Amanda’s April Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hi, lovelies! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these because I just haven’t been picking up my graphic novel collection lately. I don’t know why that is, but in April I tried to make a point of picking up at least a few of the graphic novels I already own. I did alright I think, I managed to pick up a few and I’m happy with that.

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

I picked this one up for the OWLs readathon. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by Tillie Walden and this was no different. The story was a little bizarre. I wasn’t sure where it was going because the synopsis was pretty vague. I really enjoyed the art, Walden’s work is always stunning. The storyline was fascinating but weird. I couldn’t tell where the story was going and as I read things just got weirder and weirder in the best way. I really enjoyed this one even if I’m still sort of not sure what happened.

Uglies: Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld, Devin Grayson, & Steven Cummings

I recently binge reread the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld and was excited to finally pick this graphic novel that I found at one of my local used book stores a few months ago.  I was really excited to see Shay’s story and more details of what happened to her. We got bits and pieces of her story in the original story, but we got so much more in this graphic novel. I really enjoyed this book. I loved getting to know more about Shay’s past and how she ended up where she did. I believe there is a second one and I’m going to have to find it because I love anything that takes place in the Uglies world.

Kaijumax Season Two: The Seamy Underbelly by Zander Cannon

I read the first graphic novel in this series too long ago so it was a little awkward to jump back into this world after so long. The monsters all use really bizarre and creative slang and that was jarring at first. Like the first one, I thought this was a really creative story. We follow some monsters after they’ve escaped from Kaijumax prison for monsters. I liked getting to see the rest of the world. But it was hard for me seeing the guards that worked for the prison out hunting monsters. So many of them have no sympathy and think that all monsters are the same, even the ones that are doing all the right things. I thought it brought up an interesting conversation that could be related to the real world. Overall, I liked this one and I’m going to continue onto the third installment.

Kaijumax Season Three: King of the Monstas by Zander Cannon

I think what I like most about this series is the serious topics it covers in a creative way. In this installment we’re back in the world of the prison where we see what’s going on with an inmate/guard romantic relationship, the latest on the drama between the gangs, and focusing closer on a select few characters. I strongly disliked the romantic relationship but I think that was intentional. The warring gangs were the main plot of this story and at times it was hard to keep track of who was in which gang. Despite that I thought it was a really interesting story, especially Woofys plot line. I think the most interesting character that we focused on was the goat man, he has a long title that is the devil of something or other but I can’t be bothered. I’m still filled with questions about him. I’d love to know more about what he and his father are. I’m also wondering why he turned into a literal goat after crossing the river. Overall, I’ll have to buy more of the series to continue but I definitely plan on doing so.

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young, Jean-François Beauleiu, & Dean Rankine

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the I Hate Fairyland graphic novel series. So, a few months ago after discovering the absolute gem that is my local comic store I bought the first four volumes. I don’t know what took me so long to pick them up, but I’m really glad I finally did because this was so fun. I adored the art. It’s so colorful and wild. It’s gory and gruesome, but also some how still sweet as candy (some may even say sickly sweet). I thought the story was incredibly creative too, though I would have liked to see more of why it took Gertrude 27 years to get even close to the key. It was clear toward the end she was pretty much a huge asshole, but what when wrong when she was still a little girl that made finding the key so impossible? I loved the story, a adult in a girls body, murderous and horrible. I also totally loved the ending. She was so close to finally reaching her goal. I’m very excited to start the next volume and see what chaos Gertrude brings to Fairyland next.

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young & Jean-François Beaulieu

This series is hilariously vulgar and I love every page. I’m quickly becoming obsessed. Gertrude is a selfish 30ish year old trapped in a child’s body. She infuriated me but also made me laugh because she’s completely ridiculous. I love the art. It’s stunningly vibrant and I stand by calling it sickly sweet in my review for the first book in the series. Things were a little all over the place plot wise and time seemed to jump in big chunks (which I guess it did in the first one too) but with the ending of this one I’m really intrigued to see what will happen in the fourth one.

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 3: Good Girl by Skottie Young & Jean-François Beaulieu

This has been my favorite volume so far. I still really love the art. It’s colorful and obnoxious in the best way. In this volume Gertrude has decided she’s going to try to be good. So for several months she tries to do good deeds and ends up only making things worse. But then her guide Larry tells her of a maze that just might be what she needs. She finds the balls of redemption and becomes good Gert. Finally, after thirty years she’s found the key and gets to go home. But…things don’t go as planned. I loved this story. It was different from the others but so fun. My only complaint is that, didn’t the world end in volume two? If we ignore that, I loved this and I’m typing this so fast so I can pick up volume four because the ending of this volume was an excellent cliffhanger.

Kaijumax Season Four: Scaly is the New Black by Zander Cannon

This installment follows the women’s side of Kaijumax monster prison. I thought this was a really interesting book. I loved the conversations it brought, such as pregnancy/adoption when you’re in prison, drug addiction and smuggling, and as with the rest of these stories, gangs. I love this world that Cannon has created. I love the monster slang, it’s fun and entertaining. But this whole series, while fun, has serious tones to it which I really love. There’s no information on when Season Five is coming out, but the end pages of this one did say that it was coming. I’m excited to see what Cannon does next.

What graphic novels did you read in April?

Girls With Razor Hearts by Suzanne Young

GoodReads Review:
It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.
The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.
And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.
Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for approving my request for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This second book made me just as angry as the first. But this one was less with the girls than with the rest of the world. The things that the girls face in this world hit a bit close to home. They were things that women in the real world deal with every day and it honestly just hurt my heart.
I think my favorite part of this book is Young’s writing. She tells the story in a way that I just can’t put it down. The story was fast-paced, even though not much really happened.
Sadly, as I said above, not all that much happened in this story. They had a mission and successfully completed it along with a bit of a side mission. But other than that, they didn’t learn much more about themselves and I wanted them to take more of an initiative to make the word different. They helped the school they attended, but they didn’t really have any ideas or plans for the bigger picture.
I still enjoyed this book and flew through it. It was a wild ride. But I didn’t love it. I think maybe this series is just not for me because I didn’t love the first one either. But I will probably eventually read the third just to see what’s going to happen next.

Quotes:

“All the attention society pays to the behavior of girls, and never once have they realized how they’re neglecting their boys. The absence of rules is turning them into feral animals.”

“Deeply felt emotions are our power. Our ability to feel is just as important as our ability to think.”

“Words have immeasurable power, Philomena. They affect what we believe, how we see the world.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2)Review:
Part of me is honestly glad that I waited to read this so close to when the third book is being released. I only have to wait a few weeks for the series to conclude rather than a whole year. I found myself liking this book better than the first. While I always enjoy seeing the world end, I much preferred seeing the aftermath and years after the end of the world as we knew it.
Of Blood and Bone follows Fallon mostly, who is foretold to be The One. The descendant of someone important that I really feel like I should know where I’ve heard it before and I think it might even be from another of Nora’s series. I really liked Fallon. She starts off as a young girl and we get to see her grow and train and come to accept the responsibility that fate has bestowed upon her. She grew into this responsibility gracefully. Obviously, this wasn’t without its teenage moments and I thought that just made it all the better. Fallon was smart and determined, caring and honorable, fierce and strong. I really love her. And even more, I love the love interest that is alluded to.
We get to see the many characters we got to know in the first book and I was glad about that. I think this book gave us a bit more of the character development that was missing from Year One, but also the whole book is pretty fast-paced. It follows a time period of several years, slowing here and there. So, it felt like we didn’t get to know everyone as well as we could have. But I think this book filled in a bit that I thought was missing from the first. We also added a handful of characters, which didn’t really help this. Despite that, I still really liked getting to see the friends and found family that Lana had left behind.
I love the magic. Magical dystopias are not something I’ve read too many of. So, this one was a fun twist on the end of the world. Most I’ve read use magic to prevent the end of the world, and in this one magic came from the end of the world.
Nora leaves us in suspense, giving us only crumbs to try to piece together. I’m dying to know how this story will end. I will be waiting as patiently as I am able to for the final installment of this trilogy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

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Summary:
Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.
When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.
Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.
Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.
StepsisterReview:
I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Donnelly while she was doing the book tour for Stepsister. She was honestly so inspiring. I’ve been so excited to read Stepsister since that event. I finally managed to listen to the audiobook for the NEWTs.
Stepsister is the story of Cinderella’s sisters and what happens to them after Ella marries the prince and becomes Queen. I am in awe of Donnelly with the complexities of this story. Isabelle is being guided by two characters, Fate and Chance. It took me way too long to realize the significance of Chance other than it just being his name. Chance steals Isabelle’s life map from the Fate’s, and does everything in his power to change her path.
Isabelle was a really unlikable character. Which I’m pretty sure was the intention. This wasn’t a happy story. It was a story about growth. How to find the pieces of your heart and escape the title of ‘ugly step-sister.’
I am really not sure how to explain this story. But it was one of loss and regret and learning to love yourself. The things that Isabelle and her family endure could break anyone. But she doesn’t let it. She tries and tries, again and again, to do the right things, to be a better person. But she learns that it’s not that easy. Isabelle’s path is not an easy one, but despite the forces trying to hinder her, she finds her way.
Overall, this was a fascinating story. It was filled with unlikeable characters that learned how to be better, how to change their ways before it was too late, and how to love themselves even though they may not be traditionally pretty. Fate and Chance pulled the path in countless directions, keeping things interesting. If you’re a lover of fairytales, this is the story for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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GoodReads Summary:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.
This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Review:
This Savage Song was a wild ride. It was fast-paced and everything I never knew I wanted in a book. I went into the story with as little expectations as possible. I’m glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it. It would have been a five-star read aside from the questions I was left with.
Kate was everything I could have wanted in a kickass female main character. She doesn’t take shit from anyone and does whatever needs to be done to reach her goals. I loved everything about her. She’s smart and fierce. I am very interested in what she does in the next book.
Then there is August, poor sweet August. He’s one of the rarest of the monsters. But he fights his nature every day. He’s good at heart, despite what he really is. I was really intrigued by August. He’s complex with how he feels. He loves his siblings even though he knows they are not all there. He loves his mother and father, and really just wants to do whatever he can to help in the never-ending fight against the monsters.
Once Kate and August meet, things get exciting. Seeing them try to figure out how to trust one another was beyond interesting.
The only complaint I have is that I still have so many questions about the monsters. I’m still not totally sure how they are created. Are they a whole new being? Or are they the person that sinned turned monster? I’m eager to get into the next book and learn more.
Overall, I loved this book. The world was fascinating. The characters were complex and held my attention. There was so much more to this story that seems to be outside of my ability to articulate at the moment. But I loved it. That’s all.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Summary:
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.
AutoboyographyReview:
Autoboyography is the first book I have received in a bookish exchange that I am doing with a few of my closest book friends. This is a favorite of my friend Jenny @ So She Tries. It’s a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a while and even more so after reading The Unhoneymooners. (What’s up with these book titles?)
I loved so many things about this book. Let’s start with Tanner. I love his family and their relationship. Despite moving to a not so queer-friendly town, they’ve made their home a safe and welcoming place for him to be himself. They support him in every way that they can. I loved that his parents were present and involved in his life, always giving their opinions and trying to guide him in the right direction, but still mostly letting him make his own decisions.
The next relationship I really loved was between Tanner and his best friend Autumn. I didn’t love that he took so long to come out to her, but I also don’t know what it’s like to be in that kind of situation. I was happy when he finally told her the truth and loved her reaction. He and Autumn reminded me so much of myself and my husband when we were in high school. They made me laugh and the nostalgia was real. I loved the way things were left with them at the end of Autoboyography.
Finally, the love interest. I had a love/hate relationship with Sebastian. I loved him and Tanner together, but I didn’t love how his religion got in the way. I think some really interesting conversations were brought to the table. I liked the way that things worked out in the end, but I struggled with their relationship. It was hard because Tanner knew exactly who he was and what he felt and Sebastian was in a different place. He wanted to be someone that his family wouldn’t accept and that was hard to digest at times.
Overall, I adored this story. I am so happy that I was able to finally read it and I definitely will be reading more by Christina Lauren. I cannot wait to see what else they come up with for their young adult readers.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Summary:
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.
War Storm (Red Queen, #4)Review:
I wanted to like this finale more than I did. As with most books, there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I think I’m going to organize this review like I have with a few other series conclusions in the past because there’s just too much going on for me to talk about it in my traditional format.

Things I liked-

The changing perspectives was probably my favorite thing about this book. It was done in the previous book too (see my review for King’s Cage). I really felt like we got to see into the heads of the rest of the characters that play a part in this story. I started to really feel for certain characters (read: Evangeline) instead of hating them like I did in previous books. Seeing things from her point of view, what her thoughts and opinions were rather than just the face she puts on for the world was really interesting and was the best part of this book. The same goes for Iris. I liked seeing her plans and thoughts. The way that her country works and what her values and ideals were.

I liked seeing the different parts of the world. We get to see the Lakelands and more of Montfort. I enjoyed exploring more of the world. Along with this, we’re learning more about the Newbloods and how the world is changing.

Finally, I liked the action. The fighting was exciting and fun. I thought the battles they chose and the places they strike were good choices. I was convinced that Aveyard was going to kill a certain character, but she didn’t thankfully.

Things I didn’t like-

The ending. I wanted more. This was not very satisfying to me.

Mare and Cal. I remember being pretty broken up with their drama in the last book, but reading this one and the choices they both make just annoyed me. I wanted them to just get over it all. I didn’t care if they ended up together or not. I didn’t care about them in general.

Which leads me to the rest of the characters. For a book so thick, there was so much focus on characters I didn’t care about. In the first few books, we’re learning all about these Newbloods. Rescuing them and training them, but then we just get two or three sentences here and there about them and no further development. I really didn’t appreciate that.

Overall-

I’m happy for the series to finally be over and to see it concluded (though I am excited for the novella collection coming out in May.) I found myself really struggling to pick this book up and actually want to read it. I think maybe pushing myself to finish it despite these feelings made me enjoy it less but I didn’t want to keep waiting and then forget everything from the first three books. I’m glad I read the series because I did enjoy it, but I’m equally glad for it to be over.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.