that the crew that Murderbot joins in this novella were a bit forgettable and the pacing was pretty slow! However, this is easily one of my favorite speculative fiction/SFF novellas and I can’t wait to see where book 3 is headed!

Little Witch Academia Vol. 12. Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 by Yoh Yoshinari & Keisuke Sato (Artist)

Owned | Started + Finished July 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, magical adaptation to the Little Witch Academia anime! If you’ve never seen it, I’d recommend watching the 2013 short & then watch the Netflix anime (its amazing!! ) So, Little Witch Academia follows Akko Kagari, who comes from a non-magical family, and attends the Luna Nova Academy (an all-female academy for witches!). The manga basically follows her journey to get to Luna Nova, making new friends (like Lotte & Sucy), and getting into some pretty sticky situations while at Luna Nova! Its a pretty quick read, but the characters, plot and art are just so well done! Little Witch Academia is a fun and immersive read that I highly recommend if your looking for a light manga to get into!

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion3.Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion

Library | Started July 10 + Finished July 11 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Someday, Somewhere Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Someday, Somewhere is a deeply moving contemporary that has main characters you’ll fall in love with! Told through a dual POV, this book follows Dominique and Ben and the connection + relationship that forges between the both of them! The eloquent writing is honestly what brings out the heart of each of the main characters! Ben is a musical prodigy and Dom dreams of becoming a dancer! The book starts when she sees Ben preform at Carnegie Hall and his music moves her to tears! Champion does a phenomenal job at building both Dom & Ben, from truly getting to the depths of their hearts and understanding their hopes, dreams, and fears! It was also great to see such diversity in this novel, from Dom who is biracial (1/2 white + Ecuadorian), her father is Ecuadorian, her best friend Cass is gay + black, Someday, Somewhere also explores bipolar disorder, though its subtly weaved into Ben’s POV, it becomes more of a central part of the novel nearing the end! My only minor issue is that ending was a bit rushed, but Someday, Somewhere is definitely a lyrical, moving, and character-driven YA Contemporary I recommend checking out!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch4. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Library | Started July 14 + Finished July 17 |Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾ | Love & Luck Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Love & Luck was a character-driven and atmospheric YA Contemporary perfect for summer! Following Lina’s friend from Love & Gelato, Addie. She & her brother Ian are forced to stick together by their mother (or risk dropping their school sports) and make their way to Italy (to meet up with Lina), but she quickly gets sucked into a road trip across Ireland alongside Ian & his friend/tour guide Rowan. She takes with her a guide-book (she found in the hotel she was staying at)  to overcome heartbreak & with Ian’s detour through Ireland corresponding with similar stops in the heartbreak guide +sports on the line, Addie knows she has no other choice but to tag along! Welch does such an amazing job at really building her main characters and allowing you to really understand them by the end! I also loved that this book really focuses on family and friendship. However, I did find there were some issues for me from the “guide sections” of the book that really slowed the pacing, side + some ‘main’ characters being pretty forgettable, & a certain plot point that could have been expanded on!

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris5. Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (Spectacle #1)

Library | Started July 18 + Finished July 18 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Spectacle Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is a captivating graphic novel! Set in the Samson Brother’s Circus, we follow twin sisters Anna & Kat (Anna is an engineer + part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower). The circus is stuck in the desert for some time, so to lift people’s spirits, Jebediah Tetanus, the circus owner, decides to throw a party! Anna enjoys the party as she waits for her sister, but when she returns to her room, she finds her twin sister, Kat stabbed in the back. Suddenly she learns that Kat is a ghost & Anna is the only one able to see/communicate with her. So they team up and begin to find answers over what happened to Kat! The plot, characters, magic system, paranormal elements, mystery, humor etc. are all wonderfully explored + developed! So, even with so many different elements they all fit together and your never left lost or confused, additionally the mystery just continues to build over the course of the story! The art is beautiful and there’s so much diversity from representation to body types, and nearing the end it hints at lesbian rep.! Spectacle Vol. 1 is a magical and mysterious graphic novel that I loved so much and highly recommend!

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James6. The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James

Owned | Started July 24 + Finished July 26 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | The Loneliest Girl In The Universe Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is a thought-provoking YA Sci-Fi with so many layers! Romy is the only left aboard the space craft, The Infinity! She plans to continue her ship’s mission to make it to Earth II, but a news of a potential war on earth brings about a  lot of change for Romy on her journey! With communication cut between her & her NASA therapist on earth, she luckily gets word of a ship (The Infinity) that plans to join hers on Earth II. Now Romy is communicating with its pilot, J and the two find themselves a little less lonely as they are still light years apart! This novel isn’t just a sci-fi, with elements of mystery + thriller, as Romy has to face many different challenges throughout this book! The world-building is fantastic, the characters, plot, setting, pacing are all so incredibly done! If your looking for a unique YA Sci-Fi, The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the book to check out!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #13

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

Sacred Lies Trailer Review

Engagement In Book-Related Content & On Book Blogs {Book Blog Discussion}

Plans For August:

~ Read even more! While for July I was really happy with the quality of books I read more than the quantity, I definitely want to catch up on my TBR before my summer vacation ends! 📚✨

~ I want to try and share another podcast review & I also have a podcast/YA Book-related post I’ve been working on and can’t wait to share! (Keep an eye out on the blog for it this week!) 😍💕🎙📚✨

~ Continue with my summer reading bullet journal! ☀📚📝✨ (I may make a post about it, but I’m not entirely sure yet 😂💕!)

What books did you read this month?? 📚✨

I also recently started a Ko-Fi last month to be able to plan more bookish giveaways (US & INTL)! If you like my content or want to support my blog, it would mean a lot! 💕📚✨

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris Review {Graphic Novel}

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose GedrisSpectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pages: 136

Summary: Pragmatic engineer Anna works as a psychic in the Samson Brothers Circus, but she doesn’t believe in anything supernatural—until her twin sister Kat is murdered and comes back as a very demanding ghost. Sharing a room with her sister was hard, but now they’re sharing a body while trying to identify the killer. With few leads, a troupe full of secretive folk, and strange paranormal occurrences popping up around the circus, solving the case seems near impossible. But the murderer in their midst may be the least of their problems… 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Spectacle Vol. 1 is an immersive and captivating graphic novel! Set at the Samson Brothers Circus, engineer Anna must solve the mystery of her twin sister Kat’s death, when she returns as a ghost! Aside from mystery, there’s also magic, elements of the paranormal, humor, & a wonderfully plotted story that will leave you eager for the next volume!

Similar to Heavy Vinyl this is another one to add to the list of my all-time favorite graphic novels!

Set in the old west, the Samson Brother’s Circus gets stuck in the desert and everyone is hoping the train will be fixed so they can move onto the next town, with water running low & the heat of the desert taking a toll on them!

We follow Anna & Kat, twin sisters who work at the circus. Anna is an engineer & part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower. (Anna’s also built an interesting future predictor machine, which I thought was really cool & I loved how it weaved into the story later!)

Jebediah Tetanus, the circus founder/owner, decides to throw a party. As Kat is getting ready, she tells Anna to just go by herself and have fun instead of waiting for her.

As Anna is somewhat enjoying the party & drinks a bit too much, she stays for a while longer than expected and returns to her room to find her twin sister stabbed in the back.

Shortly after, she finds that Kat is ghost and Anna is the only one that can see her. When the Jebediah learns of what happened, he tells Anna that its best for her to solve the mystery in secret.

So as Anna begins unraveling the mystery, she finds herself with more questions than answers.

The plot unravels in such a great way, from the murder mystery, seeing more to the circus behind the scenes, learning more about the people in the circus & their connection to Kat, & more about the mystery surrounding why Kat has returned as a ghost & other strange/unique abilities that Kat & Anna have because of it.

What I loved about this graphic novel so much was the story! Aside from the murder mystery, there’s so much more to it than just that. It progresses in such a way where your never feeling like its dragging and your getting so much to the characters & story, while its still retaining the air of mystery!

It was great to get the perfect amount of backstory on so many great characters, from Carl, Kat’s assistant, Flora, Anna’s new friend who helps her solve the mystery, & so many others in the wonderful & memorable cast of characters!

The element of the paranormal is so well explored in Spectacle! From Kat as a ghost and the unique abilities that Anna gets, etc. the more that the unique lore about ghosts in this world, the more that it really expands on the mystery, but also makes you second guess what you thought you knew about Kat & her current situation!

I loved seeing the occurrences from seeing other ghosts, strange dreams, Kat being able to connect to Anna through her ghost & become a part of her & much more– all of these differing elements really made it stand out and was built so well into the story!

There’s also such great humor throughout the story! I found myself laughing a number of times and I really loved the sense of humor weaved throughout the story & characters.

Spectacle is also very diverse: from characters with differing body types, characters who identify as having dark & light brown skin, Chinese rep., & its hinted at, that there is lesbian rep.!

As for the art it is stunning! I really love the art-style that was used, its very detailed and colorful & overall I love this style of art so much!!I find it really goes so perfectly with the story!! Its beautiful!!

Spectacle is an all around fantastic graphic novel to check out! If your a fan of mystery, stories set in a circus, maybe even elements of the paranormal, Megan Rose Gedris’s Spectacle Volume 1 is a must read graphic novel! Highly recommend it!! 🎪✨

June 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin + Nina Vakueva1.Heavy Vinyl Volume 1 by Carly Usdin +Nina Vakueva (Heavy Vinyl #1)

Owned | Started/Finished June 1 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Heavy Vinyl Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, diverse, graphic novel with so much girl power set in 90’s New Jersey! Heavy Vinyl follows Chris who works alongside her all-female co-workers at her local vinyl store. With anxiety, she wants to fit in with her new friends but hasn’t gotten the chance! That is until a case of missing singer introduces her to the world her co-workers have been hiding from her: their vigilante fight club! Now she’s tagging along with them to solve the mystery and maybe uncover more along the way! This is an incredible graphic novel that’s character-driven, diverse, and just a fun story! Friendship is at the heart of Heavy Vinyl and it really shows with each page. Additionally, there’s a lot of fantastic representation among the main cast/side characters: f/f & m/m relationships, lesbian rep., black & Puerto Rican rep., interracial relationships! I adored this graphic novel so much & highly recommend it!  I think there’s only 1 volume planned which is sad, because it ends on at place leaving you to want more from the story & characters, so definitely pick it up & support it, you won’t be disappointed!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters2.Running With Lions by Julian Winters

Owned| Started June 3 + Finished June 7 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½| Running With Lions Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A coming-of-age YA sports contemporary, that really focuses on characters! Sebastian Hughes is ready for his last summer of soccer training camp with his teammates, before senior year. However things get a bit complicated when his former friend, Emir Shah, shows up. Though regardless of their past, Sebastian is eager to make Emir feel at home! Through a 3rd person POV, the characters, plot, summer setting/atmosphere come to life! A huge aspect of this novel is the way Winters explores sexuality, with characters identifying as gay and bisexual + through the teammate’s support + acceptance of each other throughout the entire book! The characters really grow as they spend their time at Camp Haven and I loved seeing their friendship dynamics with each turn of the page! The plot, characters, etc. are all wonderfully developed and the pacing is great! Highly recommend checking out Winter’s debut!

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl3. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

ARC| Started June 9 + Finished June 12 |Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾| Neverworld Wake Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Neverworld Wake was an intriguing YA Contemporary that blends with science fiction! Beatrice Hartley gets the opportunity to reconnect with her friends from boarding school at an estate, since the year or so since her boyfriend Jim’s passing. But when a mysterious man arrives, he tells them they’ve been caught in the Neverworld Wake and only one person can make out alive by the end. The mystery that surrounded Neverworld and how the info was revealed was both delivered and explored at perfect moments throughout the story. While the plot and mystery remain such huge parts of the story, I did find myself not enjoying this book as much as I’d hoped. The writing (which is 1st person) never really made me find a connection to Bea as a character and with the simplicity to the writing, some elements of the story, like side characters were pretty forgettable. However, what definitely made Neverworld Wake an immersive read, was definitely the mystery, and exploration + complexities to the Neverworld!

Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi4.Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

ARC| Started June 13 + Finished June 18 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½| Not The Girls You’re Looking For Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Aminah Mae Safi’s debut explores the complexities of family and friendship (especially female friendships) in her debut! I connected with Lulu, the main character, from the very first page! She’s outgoing, not afraid to speak her mind and I just–loved her character so much.  This novel explores the messiness of friendship in an honest + complex way, and its such a huge theme of the story. Safi really allows for both friendship & family to be explored, and I was able to really see the many different sides to these dynamics. The unique plot, themes explored, character dynamics, etc. all came together so wonderfully in Not The Girls You’re Looking For to make for such a fantastic YA Contemporary!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir5. A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #3)

Library| Started June 19 + Finished June 25|Rating:★★★★☆| A Reaper At The Gates Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is very much a darker continuation to the An Ember In The Ashes series! Character development and lore/mythology are such huge parts of this book and really take center stage. I loved seeing the development and growth to Laia, Helene, and Elias. They are such phenomenal characters and you really see where their fates lead them in this book! War and the dark aftermath of it are explored in this novel and its just heartbreaking. While this was such a great book, I found for me personally that the pacing in the first 1/2 or so made this book a bit difficult for me to really love it as with the previous ones. With the pacing, I felt that with the urgency of the stakes that are given + alongside the writing that made side characters, setting, etc. feel a bit under-developed and not as fully immersive for me in previous books. However regardless of that, as soon as I reached the end, I needed the next book right away. So, I am beyond excited to read the final book and see what Sabaa has in store for the world/story of Ember! 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #12

Audio Dime Museum Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Currently Reading & YA Books On My June 2018 TBR!

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye Exclusive Cover Reveal

Dark Ages Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Plans For July:

~READ MORE!! I feel like I just haven’t been reading much as I’d hoped (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`) & before summer ends, really want to catch up on my TBR! If you have any tips to read more, definitely let me know!! 😭💕📚📚

~ Post more podcast reviews for Literary Listens! June was my first month posting audio drama podcast reviews & they were such fun posts to make!! I really hope to review/recommend more audio dramas next month too!! 🎙✨💖

~Continue working on my summer bullet journal 😍📒💕☀

What books did you read this month?? 😍📚

+ What are your bookish goals for July? Lets discuss in the comments!! ✨✨

Heavy Vinyl Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin & Nina Vakueva Review {Graphic Novel}

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin + Nina VakuevaHeavy Vinyl Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva,  Irene Flores & Rebecca Nalty
(Heavy Vinyl #1)

Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Pages: 112

Summary:When Chris joins the staff at her local record store, she’s surprised to find out that her co-workers share a secret: they’re all members of a secret fight club that take on the patriarchy and fight crime!

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!

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Heavy Vinyl is an incredible graphic novel that follows an all-female vigilante group! With great art, 90’s references, female friendship, diverse representation, and of course–music, you follow Chris as she, alongside her co-workers at the local record shop, solve a case of a missing singer! With mystery, friendship, and so much more, Heavy Vinyl is a fantastic graphic novel!

I hadn’t looked too much into the summary, so all I knew going into Heavy Vinyl was: female friendship, record store, and GLBTQIA+ rep!

Heavy Vinyl was beyond spectacular!! (~˘▾˘)~♥♥ I had a feeling I would enjoy it, but by the time I reached the last page, I realized just how much I loved & adored it! ❤

Its easily become one of my new all-time favorite graphic novels! Its one I could see myself reading over & over again!! Its fantastic!!

Set in 1998 New Jersey we follow Chris, who is passionate about music & has worked at her local record shop, Vinyl Destination for about a month!

She’s gotten pretty close with her co-workers, Maggie, Dolores (who doesn’t exactly get along w/ her sometimes), Kennedy, and her manager Irene, but doesn’t feel included just yet.

She hopes to find some way to fit in with her new friends (she suspects that maybe they have a secret band, that they won’t tell her about!) and maybe find the courage to tell her co-worker/friend Maggie how she feels about her!

Then when a local band Stegosour has a gig at the shop and it turns out their lead singer Rosie Riot, goes missing, while she had her suspicions, Chris learns there’s more to her co-workers than she originally thought!

It turns out, they are actually part of an all-female vigilante group!

“It’s more than just fighting crime and beating bad guys though–we pledge to fight all forms of injustice…”

Chris is unsure whether she has what it takes to be alongside these brave women, but with some encouragement from Maggie + connecting more with Dolores, she discovers that she does belong!

The plot itself was so interesting! Its first all about Chris working in the vinyl shop and getting a bit of a romantic plot-line with Maggie and Chris wondering if anything could ever happen between them!

Then its all about the mystery surrounding Rosie who’s gone missing & Chris finding a way to fit in this secret group that her co-workers are all a part of!

However, the more they get into the mystery of trying to find Rosie & understanding why her band mates are starting to act a bit odd, the more it becomes a even more interesting case than they first thought!

The world of the vigilante group and the history behind it was developed in such a great way, where it never felt like all the info was just delivered all at once. It develops all throughout the graphic novel and builds even more into the mystery of the plot when you reach the very end!

There’s also such a great emphasis and overall theme of friendship/female friendship! Chris also has anxiety and all though she has a passion for music, she finds she doesn’t really feel like she clicks with any of her co-workers completely!

However throughout Heavy Vinyl, the more she becomes a part of the vigilante group, the more she comes out of her shell bit by bit and really feels she can belong at Vinyl Destination and connect even more with her friends!

There’s also a lot of diverse representation throughout Heavy Vinyl, which was so great to see!! From the f/f & m/m representation (Irene & her girlfriend & Maggie’s 2 fathers), black rep. (Kennedy), Puerto Rican rep. (Dolores), and lesbian rep. (Chris)!

The characters and their dynamics was one of my favorite parts! We have Chris who really looks up to Irene and wants to be like her one day (with her passion of music), we have Kennedy who kicks butt and is always on top of any situation, Maggie who is the cutest & apparently loves everything ^_^, & Logan + Chris who we see really get along through their love of comics (Logan works at the comic store not to far from Vinyl Destination & the relationship between him & Kennedy is the sweetest♥♥!!)

I also really loved the art style & the colors, they worked perfectly with the story, setting, etc.!!

While reading Heavy Vinyl, I also listened to my favorite band Haim ^_^ I don’t usually listen to music w/ lyrics while reading, but I found in this case, overall it made the reading experience even better!

I was so sad when I reached the end because its clear there is so much more to the vigilante group and the conspiracy they uncover regarding the missing bands, etc.!

I think my only very minor issue was that I wanted a bit more background for the Vinyl Destination girls like Maggie, Irene, Kennedy, & Dolores. Their characters really do shine throughout the graphic novel, I just wanted a bit more!

From what I heard, there is only 1 volume of Heavy Vinyl currently planned, but I do hope there’s more in the future!

So, if your looking to read another graphic novel or are looking for a story with female friendship, music, mystery and adventure, I highly recommend picking up Heavy Vinyl! You won’t be disappointed!

Heavy Vinyl is a stunning graphic novel! From its 90’s and music scene, great artwork, fantastic story, mystery, intrigue, diverse representation, and girl power, Heavy Vinyl is a graphic novel you don’t want to miss!

January 2018 Wrap-Up

Can’t believe the first month of 2018 is already over! Today I’ll be sharing my first Monthly Wrap-Up of 2018~ 

# Of Books Read: 9

Anchors &amp; Vacancies by Kat Savage1.Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage

Owned | Read/Finished on January 1 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |Anchors & Vacancies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Now pretty much a yearly tradition for me, I try to start off the new year by reading a poetry book, for 2018 I decided to read Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage!

This book contains 45 poems centering around the journey of a love lost and how that loss can impact a person when its difficult to let go.

This quote really stuck with me throughout the entire book:

“There’s a certain kind of ache in the chambers of my heart…”

While I really understood the complex emotions + journey Savage portrayed in the collection, on a personal level (aside from a few) many didn’t really connect with me (hence the 4 stars). However, I loved her writing-style and plan to read more of her poetry in the future.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes2. The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

Library | Started December 23 + Finished on January 4 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |The Arsonist Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Told through 3 unique POV’s, The Arsonist brilliantly weaves coming-of-age, historical fiction, & Mystery/Thriller all in one! This novel follows Molly Mavity + Ibrahim, aka, “Pepper” Al-Yussef who’s paths cross when a mysterious letter brings them together to solve the mystery of Ava Dreyman, who was a resistance fighter during the time of the Berlin Wall. The friendship between Pepper + Molly was so beautifully written and you really see how lonely they feel, but the bond of their friendship reminds them that they aren’t alone & I loved that! There’s so much complexity + mystery that really makes this book surprising. I suppose my only issue was that compared to Oakes debut The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly (Which I loved), the writing for The Arsonist felt rather flat and certain aspects from side-character development to setting description, etc. fell a bit short. Aside from that, The Arsonist is a compelling story that weaves in so many differing genres/themes that I highly recommend it if your looking for a unique read!

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire3.Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #3)

ARC | Started January 7 + Finished on January 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Beneath The Sugar Sky Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Beneath The Sugar Sky was easily my favorite book of the Wayward Children series so far! The descriptive and whimsical writing really showed McGuire’s growth as an author with this series. When Rini finds herself Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children characters, both new & returning, join Rini on her quest to the peculiar world of Confection, to bring back an old friend. Kade & Christopher are easily my favorite characters of the entire series & not only did this book remind me of that, but their banter + friendship easily made this book one of my favorites! Filled with adventure, a dynamic + diverse cast of characters, magic & mystery, Beneath The Sugar Sky is a fantastic continuation to the Wayward Children Series!

A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen4.A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen

ARC | Started January 5 + Finished on January 13 | Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½ |A Taxonomy Of Love ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The unique format & expansive timeline, made A Taxonomy Of Love a pretty unique YA Contemporary. We follow Spencer from 13-19 as he navigates life + his friendship with his new neighbor Hope Birdsong. Allen really developed the main character Spencer, while bringing so much progression & growth to his character that you can really see by the end of the novel. Throughout the story, Spencer + Hope begin to drift apart when Hope suffers an important loss in her family. Your left wondering if they’ll ever reconnect, while also seeing where their own paths are leading them. I felt however, with the constant jumps in the timeline, characters + story points had uneven development, going from extremely fast + rushed pacing to uneventful & slow moments. That made it difficult to really connect with any of the other characters, aside from a few main ones (hence the 3.5). However, Allen did a fantastic job at weaving in so many themes + developing the atmosphere of her contemporary story over such an expansive timeline!

Love Hate And Other Filters Samira Ahmed5.Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

ARC | Started January 15 + Finished on January 19 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |Love, Hate & Other Filters ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Love, Hate & Other Filters tackles such a relevant + timely issue while also balancing heart-warming moments and chilling/honest ones too! I loved Maya so much, from her passion to follow her dreams of becoming a film director to the strength and courage she builds over the course of the novel. There was one important moment I found that pretty much put the entirety of the novel into focus and that was the importance of Maya’s camera. I found it represented not only a shield for Maya, but also thinking broadly how people tend to view each other lenses (or filters!). Throughout the novel we follow Maya Aziz and her journey to not only understand who she wants to become, but seeing her inspirational journey to follow her dreams and tackle whatever life throws her way!

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad6.Fence #1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½Fence Issue #1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: 16-year old Nicholas Cox has the heart, but not exactly skill, for fencing. He’s worked from the basics and is eager to win the local tournament (Connecticut Regionals). The win from this competition could earn him a spot into a top school and allow him to receive a scholarship & continue with fencing if he is serious about pursuing it. His competition is none other than  Seiji Katayama, fencing prodigy. This first issue introduces so much from Nicholas’s past to his passion for fencing & the mysterious fencing prodigy. There is so much great development, action and dialogue that will keep you hooked! Its a brilliant start to a new comic series! (Honestly, there’s tons more I discuss in my full reviews that I can’t fully explain in this wrap-up, but I HIGHLY recommend checking out Fence 💙✨🤺)

Fence Issue 2 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad7.Fence #2 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ Fence Issue #2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence #2 is very much build-up to Nicholas & Seiji’s dynamic when they begin at King’s Row and introduction to new characters on the fencing team. We definitely see the stakes set for not only the team, but Nicholas too (considering we learn there are a limited # of spots for the main team + upcoming championships). Both Issue #1 & #2 introduce characters of color + trans rep. & it does hint at gay rep.! The tension really builds in this issue and similar to Issue #1, will keep you hooked!

Fence Issue 3 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad8.Fence #3 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½Fence Issue #2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence #3 is easily my favorite issue in the series so far! There is much more character development/background + is a very plot-driven continuation! This issue very much follows Nicholas & not only his daily campus life on King’s Row, but his determination to prove himself before his first match against a classmate. The characters from Issue #2 are getting better developed as is the gay rep. The perfect pacing, development for plotting, characters, and slight twists + turns make Issue #3, such a brilliant addition to the Fence series!

Love Sugar Magic-A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano9.Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano (W/ Cover art by Mirelle Ortega)

Library | Started January 25 + Finished January 27 | Rating:★★★★★  | Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Easily one of the best middle-grade novels I have ever read! Themes of family and friendship, alongside a delightful writing that delivers a sweet and magical tale, Love Sugar Magic was a truly unforgettable read! The story follows Leo Logroño and she comes from a family of bakers, they run the Amor y Azúcar Panadería. She’s always felt left out of the family business + feels her mother + sisters are hiding something, so a day before the Día de los Muertos festival, she sneaks her way into the bakery to see what really goes on (she soon discovers she comes from a family of brujas, who use their powers within the bakery + their treats). Now that her oldest sister Isabel knows, Leo begins to use the powers within her & experiments with the special family recipe book. However as Leo begins to lie about using her abilities to the rest of her family, she soon gets into trouble & must make very important decisions. The magic system is one of my favorite aspects about this novel, it really builds and you see how unique it is for each member of Leo’s family. The plot is perfectly developed, the writing is beautiful, the characters are spectacular, & so much more!! Such a fantastic novel, I highly recommend it!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Latinx YA Book Releases To Add To Your TBR {2018}

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄✨📚

You may have noticed, I never posted one for December. Well, that was mainly because of vacation, but also because as the months passed nearing the end of 2017 when making my monthly wrap-ups, I noticed that I began to lose my enjoyment for making/posting them because I felt like I had to (being a pretty common post in the book-community). While I do enjoy them I felt it was time to change up the review format a bit to add more to make a bit more personal (adding the format of the book + when I started/finished). And I think doing that really brought back my enjoyment for them~

So similar to this one, I may be trying out this new format for the upcoming monthly wrap-ups, but again I’m really liking how this one turned out! 😄✨📚📚💻~ But, feel free to let me know what you think of the new format in the comments!