Review: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Title: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Steven Pugh
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Ink
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Harleen is a tough, outspoken, rebellious kid who lives in a ramshackle apartment above a karaoke cabaret owned by a drag queen named MAMA. Ever since Harleen’s parents split, MAMA has been her only family. When the cabaret becomes the next victim in the wave of gentrification that’s taking over the neighborhood, Harleen gets mad.

When Harleen decides to turn her anger into action, she is faced with two choices: join Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or join The Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is at once a tale of the classic Harley readers know and love, and a heartfelt story about the choices teenagers make and how they can define—or destroy—their lives. This is the first title in DC’s new line of original graphic novels for middle grade and young adult readers.

Review:

I love Harley Quinn, so I was really excited to see her as a kid in this graphic novel. Her mom goes to work at a cruise company, so Harley is sent to live with her grandmother. When she arrives at her grandmother’s apartment in Gotham City, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away. The man who owns the apartment let’s Harley stay in the apartment for a while. When the town is taken over by Kane Enterprises, Harley has to work with her friends to save their homes. She tries to pay back the vandals who destroy their homes, but she meets a vandal who goes by the pseudonym, The Joker.

This origin story was really different from the other ones I’ve read. In the traditional story, Harley was a psychologist at Arkam Asylum, where she met the Joker who corrupted her. However, this story still had elements of the original Harley. She became friends with a girl named Ivy at school, like Harley’s best friend Poison Ivy. She also lived above a drag queen club, like in the original Harley story.

There were a lot of important issues in this story too. Ivy fought to have films by women shown in the film club at school. Ivy also called out the principal for disrespecting her. Harley didn’t wear the skimpy costume that was left for her, and opted for something that was more covered up. I liked that these feminist issues were addressed in this graphic novel, because they are not present in most comics.

I loved this book! I hope there will be a sequel.

What to read next:

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

Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore, Chris Wildgoose

Have you read Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass? What did you think of it?

Review: Topside

Title: Topside
Author: J.N. Monk, Harry Bogosian
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way.

When Jo, a headstrong maintenance technician, makes an error that destabilizes her planet’s core, she only knows one way to fix things: leaving her underground home for a trip to the planet’s dangerous, unruly surface. Soon she’s wandering through deserts, riding on the back of giant beasts, and cutting deals with con artists and bounty hunters. Meanwhile, agents of the core are in hot pursuit. J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian (co-creators of the web-comic StarHammer) present a wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way. 

Review:

This was a fun sci fi graphic novel.

Jo is a maintenance worker in the core of the planet she lives on. She makes a mistake one day that will take a long time to get the supplies to fix. Instead of waiting, she goes to the surface of the planet, or the topside, to get the supplies. She ends up leading a bunch of people on a chase around the planet.

There were some funny parts to the story. When the workers were chasing Jo to reprimand her for making the mistake, they had to keep stopping to get approval for different tasks. They couldn’t pursue her without permission. That was funny, because every time they caught up to her, she got away because they had to wait for permission.

I didn’t like the colours used in the graphics. The colours were good when the characters were on the top side, but when they were in the core, the colours were monochromatic. That made it difficult to tell what was actually happening in the graphics, since everything was the same colour.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Unplugged and Unpopular by Mat Heagerty, Tintin Pantoja, Mike Amante

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

Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power. 

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. 

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity… 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Review:

This was an amazing conclusion to the Folk of the Air series!

I love Holly Black’s writing. She paints a clear picture of the faerie land, without dragging on. Some fantasy series can have long descriptions that distract from the storyline, but there is just enough description to understand what is going on.

I also love how the real world is included in this story. The girls travel back and forth between the faerie world and the human world. It’s funny to see these two groups interact. It also makes the story relatable, because it is occasionally set in our contemporary world.

There were thrilling twists throughout the story. Almost every time the characters made a plan, something happened that changed it. It made the story unpredictable because nothing happened the way they thought it would. I had no idea how it would end, right up until the final chapter!

This book definitely lived up to the hype! I loved it!

What to read next:

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read The Queen of Nothing? What did you think of it?

Review: The Marrow Thieves

Title: The Marrow Thieves
Author: Cherie Dimaline
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 10, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing “factories.”

Review:

This is an amazing story that mixes the ancient Native Canadian culture with a futuristic dystopia.

In the world of this novel, Native Canadians were being rounded up so they could be studied. They were the only people who still dream, and everyone else wanted to take that ability back from them. It was unclear why they were the only people left with the ability to dream. The characters in this story had to run away into the forests to escape capture.

This story was character driven, with a very strong cast. Their only goal was to go north, so they kept walking. There was a group of kids and adults, who were not related, but lived together because they had lost the rest of their families.

The characters had detailed backstories, which were devastating to read about. There was a lot of pain in their individual histories, which was reminiscent of the real history of Native people in Canada. Many parts were difficult to read, but it is important to know these stories because they represent our real history.

This book had a beautiful ending, which made all the pain worth it. I loved the story!

What to read next:

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Have you read The Marrow Thieves? What did you think of it?

Review: When You Ask Me Where I’m Going

Title: When You Ask Me Where I’m Going
Author: Jasmin Kaur
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Rupi Kaur and Elizabeth Acevedo, Jasmin Kaur’s stunning debut novel is a collection of poetry, illustrations, and prose.

scream
so that one day
a hundred years from now
another sister will not have to
dry her tears wondering
where in history
she lost her voice

The six sections of the book explore what it means to be a young woman living in a world that doesn’t always hear her and tell the story of Kiran as she flees a history of trauma and raises her daughter, Sahaara, while living undocumented in North America.

Delving into current cultural conversations including sexual assault, mental health, feminism, and immigration, this narrative of resilience, healing, empowerment, and love will galvanize readers to fight for what is right in their world.

Review:

This is an incredibly moving poetry collection.

This collection contains a combination of poetry, prose narrative, and illustrations. The poems give a personal, emotional look at Jasmin’s life. The prose narrative tells a story that demonstrates the themes in her poetry. All of these art forms combined to tell a complete story.

Even though I have had very different life experiences from the author, I could relate to many of the poems. One that was particularly moving read: “depression is this ghost that looks over my shoulder & nobody seems to believe in spirits.” At one of Jasmin’s book signings that I went to, she said to snap your fingers if something she read resonated with you. I was snapping along as I read this book.

I loved this collection! I can’t wait to see what Jasmin writes next.

What to read next:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Have you read When You Ask Me Where I’m Going? What did you think of it?

Review: Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost #1)

Title: Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost #1)
Author: Coco Ma
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

Review:

I loved this book!

This story was incredibly fast paced, with major plot points in every chapter. There were unpredictable twists that kept me reading. The writing was clear and concise, yet had beautiful descriptions of this elemental world.

The narrative switched between many perspectives. This gave a full view of the story from every angle. Most of the story was told from the perspectives of the main characters, but there were a few chapters which gave a look at what the villains were doing. This was really well done, without giving away the ending.

This is a great debut novel from 19 year-old Coco Ma! I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

What to read next:

Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl #1) by Mara Rutherford

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Have you read Shadow Frost? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Day Zero (Day Zero Duology #1)

Title: Day Zero (Day Zero Duology #1)
Author: Kelly deVos
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Dystopian
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for? 

Review:

This is an amazing dystopian story!

The story was fast paced and thrilling. The action started right away, with a terrorist attack on multiple banks following an election in the United States in the future.

Unlike other dystopian books, this book doesn’t seem like it’s set too far in the future. The terrorist attack that sparks the problems in Jinx’s life are very realistic. The political world with two warring parties is also familiar in today’s world. This made the story much more tense, knowing that it is a real possibility for the future.

I thought there would be more coding and technical references to the story. The entire event started with a coded program, but I thought there would be more of Jinx playing the online game she liked. Hopefully that will come in the next book.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

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

What to read next:

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

Author Info:

KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins.

Kelly’s work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.

Have you read Day Zero? What did you think of it?