Review: Rascal

Title: Rascal
Author: Jean-Luc Deglin
Genre: Graphic Novel, Humour
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When a mysterious mewling package arrives in the mail, one busy young woman’s life changes forever. Rascal lives up to his name, filling every day with wild adventures and long naps: brave expeditions into closets, fierce battles with curtains, and wrestling with slumbering giants… Sometimes she’s tempted to throw him out the window. He’s lucky he’s cute. Over 128 pages, Jean-Luc Deglin paints a purring portrait of one unforgettable black cat, an elegant inky swirl in a world of striking blue tones. Hilarious and heartwarming, exasperating and enchanting, Rascal captures the full range of emotions that come with keeping God’s cutest killing machine as a pet. If you love cats, or dream of having one, this book is dedicated to you. Once you bring Rascal into your life, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without him.

Review:

This is an adorable graphic novel about a woman who suddenly has to look after a cat. Her mom drops off a neighbour’s cat for her to look after. Somehow, the cat has survived being trapped in a box for a week. Then, she finds out that the neighbour has died so she has to keep the cat, which she names Rascal. She has to figure out how to take care of this moody cat.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. Anyone who has spent time with a cat will find this so relatable. Rascal was moody and never knew what he wanted. He would bother his owner and scratch her until she figured out what he wanted. He wouldn’t play with the toys he was given, but would play with her shoes. She thought it was great when Rascal killed a mouse, but then he left it on her pillow as a gift. These were really funny anecdotes about owning a cat.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel!

Thank you IDW Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Take It Away, Tommy!: A Breaking Cat News Adventure by Georgia Dunn

Cat’s Café: A Comics Collection by Matt Tarpley

Have you read Rascal? What did you think of it?

Review: Venezia

Title: Venezia
Author: Lewis Trondheim, Fabrice Parme (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Humour
Publisher: Europe Comics
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 20, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After their first explosive encounter, Giuseppe and Sophia hate one another with a passion. As fate would have it, both have a secret identity permitting them to conduct investigations incognito. Once his false mustache and wig are removed, Giuseppe becomes “the Eagle.” And when her tights and black hood are donned, Sophia transforms into “the Black Scorpion.” The Eagle and the Scorpion feel an irresistible attraction for one another… but will they share their first kiss and track down the mysterious “Codex Bellum” before Giuseppe and Sophia tear each other into beautiful little pieces?

Review:

Two spies from two France and Spain are sent to Venice in the 16th century. The two spies are Giuseppe and Sophia, who also go by the alteregos “the Eagle” and “the Black Scorpion.” They hate each other, but they keep turning up at the same places on the same missions, so they have to figure out if they want to keep fighting or work together.

This was a funny graphic novel. It had a spy versus spy storyline, where they kept meeting each other and trying to foil each other’s plots. There was the added humour of their alter ego disguises, who didn’t know each other. They would change into their disguises at the same time, but they didn’t realize that they were still the same person.

I found the beginning of this story a little complicated because there were so many characters from different countries. I didn’t understand the politics of it at the beginning, because many characters seemed similar. The graphics were very detailed, but that meant that sometimes the jokes were subtle. There was one part where Giuseppe lost his fake mustache and it landed on another character, but I didn’t notice it at first because the illustrations were so small.

This was an entertaining graphic novel!

Thank you Europe Comics for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern

Have you read Venezia? What did you think of it?

Review: That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story

Title: That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story
Author: Huda Fahmy
Genre: Memoir, Humour, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Chaperones, suitors, and arranged marriages aren’t only reserved for the heroines of a Jane Austen novel. They’re just another walk in the park for this leading lady, who is on a mission to find her leading lad. From the brilliant comics Yes, I’m Hot in This, Huda Fahmy tells the hilarious story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, gossiping aunties, and societal expectations for Muslim women, That Can Be Arranged deftly and hilariously reveals to readers what it can be like to find a husband as an observant Muslim woman in the twenty-first century.

So relevant in today’s evolving cultural climate, Fahmy’s story offers a perceptive and personal glimpse into the sometimes sticky but ultimately rewarding balance of independent choice and tradition.

Review:

This is a hilarious graphic novel memoir about Huda’s experience with an arranged marriage.

It starts with a disclaimer about her wearing a hijab in the illustrations. The character in the graphic novel is an extension of herself, so she is always drawn wearing a hijab. However, in real life, she doesn’t wear it to bed, to shower, or to get her hair done, even though her character in the book does. She made this disclaimer funny, because she said anyone who skipped that disclaimer would wonder why she was wearing it to bed. She drew the character with a hijab every time for consistency in the book, not because that is what she actually does.

I loved the way she compared the courtship of an arranged marriage to a Jane Austen novel. They both have nosy, older women poking their noses into the lives of young people. There were suitors who came to meet her parents, like in an Austen novel. She also had to be chaperoned on any dates, like Austen’s heroines. This was a great way to compare her situation to older novels. It shows how universal these ideas of courtship are, because Jane Austen’s characters were doing the same things hundreds of years ago as what Huda did today.

This is a great graphic novel!

Thank you Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Yes, I’m Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth about Life in a Hijab by Huda Fahmy

Snug: A Collection of Comics About Dating Your Best Friend by Catana Chetwynd

Have you read That Can Be Arranged? What did you think of it?

Review: Camp Spirit

Title: Camp Spirit
Author: Axelle Lenoir
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBT
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Summer camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden… But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?

Summer 1994: with just two months left before college, Elodie is forced by her mother to take a job as a camp counselor. She doesn’t know the first thing about nature, or sports, of kids for that matter, and isn’t especially interested in learning… but now she’s responsible for a foul-mouthed horde of red-headed girls who just might win her over, whether she likes it or not. Just as Elodie starts getting used to her new environment, though — and close to one of the other counselors — a dark mystery lurking around the camp begins to haunt her dreams.

Review:

Elodie is forced to go to a summer camp as a councilor the summer before she starts college. Other classmates that she can’t stand are also going, but they’ve gone every year and it is Elodie’s first time attending. Elodie discovers that this camp isn’t anything like she thought it would be, with the creepy camp leader, a camp theme song filled with references to satan, and wild red headed girls who ask inappropriate questions. She finds herself learning about the dark and supernatural sides to this camp.

I never went to a summer camp, but I love stories about the creepy things that can happen there. With a bunch of imaginative kids cooped up in a camp, surrounded by a dark forest, supernatural events often occur in these stories. This story reminded me of the Lumberjanes series, but this one had more mature themes.

This book was set in Quebec in the 90s. There were lots of timely references, such as the Nirvana songs Elodie liked to listen to on her Walkman. Even though it was set more than twenty years ago, a lot of the events could have been happening today (not including the supernatural parts). The only difference was the kids didn’t have cellphones to play around with, but they probably couldn’t use them at a camp anyway. I liked that unique setting.

I really enjoyed this camp graphic novel!

Thank you IDW Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Avant-Guards, Vol.1 by Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes (illustrator)

Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo

Have you read Camp Spirit? What did you think of it?

Review: Eat, and Love Yourself

Title: Eat, and Love Yourself
Author: Sweeney Boo, Lilian Klepakowsky
Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A story about Mindy, a woman living with an eating disorder who has to learn how to love herself again.

In pursuit of the perfect body, Mindy buys the low-fat diet products and the glossy magazines which promise the secret to losing weight. One night, while perusing the aisles of the neighborhood convenience store for a midnight snack, she finds a new product. A chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself”. On a whim, Mindy buys the curious candy, not knowing that with every piece of chocolate she eats, she will be brought back to a specific moment of her past — helping her to look at herself honestly, learn to love her body the way it is, and accepting love. Perhaps, she will even realize that her long lost high school best friend, Elliot, was more than just a friend…

Review:

Mindy has an eating disorder and depression. She struggles with going out with her friends and dealing with family. She discovers a new chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself.” It is supposed to bring back childhood memories of eating chocolate. When Mindy tries it, she has flashbacks to pivotal moments in her life when she developed her negative body image and her eating disorder. Now, Mindy can see how her eating disorder has affected her throughout her life.

This graphic novel shows what it’s like to have an eating disorder. Even though Mindy may not have realized at the time, there were some moments in her childhood that influenced her eating disorder. There were comments by her parents and classmates about her weight that formed her body image.

Mindy was constantly given mixed signals, which also influenced her negative body image. Her parents wanted her to eat with them, but if she ate too much, they would tell her she would get fat. Her friends wanted her to get a boyfriend, but told her to watch what she ate when she started dating a boy. There are so many mixed signals that girls are given, which can contribute to a complicated image of yourself.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel.

Thank you BOOM! Box for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Ghosted in L.A. Vol. 1 by Sina Grace

Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison

Have you read Eat, and Love Yourself? What did you think of it?

Review: Sonic The Hedgehog: Tangle and Whisper

Title: Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle and Whisper
Author: Ian Flynn, Evan Stanley (illustration)
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join two of the most popular new characters from Sonic’s world in this classic odd-couple team-up adventure!

Tangle the Lemur’s got a problem: there’s not enough action in her life! Whisper the Wolf’s also got a problem: she’s hunting down an incredibly dangerous enemy named Sonic the Hedgehog! Can Tangle and Whisper help solve each other’s problems, or will they just make things worse?

Also collected is Sonic The Hedgehog: Annual 2019. Join Sonic and some of his coolest friends in adventures that show just how wonderful Sonic’s world really is. In the lead story, Tangle the Lemur and Whisper the Wolf team-up to save a friend in need! Then Sonic and Tails take the Tornado for a spin, but is Sonic going too fast? Plus, Silver and Blaze slow down for a minute to go gardening, the Sonic Fan Club has their first official meeting, and Rouge the Bat hunts for treasure! 

Review:

This is my first Sonic the Hedgehog comic. It’s about two characters in the Sonic universe: Tangle and Whisper. They encounter a villain, who is a former friend of Whisper. The problem is that this villain, Mimic, can transform into other people, including Sonic. They have to stay on their toes to figure out who is real and who is Mimic.

This graphic novel started out with some short comics about friendship. Each comic had a different set of friends, such as Tangle and Whisper or Sonic and Tails. They had to work together to battle robbers and get justice, or figure out how to build a garden together. These were cute stories to start of the graphic novel. Usually there are short comics at the end of a graphic novel, after the main story, so this one was unique since it started off with them.

It was really cute to see how the other characters idolized Sonic. Some of them even had a Sonic fan club. They liked to copy his racing style, including how he could turn into his ballform to race faster. I liked seeing how Sonic was a celebrity in his own world. It made the story more relatable, since people can be fans of Sonic in real life too.

This was a great graphic novel for fans of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Thank you IDW Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Sonic the Hedgehog, Vol. 1: Fallout! by Ian Flynn

Have you read Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle and Whisper? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Gotham High

Title: Gotham High
Author: Melissa de la Cruz and Thomas Pitilli (illustrator)
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East End comes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took–even destroy the ones they love–to satisfy their own motives.

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect. 

With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!

Review:

Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City after getting kicked out of his boarding school. He meets his old friend Selina, who is dealing with looking after her sick father. Jack Napier is Selina’s sometimes boyfriend and Bruce’s frenemy. One day, a boy named Harvey Dent is kidnapped from school while he’s wearing Bruce’s jacket. Bruce has to investigate who is targeting him and kidnapping students from Gotham High.

I love these new DC graphic novels. The story is about DC characters as real people, before they become superheroes. These include Bruce Wayne (Batman), Selina Kyle (Cat Woman), and Jack Napier (The Joker). I loved seeing these characters as regular people. It makes them so much more relateable.

There was more diversity in this graphic novel than in the original DC comics. Bruce Wayne was from Hong Kong. His uncle Alfred was in a same-sex marriage. Barbara Gordon and her mother Principal Gordon were black. It was great to see cultural diversity in these characters.

The ending of the story was a surprise to me. It was open ended for a sequel, which I hope will be written! I loved this graphic novel!

Thank you DC Comics and FFBC for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore, Christian Wildgoose (illustrator)

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle, Isaac Goodhart (illustrator)

Author Info:

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Have you read Gotham High? What did you think of it?