Review: The Black Mage

Title: The Black Mage
Author: Daniel Barnes, D.J. Kirkland
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The School for Good and Evil meets Dread Nation in this subversive original graphic novel where race, history and magic collide. 

When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school’s “Magical Minority Initiative,” begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War, and could cost Tom his very soul.

Review:

Tom was the first black student admitted to the magical academy, St. Ivory. He discovers that there was another black student who went there before, which sends him on a search to find out what happened to her.

There was a lot of racism in this book. The school was completely run and attended by white students, and the teachers all wore white hoods like the Ku Klux Klan. That was really disturbing to see.

The racism in the story made me really uncomfortable. I understand that the story was meant to show how extreme racism is, but it was disturbing to see illustrated in this book. Even though it isn’t the intention of the book, I worry that this could normalize the racism, rather than point out how wrong it is.

I liked the idea for the plot, but I think it should have had less racism.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

Have you read The Black Mage? What did you think of it?

Stacking the Shelves – December 14

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I was approved for a book on NetGalley from Page Street Publishing:

Night Spinner (Night Spinner #1) by Addie Thorley

I was approved for a book on NetGalley from Simon and Schuster Canada:

Rival Magic by Deva Fagan

I received three books from Simon and Schuster Canada:

The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen

I received six books from Penguin Random House Canada:

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

Half Life by Lillian Clark

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson

Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli

Thank you Page Street Publishing, Simon and Schuster Canada, and Penguin Random House Canada for these books!

What books did you get this week?

Review: She-Hulk, Volume 2: Let Them Eat Cake

Title: She-Hulk, Volume 2: Let Them Eat Cake
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Georges Duarte, Julian Lopez, Pierfrancesco Gaston
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Let them eat cake! Jennifer Walters is only just getting used to her new Hulk alter ego when an internet-famous cooking show host transforms into a hideous monster – on camera! Now, Jen must come to terms with her own monstrous side in time to help. Can she find an antidote for the host before the drug that caused it hits the streets – and its horrific effects start to spread? Maybe with a little help from Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!

Review:

In this volume, Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk has to figure out what is causing a man to turn into a monster. He was given a drug that turned him into a giant green creature. The incident of him consuming the drug and changing was caught on his cooking vlog. She-Hulk investigates the problem through her job as a lawyer.

Most of the volume was about the man who turned into the creature. There wasn’t as much stuff for She-Hulk to do, with most of the story focusing on him. The story jumped around to many different settings every couple of pages so it was hard to focus on one plot.

I liked the final comic, which was a story about Jennifer going on a date. It didn’t work out too well for either of them, but it was entertaining because she kept interrupting the narrator of the comic.

I liked this graphic novel, but I hope the next volume has more about She-Hulk.

What to read next:

She-Hulk, Volume 3: Jen Walters Must Die by Mariko Tamaki

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read She-Hulk, Volume 2: Let Them Eat Cake? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – December 13

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

“By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it. Spring had come on grudgingly; pale blue mornings failed to deepen, turning instead to moist, sullen afternoons, and stubborn frost lined the road in high, dirty meringues.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Have you read Ninth House? What did you think of it?

Review: 10 Blind Dates

Title: 10 Blind Dates
Author: Ashley Elston
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Indigo Fall Preview
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?

Review:

This is the cutest holiday story!

When Sophie and her boyfriend break up, her family decides to set her up on 10 blind dates over Christmas. Some of the dates were good, such as going to a hockey game. Others were not so good, but kind of hilarious. While these dates were happening, Sophie reconnected with her cousins who she used to be her best friends.

The story also had a lot of tension. Sophie’s parents were staying with her sister, who was having a complicated pregnancy. It was tense and scary at times. However, the light tone of the blind dates kept the story upbeat.

I loved this book! It’s the perfect book to read over the holidays!

Thank you Chapters Indigo for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Have you read 10 Blind Dates? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – December 12

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2)

Title: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2)
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Indigo Spring Preview
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 7, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love. 

Review:

This was another great book from Helen Hoang.

Esme’s story was heartbreaking at the beginning. She accepted a request to journey to America and get a chance to marry a man she didn’t know. She didn’t really want to, but she had to try so that she would have a chance to make a better life for her daughter.

A detail I really liked was that when the narrative alternated to Esme’s side of the story, there were accents on the names. She pronounced everyone’s names the way they were said in Vietnamese, which was physically on the page with the different accents. I could tell that she was saying the names differently, even though I couldn’t hear her speaking.

Even though this book is in the same series as The Kiss Quotient, it can be read as a stand-alone book. Some characters from that book were mentioned, but this was a separate story.

I enjoyed this story.

Thank you Chapters Indigo for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read The Bride Test? What did you think of it?