Poe: Stories and Poems

Title: Poe: Stories and Poems
Author: Gareth Hinds
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

This collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems begins with The Masque of The Red Death. In this story, Prince Prospero has a party in his castle, so his friends can escape the red death that is happening in the city. He has 7 different rooms, each decorated in a different colour. But when the clock strikes 12, an unusual guest makes his way through each of the rooms to the Prince. This is a very illustrative tale, because of the colours in each room. I loved the way that the colours even reflected on the people in the images.

The Tell-Tale Heart is one of my favourite Poe stories! A man doesn’t like his boss’s glass eye. He steals the glass eye and kills his boss. He chops up the body and hides it in the floor boards. When the police come to investigate the screams that were heard by neighbours, the man feels so guilty he ends up confessing to the whole thing. The images in this story were quite dark at times, but it was a good representation of the tale.

The final poem in the collection is “The Raven,” Poe’s most famous work. I loved the illustrations for this poem. They really highlighted the raven, sitting on top of the door. It’s interesting that the narrator in this poem was illustrated as Poe himself. I love this poem and the graphics that went along with it were amazing.

This is a great graphic novel. I really liked that there was a legend with the themes of Poe’s works, such as   The themes of each story or poem were listed at its beginning. This makes the collection a great pick for young readers or people who are just being introduced to Poe’s stories and poems.

My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Beauty and the Beast

Title: My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Beauty and the Beast
Author: Jerry Mahoney
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

It’s Halloween and Maddie wants to dress up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Her stepbrother, Holden, decides he will be the Beast. But when his costume is too gruesome, their parents make him change into a suit and call himself a lawyer instead. Once they return from the Halloween party, Holden notices that their Beauty and the Beast story on his iPad has changed. The Beast still looks like a beast at the end, instead of the handsome prince that he is supposed to change into. They both enter the story, Maddie as Belle and Holden as a lawyer, to try to save the fairytale. 

This is a good story. Holden often points out the negative parts of the story, such as Belle having Stockholm syndrome and the Beast’s vanity. This shows young readers that you have to read everything critically, even beloved fairytales. 

This story is a cute adventure for middle grade readers. 

See What I Have Done

Title: See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie and their maid Bridget were both home at the time but neither heard anything happen. They called Lizzie’s sister, Emma, home from the friend’s house she was visiting. Their maternal uncle, John, was visiting at the time. John was planning to send a man to see Andrew Borden, and tell him to treat Lizzie and Emma better. This story follows the events that took place on August 3 and 4, as well as Lizzie’s Borden’s trial. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Lizzie Borden. This book is a great portrayal of the events. 

I really liked the way that John was also planning to send a man to talk some sense into Andrew. It throws suspicion off of Lizzie for a while. I was really beginning to wonder if this man did it instead. 

There were a lot of metaphors in the story that referred to butchering or chopping. This was a subtle way to incorporate the theme of the ax murders. 

This was a great, thrilling story. 

Jane Eyre (Manga Classics)

Title: Jane Eyre (Manga Classics) 
Author: Charlotte Bronte, Stacy King
Genre: Graphic Novel, Manga
Publisher: UDON Entertainment
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Jane Eyre was orphaned at a young age. She was sent to live with her aunt and cousins, but they never treated her well. After an incident with her cousin, Jane’s aunt, Mrs. Reed, send Jane to a school. The conditions weren’t good at the school, with the girls being underfed and underclothed. Eventually the school got better, and Jane taught there for a few years when she finished her own schooling. Then, she put out an ad to be a governess. Mrs. Fairfax asked Jane to come to teach Adele, Mr. Rochester’s charge. Soon after Jane arrives, strange things happen. She thinks the house is haunted. 

Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books. It has just enough mystery in it to make it suspenseful. 

This graphic novel is great! It tells the story very well. 

I liked the way that Jane looked very evil as a child. She had dark hair and eyes, and she was always yelling at people. It made her very spooky and set the tone for what will happen later in the story. 

Each of the characters looked very distinct, so I could distinguish between them. Sometimes, if the characters are drawn in the same style, they can blend together and become confused. But the characters all had a separate style of clothes and looks in this story. 

This is my favourite book in the Manga Classics series! 

Crimes Against A Book Club 

Title: Crimes Against A Book Club
Author: Kathy Cooperman
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Annie has just joined a prestigious book club in La Jolla, an expensive area of San Diego. But she doesn’t fit in. She has a PhD in Chemistry, while all the other women stay at home all day. Annie’s world comes crashing down when her son is diagnosed with Autism. The doctors recommend that he gets lots of therapy, which would cost $84,000 per year. Though they have a lot of money, Annie’s family can’t afford that price tag. Annie’s best friend Sarah also has some financial problems. She abruptly quit her job as an associate at a law firm. She has been trying to have a baby for years and she has gone through IVF treatment twice but nothing has worked. She wants to try it one more time, but she doesn’t have the money now that she’s unemployed. Annie comes up with an idea to get them both the money they need. They will sell a homemade face cream to the rich women in La Jolla, under the guise of a celebrity doctor. Annie mixes up a special cream to sell for $2,000 a jar. But they both run into trouble when Annie’s secret ingredient is discovered. 

This was a really funny book. The premise of selling the face cream was so absurd. But I could see this happening in real life. When a celebrity’s face is associated with a product, it can sell for way more than its worth. 

Though the book club isn’t as prominent in the story as I thought it would be, there was a book theme running through the story. Each chapter focused on one character, and it opened with a paragraph about a book they read. It set the stage for what was going to happen to them in that chapter. 

There were so many other women in the story that Sarah’s and Annie’s stories got lost in the mix. Though they were still the main characters, some chapters went into detailed subplots about minor characters. I don’t think there needed to be quite as much detail about the women who bought the cream from Sarah. 

I recommend this book for some good laughs!

Joyride Vol. 1

Title: Joyride Vol. 1
Author: Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Rating: ★★★

The people of Earth can no longer see the stars. Uma Akkolyte wants to escape into space to finally see the stars. Along with her friend Dewydd, they sneak onto a ship and travel into space. When they try to escape the ship, they are followed by a woman, Catrin. She follows them so far that she ends up leaving with them. Then, they proceed to explore other planets and pick up some friends along the way. 

This was a good story. There was a lot of action, and the graphics were good. 

I was a little lost sometimes when they brought up new terms. There were new planets and creatures. Also, sometimes they used the word “space” in place of swear words, but it took a while for me to figure that out. 

This was a pretty good graphic novel with an interesting plot. 

Sublime Karma

Title: Sublime Karma
Author: Peyton Garver
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing 
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

This review is part of the blog tour with YA Bound Book Tours. 

Brie is new at school. She catches the eye of two of the most eleigible bachelors, Ryan and Jake. She runs with Ryan on the cross country team. She sits beside Jake on the bus. But when she starts dating Jake, they realize they both come with baggage. Jake has a history with the captain of the cheer squad, as well as the girl next door. Brie lives with her mother and abusive stepfather. Both of them have lost parents. They have to try to push past their problems to make their romance last. 

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this story. There were a lot of secondary characters, other than the main ones. This reflects the high school setting, but it was hard to keep track of everyone at first. 

Though there was a lot going on in the story, I got hooked right away. There were many subplots so there was lots of action. I really felt immersed in the story. 

The narration is third person, but it switches the focus between Brie and Jake. It was confusing at times when it switched between the two of them from one paragraph to the next. 

I really enjoyed this story!