Review: Lola: A Ghost Story

Title: Lola: A Ghost Story
Author: J. Torres, Elbert Or (illustrator)
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Paranormal
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Jesse sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things that go bump in the night that no one else can see. No one except his ailing grandmother—a woman who used her visions to help those living in her small town… the same rural community in all the scary stories Jesse’s heard as a child. Man-eating ogres in trees. Farmhouses haunted by wraiths. Even pigs possessed by the devil. Upon his grandmother’s passing, Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and whatever else might be awaiting him at grandma’s house. 

Review:

Jesse has inherited his grandmother’s ability to see ghosts. When his grandmother dies, his family travels back to their home country of the Philippines. He revisits some of his memories of his grandmother and his cousin, who died when he was a kid.

I didn’t know about this Filipino folklore before reading the book. There were some creatures in the graphic novel that were so creepy. There were some that were used as explanations for birth complications, and those “creatures” targeted pregnant women. All of the different kinds of creatures were listed in a glossary of these creatures at the end of the book.

This book was also dark at times. I found the ending really creepy.

This was a great, ghostly graphic novel!

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

What to read next:

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Have you read Lola: A Ghost Story? What did you think of it?

Review: My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)

Title: My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Owlcrate, Litjoy
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

Review:

This is another fabulous book by the Lady Janies!

This story is an adaptation of Jane Eyre. The three perspectives are Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, and Alexander Blackwood. Charlotte attends Lowood school with Jane. However, Jane can see ghosts. She is recruited by Alexander to join a special ghost catching society, but she refuses so she can follow her dream of being a governess. Charlotte joins Alexander and her brother Branwell to try and convince Jane to use her unique powers to catch ghosts.

This story mostly followed the plot of Jane Eyre. Some of the strange plot points in the story were explained by ghosts appearing in this story. Other odd plot points were altered to make better sense in the story, like Jane’s sudden discovery of new cousins at the end of the original book.

Jane’s friend Helen, who died as a girl at school, is in this story as a ghost who follows Jane everywhere. I loved Helen’s commentary on the story. She commented on how ridiculous things were, such as the way that Jane insisted on being a governess when she could have had much more money in the ghost society.

I laughed out loud so many times while reading this book! I love Jane Eyre, so I really enjoyed the jokes about the novel. There were also loads of references to 19th century novels, such as Pride and Prejudice, which I also really enjoyed!

I can’t wait to read the next book in the Lady Janies series!

What to read next:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) by Mackenzi Lee

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read My Plain Jane? What did you think of it?

Review: Fight Like a Girl

Title: Fight Like a Girl
Author: Sheena Kamal
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Beauty of the Moment meets Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Award-winning thriller writer Sheena Kamal delivers a kick-ass debut YA novel that will have fans crying out for more.

Love and violence. In some families they’re bound up together, dysfunctional and poisonous, passed from generation to generation like eye color or a quirk of smile. Trisha’s trying to break the chain, channeling her violent impulses into Muay Thai kickboxing, an unlikely sport for a slightly built girl of Trinidadian descent. Her father comes and goes as he pleases, his presence adding a layer of tension to Toronto’s east-end townhouse Trisha and her mom call home, every punch he lands on her mother carving itself indelibly into Trisha’s mind. Until the night he wanders out drunk in front of the car Trisha is driving, practicing on her learner’s permit, her mother in the passenger seat. Her father is killed, and her mother seems strangely at peace. Lighter, somehow. Trisha doesn’t know exactly what happened that night, but she’s afraid it’s going to happen again. Her mom has a new man in her life and the patterns, they are repeating.

Review:

Trisha is a fighter. She practices Muay Thai kickboxing. She is of Trinidadian descent, and she lives with her mother in Toronto. Her dad comes to visit from Trinidad, and is killed when she accidentally hits him with her car. However, she suspects that there is more to his death. She throws herself into her fighting to distract her from her suspicions about her father’s death and her mother’s new boyfriend.

This was such an original story. There were unexpected twists. There was also lots of tension when it came to Trisha’s kickboxing. She went through a lot of pain and suffering, both mentally and physically, which was difficult to read at times.

I loved that this book was set in my hometown of Toronto. I could imagine where Trisha lived and the things she would do in the city, like taking the subway to her kickboxing class. I had friends when I was growing up who were from Trinidad, so Tricia reminded me of them.

This is a great story!

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

What to read next:

The Lost Ones (Nora Watts #1) by Sheena Kamal

Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey

Have you read Fight Like a Girl? What did you think of it?

Review: Iphigenia Murphy

Title: Iphigenia Murphy
Author: Sara Hosey
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Running away from home hasn’t solved Iphigenia Murphy’s problems. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll catch up with her. Iffy is desperate to find her long-lost mother, and, so far, in spite of the need to forage for food and shelter and fend off an unending number of creeps, living in Queens’ Forest Park has felt safer than living at home. But as the summer days get shorter, it all threatens to fall apart.

A novel that explores the sustaining love of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the indelible bond of family, Iphigenia Murphy captures the gritty side of 1992 Queens, the most diverse borough in New York City. Just like Iffy, the friends she makes in the park–Angel, a stray dog with the most ridiculous tail; Corinne, a young trans woman who is escaping her own abusive situation; and Anthony, a former foster kid from upstate whose parents are addicts–each seek a place where they feel at home. Whether fate or coincidence has brought them together, within this community of misfits Iffy can finally be herself, but she still has to face the effects of abandonment and abuse–and the possibility that she may be pregnant. During what turns out to be a remarkable journey to find her mother, will Iffy ultimately discover herself?

Review:

This was an intense story.

Iphigenia runs away from her abusive home to live in a park where she thinks she can find her mother. She becomes friends with a transgender woman and a young man who has been kicked out of his home. She also takes care of a homeless dog. Her new friends help her wander through the park and try to find her mother.

There were some very difficult scenes in this book. Iphigenia was abused by her stepmother and stepbrother, and her father didn’t do anything to help. Her friend Corinne was abused by her boyfriend. There was also an upsetting scene where a woman claims to be the owner of Iphigenia’s dog. As a dog owner, it was difficult to read, because both girls felt like they had a claim to the dog but neither wanted to give her up.

I thought by the title of the book that there would be more of a Greek mythology storyline. I loved the play Iphigenia at Aulis when I read it in school. There were some similar themes to the play, and it followed the story in an abstract way, but I wish it had more Greek mythology references.

This was a good story, though it dealt with some upsetting issues.

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

What to read next:

Wildfire by Carrie Mac

Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Have you read Iphigenia Murphy? What did you think of it?

Review: Truly Madly Royally

Title: Truly Madly Royally
Author: Debbie Rigaud
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Point
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that’s like The Princess Diaries for a new generation.

Review:

Zora attends a summer school at her local university. She’s a great student and an active member of her community, where she has created an after school program for children. While she’s at school, she meets Prince Owen, who is from an island in Europe. They become friends, but their relationship causes some problems in Zora’s personal life.

This story really reminded me of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship. Zora is black and American, while Prince Owen is a red-headed royal prince. Owen’s brother is getting married to a mixed race woman, which Zora’s mother is so excited to see happen. Zora was also hounded by the press once they found out that she knew Prince Owen, much like Meghan was when she started dating Prince Harry.

I really enjoyed this fun, summer romance!

What to read next:

Royals (Royals #1) by Rachel Hawkins

American Royals (American Royals #1) by Katharine McGee

Have you read Truly Madly Royally? What did you think of it?

Review: Only Mostly Devastated

Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most. 

Review:

Grease was one of my favourite movies as a kid, so I was so excited to read this retelling. This book broke my heart and put it back together again!

Ollie and Will had a summer romance while Ollie and his family were visiting his sick aunt. When his aunt was still sick after the summer, Ollie’s family ended up moving there to help her family. Ollie started school and mentioned to some new friends that he had a summer fling with Will. What he didn’t know was that Will went to that school, and no one knew he was gay.

This story had great representation. There were gay and bi characters. Some of the characters made comments that they thought were jokes in front of others, who they didn’t realize were gay. The guys who were friends with Will would make jokes about being feminine or liking guys, which just made him more uncomfortable with revealing his true self. At the same time, there were others who were more open and accepting.

I loved this story! I highly recommend it!

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Have you read Only Mostly Devastated? What did you think of it?

Review: Pumpkinheads

Title: Pumpkinheads
Author: Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Contemporary
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Review:

This is an adorable graphic novel!

I loved the setting of a pumpkin patch fair for this story. It’s a great fall graphic novel! There are so many great stories for summer or winter, but not as many for fall. This one fills that gap.

There were tons of food mentioned that sounded delicious! It made me realize how many special foods are made for the fall. There were caramel apples and pumpkin pie. There was also freeto pie, which I’d never heard of. It’s a mixture of frito chips in the chip bag. There was also a pumpkin bomb, which was an ice cream sandwich made with two slices of pumpkin pie and covered in chocolate. My mouth is watering just thinking about that!

This is a great fall graphic novel with a great story of friendship involved too!

What to read next:

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

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