Review: Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Title: Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
Author: Heather Gale, Mika Song
Genre: Children’s, LGBT
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.

Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine(girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.

When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try . . .

Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.

Ho’onani’s story first appeared in the documentary A Place in the Middle by filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson.

Review:

This story is about a little girl, named Ho’onani, in Hawaii who identifies as being in between a boy and a girl. She refers to herself as a girl, but she wants to join the boys hula troupe at her school. After some convincing, she is allowed to join the boys and even lead them in a performance.

Ho’onani was a strong girl in the story. She wanted to be a hula warrior, so she kept trying to reach her dream. She received some backlash at home, when her sister didn’t approve of what Ho’onani was doing. Even through these harsh comments, she still kept her unique identity.

I really enjoyed this picture book about identity.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, Hatem Aly

Have you read Ho’onani: Hula Warrior? What did you think of it?

Review: Mooncakes

Title: Mooncakes
Author: Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, LGBT
Publisher: Lion Forge
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Review:

This is a beautiful graphic novel.

There was great representation in this story. Nova wears hearing aids, which isn’t a common thing for characters in novels. She’s proud of wearing ones that are brightly colored so they stand out. Her friend Tam is gender neutral and uses the pronoun “they.” It takes a while to get used to reading that pronoun to refer to one person, but it was a great inclusive addition to the book.

I loved the magical elements of the story. Nova reminded me of Sabrina the Teenage Witch because she lived with her two grandmas, and Sabrina lived with her two aunts. There were also demons, werewolves, and an evil witch. This was an exciting magical story.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Lion Forge for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

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

Review: Bury the Lede

Title: Bury the Lede
Author: Gaby Dunn, Claire Roe
Genre: Graphic Novel, Mystery, LGBT
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October, 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Twenty-one-year-old Madison T. Jackson is already the star of the Emerson College student newspaper when she nabs a coveted night internship at Boston’s premiere newspaper, The Boston Lede. The job’s simple: do whatever the senior reporters tell you to do, from fetching coffee to getting a quote from a grieving parent. It’s grueling work, so when the murder of a prominent Boston businessman comes up on the police scanner, Madison races to the scene of the grisly crime. There, Madison meets the woman who will change her life forever: prominent socialite Dahlia Kennedy, who is covered in gore and being arrested for the murder of her family. The newspapers put everyone they can in front of her with no results until, with nothing to lose, Madison gets a chance – and unexpectedly barrels headfirst into danger she never anticipated.

Review:

This graphic novel follows a reporter investigating a high profile murder in Boston. Dahlia Kennedy is suspected of killing her husband and kidnapping her son. For some reason, Dahlia would only speak to Madison, the intern for a newspaper. Madison springs to fame with her reporting on the murder, but it comes at a cost to her personal life.

This was an exciting story. There was a lot of depth to the story. There were many different aspects of Madison’s life that were shown, including her work and her family life. It often conflicted because her brother was a politician. The murder story was complicated, which kept me guessing until the end.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel.

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

What to read next:

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn, Allison Raskin

Have you read Bury the Lede? What did you think of it?

Review: Bloodlust and Bonnets

Title: Bloodlust and Bonnets
Author: Emily McGovern
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical, Fantasy, LGBTQ
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the creator of the hit webcomic My Life As a Background Slytherin comes a hilarious graphic novel pastiche of classic Romantic literature led by a trio of queer misfits—and several angry vampires.
 

Set in early nineteenth-century Britain, Bloodlust & Bonnets follows Lucy, an unworldly debutante who desires a life of passion and intrigue—qualities which earn her the attention of Lady Violet Travesty, the leader of a local vampire cult. 
 
But before Lucy can embark on her new life of vampiric debauchery, she finds herself unexpectedly thrown together with the flamboyant poet Lord Byron (“from books!”) and a mysterious bounty-hunter named Sham. The unlikely trio lie, flirt, fight, and manipulate each other as they make their way across Britain, disrupting society balls, slaying vampires, and making every effort not to betray their feelings to each other as their personal and romantic lives become increasingly entangled.
 
Both witty and slapstick, elegant and gory, Emily McGovern’s debut graphic novel pays tribute to and pokes fun at beloved romance tropes, delivering a joyous, action-packed world of friendship and adventure.

Review:

I loved this new graphic novel!

This story was set in the nineteenth century, with Lord Byron as one of the main characters. Along with two friends, Lucy and Sham, Lord Byron searches for a vampire Lady Violet Travesty. Each character has their own secret reason for joining in the vampire hunt. There were loads of other fantastical elements as well, including a succubus and a talking castle.

I laughed the entire time I was reading this story. Each of the characters were exaggerated in a hilarious way. Lord Byron was in love with himself and didn’t pay attention to the people around him. Sham was serious and spoke the truth with no filter to protect the feelings of others (when Lucy thinks that Sham likes her the same way that she likes Sham, Sham replies with yes I do like girls, just not you). Lucy was kind of clueless to people around her, and she was blinded by her desire to join the vampire cult. These characters were hilarious together!

This was such a funny graphic novel! I highly recommend it!

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

What to read next:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen, Tony Lee, Cliff Richards

Have you read Bloodlust and Bonnets? What did you think of it?

Review: The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1

Title: The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1
Author: Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBT
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

From Carly Usdin (Heavy Vinyl) and artist Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer, Goldie Vance) comes an ensemble comedy series that understands that it’s the person you are off the court that matters most.

Review:

This is the perfect graphic novel for September. Charlie transfers to a new school, so we get to learn about the school through her new perspective. She was recruited to join the basketball team, where she found the perfect team.

I loved the variety of characters. Each one comes from a different background, yet they were all brought together by basketball. It was great to see how they found common ground in this sport.

I really enjoyed this book. I’m excited to see what happens next.

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

What to read next:

Heavy Vinyl, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva

Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, Whitney Cogar

Have you read The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1? What did you think of it?

Review: The Tea Dragon Society

Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, LGBT
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Owlcrate
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. 

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Review:

This is a short and sweet graphic novel.

In the Tea Dragon Society, they harvest tea that grows in the form of leaves on dragons. Their owners have a special bond with the dragons, allowing them to harvest the leaves. The dragons are named after various kinds of tea, such as Jasmine and Chamomile, and they grow those types of tea.

I loved the importance of friendship in this story. The members of the Tea Dragon Society have to form a special friendship with their dragons. The dragons united Hesekiel and Erik, and Greta and Minette. Greta also learns the importance of passing down knowledge to the next generations so skills, such as blacksmithing, are not lost.

I loved this story. I’m excited to read the next book in the series!

What to read next:

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

Have you read The Tea Dragon Society? What did you think of it?

Review: Moth and Whisper Vol. 1

Title: Moth and Whisper Vol. 1
Author: Ted Anderson and Jen Hickman
Genre: LGBT, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone knows that the two greatest thieves in the city are the Moth and the Whisper. Very few know that the Moth and the Whisper disappeared six months ago. And what nobody knows is that the new Moth and Whisper are actually one person pretending to be both of them. One supremely skilled but uncertain young genderfluid thief: Niki, the child of the Moth and the Whisper.

Niki has been trained by their parents in the arts of stealth and infiltration, but they’re still just a teenager, and now they’re alone, searching for their parents in a hostile cyberpunk dystopia. Corporations run the streets while crime lords like Ambrose Wolfe run the alleys-identity is a commodity and privacy is impossible. The truth about Niki’s parents and their disappearance is out there, but can Niki survive long enough to find it?

A YA cyberpunk thriller starring a genderqueer super-thief, MOTH & WHISPER is the brainchild of Ted Anderson (My Little Pony, Adventure Time) and Jen Hickman (Jem and the Holograms, The Dead), that just HAD to be told at AfterShock!

Review:

This is an amazing new graphic novel with a genderqueer main character.

I was hooked on this story right from the beginning. It started with Niki pulling off some stealth thefts by changing their identity. It was so exciting to see them change their entire look with a special mask that draws on make-up. The plot was very exciting and the book was hard to put down!

It is so important to see genderqueer characters in books so that readers can relate to the characters. Niki’s genre idenity is only a small part of their story, but it helps out when they can change their look into either a man or a woman. It made the thefts more intense when they could disappear into a crowd by changing their identity in that way.

I loved this story!

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

What to read next:

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá

Have you read Moth and Whisper Vol. 1? What did you think of it?