New Release: Betty Boop

Title: Betty Boop
Author: Roger Langridge
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Betty Boop works as a waitress at the Oop-A-Doop club. Sometimes she sings, despite complaints from her boss about not doing her proper job. She lives with her grandfather, who they call Grampy. Grampy is very gullible. A creature named Lenny Lizardlips wants to get Grampy’s house. He sends his henchmen to Grampy’s house, and each time Grampy signs the house over to them, believing their story of why they need the house. Betty has to rush home from work every time to save their home from Lenny Lizardlips. Her friends Bimbo, Sandy, and Koko help her out too.

This is the first Betty Boop story I’ve read. I was familiar with most of the characters from their appearances in other places in pop culture.

This story was very entertaining. Many of the characters sing throughout the comics, such as Betty, Skat Skellington (the club singer), and Lenny Lizardlips. They sang songs about what was happening to them in the moment.

I liked how each comic had the same general outline, with Grampy selling their house and Betty having to go to his rescue. However, the last comic had a great twist at the end that I didn’t see coming!

I enjoyed this graphic novel, and I look forward to reading more Betty Boop comics in the future.



Title: Abracadabra
Author: Bevin Rolfs Spencer
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Xist Publishing
Release Date: April 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Mozart, Lucy, Estaban, and PJ are the Backyard Players. They put on plays in Mozart’s backyard for their neighbours. When they are looking for the props for their latest play, they find a magic wand with a note. They have five chances to use the wand, but they have to use the magic word. They guess that the magic word is “Abracadabra,” but when Esteban waves the wand, it turns PJ into a pig! They go to the magic shop where the wand is from to try to figure out how to turn PJ back into a boy before they have to perform their play that evening.

This is a really cute story. It’s great for middle grade readers! It’s funny because every time they think of a new magic word to use to try and change PJ back, they make it worse by giving him wings or a tail.

One thing that bothered me in the story is that the pictures didn’t always match up with what was happening in the story. For example, the words say that Esteban waves the wand, but in the picture that accompanies that chapter Mozart waves it. There were a few instances where this happened so it was confusing. This could also have been fixed in the final copy because I was reading a ARC.

This is a funny story, and I hope there are more to come!

London Book Haul

I wish I had more room in my luggage for all the books I saw! There were some amazing books at all the attractions I visited.

The Adventures of Alice Laselles was the first book I purchased. It was written by Queen Victoria when she was ten years old. I had never heard of it, so I’m so excited to read it when I get home!

These Dark Wings is the first book in The Ravenmaster Trilogy. I bought it at The Raven Shop in the Tower of London. I love the ravens at the Tower. This book sounds awesome!

I purchased the other three books at Foyles. I have wanted to read Belgravia for a long time! I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes. I am also excited to read Lucy Worsley’s novel My Name is Victoria. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Queen Victoria. The Sun Is Also A Star was half price, so I couldn’t resist since I just finished Nicola Yoon’s other novel Everything Everything.

I think this is a pretty great book haul from London. I just wish I had unlimited luggage space to bring home all the books!L

Jelly Bean Summer

Title: Jelly Bean Summer
Author: Joyce Magnin
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Jabberwocky
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: ★★★

Joyce Anne is an eleven-year-old girl who shares a bedroom with her older sister Elaine and Elaine’s pet guinea pig, Jelly Bean. Her older brother is missing in the Vietnam War. Her missing brother causes a lot of tension in her house. Elaine constantly claims to see UFOs in the sky. One day, Joyce gets sick of hearing about her sister’s UFO sightings and she decides to move to the roof. She brings a tent up along with some books and binoculars to keep an eye on the neighbours. As she watches the other houses, she sees a teenage boy standing on another roof, also looking through binoculars. They write on papers and hold them up to each other to communicate. When Joyce goes over to meet the boy, Brian, she learns that his brother died in the war. His mother also died long ago so he just lives with his father. But his father doesn’t want to take care of him anymore. He thinks Brian would be better off living with his aunt in Arizona. Brian is currently working on a car so that he can drive it to Arizona, but he needs money to finish the job. Joyce has the idea to create a miniature UFO and sell tickets for people to see it. The problem is that Joyce will need her sister’s help to build it. Can they put aside their differences to help the cute boy from down the street?

I liked the way this story demonstrated the effects of the Vietnam war on the families of the soldiers. It changed the way that Brian’s family and Joyce’s family lived. It also gave Joyce and Brian something in common (both having brothers who fought in the war), despite their age difference.

I didn’t feel a strong connection with the characters. They all seemed a little one-dimensional, including Joyce who is the main character and the narrator. She has a one-track mind, and only focuses on helping Brian get his car working.

I also struggled with the title of the book. I don’t think it is descriptive of what actually happens. Jelly Bean, the guinea pig, is only a small part of the story. I think the title could have told more about the plot of the novel.


Title: I.D.
Author: Emma Rios
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Rating: ★★★

Noa, Charlotte, and Mike want to undergo a new transplant surgery to get a new body. They meet in a cafe to talk about it, while terrorist attacks happen around them. Noa is a girl who believes she is a man inside. She wants to get a man’s body. Charlotte is a middle-aged writer. She’s curious about the transplant to a new body. Mike is researching the surgery, so he wants to try it to know what it’s like, hands-on. The three of them go to a meeting about the procedure, where they learn about the process of having their brain removed from their own head and implanted into a new body. At the end of the story, they all have the surgery.

The stories of Noa, Charlotte, and Mike were moving. The three of them came together over a procedure, when they wouldn’t normally have had any reason to know each other.

The idea of the procedure is also intriguing, because one thing that most people would want to change about themselves is their body. This was a great premise.

I loved the monochromatic art in this graphic novel. The graphic novel format was perfect for this kind of innovative topic because the modern comic art reflected the modern subject.

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee

Title: Happy People Read and Drink Coffee
Author: Agnes Martin-Lugand
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Release Date: May 10, 2016

Diane is the owner of a coffee shop in Paris, called Happy People Read and Drink Coffee. When her husband and daughter are killed in a car accident, her life falls apart. She doesn’t leave the house and she closes her shop. Then one day she decides to travel to Ireland to start fresh. She meets Edward, a photographer, and she falls in love. Eventually the time comes when she has to leave Ireland and return to Paris. Diane has to figure out if her romance with Edward was just a fling or if it’s meant to last.

This book started off well. Diane’s turmoil was obvious from the way she was acting, and she appeared to have a good chance to start over in Ireland. Even the beginning of her romance with Edward seemed genuine.

However, Edward turned out to be a really horrible guy. Secrets about his past were revealed to her that should have destroyed their relationship. I was so angry when Diane still stayed with him, and wanted to make it work. In my opinion, he wasn’t worth it. I think the author was trying to make him into a ‘Darcy’ character, so he seems unlikeable and moody at first, but then turns into her dream man. This was not the case, and it ruined the story for me.

Everything Everything

Title: Everything Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

Madeline has SCID, a disease which means she can’t go outside. She lives in a sealed house with her mother, who is a doctor. Maddy is just turning 18. She does her school work online. Carla is her nurse who stays with her during the day. One day, a new family moves in next door. Maddy notices a boy about her age there. At night him and Maddy communicate through their bedroom windows and eventually start emailing each other. Soon, Maddy wants to spend time with the boy, Olly. Her nurse lets them spend time together one afternoon, but they have to stay on opposite sides of the room. However, this little taste of the outside world makes Maddy long to see the rest of the world, even if it’ll kill her.

This book is amazing! I love the diversity in the characters. Maddy’s mother is Japanese, and her father was African American. Her nurse, Carla, is Latina. Diversity in literature is especially important in YA because then teen readers from different nationalities can see themselves represented in their favourite books.

At first, I thought this book was going to follow a common YA theme, where the main character has a horrible disease. This story is so much more than that. It’s about discovering who you are and how to live life. It’s about everything, everything.



Title: Limbo
Author: Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: ★★★

Clay has gotten a new identity. He doesn’t remember anything of his life before nine months ago. He now works as a private investigator. One day, a singer named Ms. Bridgette asks him to investigate her boss. She tells him she saw something strange happen with him in a room with other people. He was sitting in front of a TV and a man climbed out of it. But then her boss heard her standing in the doorway behind and saw her there. She wants Clay to investigate and find out what was happening. Her boss is a dangerous man, and her request puts Clay, Bridgette, and Clay’s roommate in danger.

This graphic novel is science fiction. It takes place in another world from ours. Everyone has different colour skin: Clay is blue, Bridgette is red, and Clay’s roommate Sandy is green.

The font of the speech was different for different characters. It distinguished who was talking. Sometimes the speech boxes were even different colours which related back to their different skin colours.

This story had everything, from cannibals to skeletons to mobsters. It was kind of weird and strange, but in a good way, so I couldn’t put the book down.


Title: Eligible
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Genre: Fiction, Adaptation
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Imagine Elizabeth Bennet as a writer living in New York City. Imagine Mr. Darcy as a neurosurgeon. Imagine Jane Bennet as a 40-year-old single woman undergoing IVF treatment. Imagine Bingley as a reality TV star.

That is exactly what Curtis Sittenfeld did in her new novel Eligible. This new retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice takes place in modern day New York and Cincinnati. Jane and Liz have to return to their hometown of Cincinnati when their father has a heart attack. While they are hime, they hear that the star from the reality show Eligible, like The Bachelor, is moving to town. Mrs. Bennet has picked out Bingley to marry one of her daughters. Bingley and his friend Darcy are doctors working at the local hospital. Other favourite characters are also in this story, such as Charlotte Lucas, Catherine de Bourgh, and Caroline Bingley.

This novel is my favourite retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Sittcnfelf updated the events so that the story is completely plausible in today’s world, such as the Bennets being in debt from Mr. Bennet’s medical procedures following his heart attack. That is the reason they will lose their house, rather than it being entailed to a distant male relative. Though Sittenfeld follows the original plot faithfully, there are many surprises that could only happen in a modern retelling, which kept me laughing through the novel.

The Sound of the World by Heart

Title: The Sound of the World by Heart
Author: Giacomo Bevilacqua
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Sam is a photographer and writer. He created a magazine with his friend, Jorge. Jorge sends Sam to New York City to work on a project, and get over his girlfriend. The project is that Sam has to survive 2 months in New York, without saying a word to anyone. The only person he is allowed to communicate with is Jorge and only through texts. One day, Sam goes to pick up his photos from the printer. He ordered them all in black and white. But when he looks at them, there is a girl with red hair who is in many of the photos. She stands out in the photos because she is in colour while everything else is in black and white. Sam can’t remember seeing this girl, though she is in many of his pictures. Now, Sam has to figure out why he has blocked this girl and her photos out of his memory.

This is a beautiful graphic novel. The story is amazing. It’s about recovery and overcoming obstacles.

The pictures are beautiful too. They represent NYC very well. I loved how there were reflections of buildings and people in the water and any shiny objects, such as the store counters. It made the pictures realistic.

This story has multiple narrators, but unlike a traditional graphic novel it doesn’t have any speech bubbles. The narrators are differentiated by coloured boxes (for example, Sam’s narration is in a blue box). I like how this gives multiple perspectives of the story. The reader finds out what’s happening to Sam at the same time he does.

This is a great graphic novel! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read it.