Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Tea Dragon Society (graphic novel) by Katie O'Neill

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors and Oni Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

The Tea Dragon SocietyAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Tea Dragon Society

Author: Katie O'Neill
Upcoming Release Date: October 31, 2017

Synopsis: From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes 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: I love absolutely everything about this book. There is so much packed into such a short story. The world building is full and has a luscious past. There is diversity of everything (race, species, sexual orientation, etc). The art is breathtaking. The story is heartwarming and adorable. I want more stories about these character or at least set in this world! I obviously give this book a 5/5 and will be looking for more from Katie O'Neill!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Flintstones, Vol. 2 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from DC Entertainment via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Flintstones Vol. 2: Bedrock BedlamAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Flintstones, Vol. 2
Writer: Mark Russell
Illustrator: Steve Pugh
Upcoming Release Date: October 10, 2017

My REVIEW of The Flinstones, Vol.1

Synopsis:Fred and Barney reunite for Mark Russell’s modern take on Hanna-Barbera’s most famous stone-age family!

This second volume starring the first family of Bedrock (and civilization, really) tells the story of who we are and why we do what we do as if it all began with Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty and the rest of the citizens of Bedrock. Shining a light on humanity’s ancient customs and institutions in a funny origin story of human civilization, Mark Russell (PREZ) blends modern interpretations with Hanna-Barbera’s classic characters, bringing a breath of fresh stone-age air.

Hanna-Barbera has created some of the most recognizable animated characters of all time. As part of DC Comics’ reimagination of cartoons like SCOOBY-DOO, JOHNNY QUEST, SPACE GHOST and WACKY RACERS, these new series are infused with modern and contemporary concepts while keeping the heart and soul of the classic animation.

Collects THE FLINSTONES #7-12.


Review: This second volume absolutely delivers! When I saw The End, I still wanted more! This series has taken classic characters and a setting everyone is familiar with and brought it to 2017. The political commentary in this volume is done so well. Humanity is shown fully, flaws and advantages. This series oddly pairs well with the nonfiction book 
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

Each chapter has its own focus while still keeping the whole arc moving forward. The church story is great. Economics comes up in this volume. Wilma's mother and her transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer. The heart of this volume though, is in the appliances. I almost cried.

There's also great pop culture references. Stony Danza as a celebrity endorsement was hilarious. Pterodactyl drones attacking innocent people.

This whole series is a great commentary on humanity. There's only two volumes, so you might as well just buy them both! I give this volume a 5/5. It effectively uses a simple story to show complex ideas and makes you question everyday things.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Generations (graphic novel) by Flavia Biondi - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors and Lion Forge via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

GenerationsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Generations

Author: Flavia Biondi
Upcoming Release Date: October 10, 2017

Synopsis: After three years in Milan, Matteo returns home to the provincial country town where he was born and from which he had fled. Coming out as a young gay man in a provincial country town had led to ugly clashes with his conservative father, and the urban metropolis of Milan had been a welcome change from the stifling small town life of his childhood and the anger and bewilderment of some members of his family. But now, Matteo finds himself with little choice but to return home, with no money, no job, and an uncertain future, like so many other young people of his millennial generation. Afraid of encountering his estranged father, he instead takes refuge with his extended family, at a house shared by his grandmother, three aunts, and his very pregnant cousin. As he tries to rebuild his life, reconnecting with the women of his family and old hometown friends, he warily confronts a few truths about the other generations of his family-from their bigotry to their love, and tolerance, and acceptance-and a few truths about himself, including his fears of confrontation and commitment.


Review: Generations is a story about family and growing up. Matteo left his hometown after coming out to his father as gay. It's been three years and he returns home to live with his grandmother, three aunts, and pregnant cousin. He realizes that each of his aunts has their own past, things they did that effected the rest of their life. This story shows that awkward time when as a young adult you start to see your elders as real people. 

The storytelling is lyrical, but at times it is evident that it's been translated. The artwork is simple, but matches perfectly with the tone of the story. I laughed out loud at the "only gay in the village" reference. I give this book a 5/5.  


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Blog Tour Guest Post & GIVEAWAY: The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake

I am so happy to host this Guest Post from Melissa Eastlake, the author of The Uncrossing. I was planning on posting my review as well, but I've been a super slow reader lately, so I haven't quite finished the book yet. But, so far I'm loving it. My review will be up soon. 

The UncrossingAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Uncrossing

Author: Melissa Eastlake
Recent Release Date: October 2, 2017

Synopsis: Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can't break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn't be falling for.

Jeremy's been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something's missing. Jeremy's family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it's tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can't uncross. If true love's kiss fails, what's left for him and Jeremy?


Guest Post Topic: The Importance of Representation and Diversity in Fantasy

Fantasy stories expand our ideas about what is possible. They tap into deep archetypes or take readers to extreme situations in order to explore the depths of true, realistic human experiences. Characters in fantasy battle monsters or perform heroic acts to inspire readers in their own lives. Fantasy stories are fun and engaging, but they also teach us how we see ourselves and our aspirations.

Nuanced, realistic representation invites all of us to be those heroes. My original inspiration for The Uncrossing was to write a queer fairytale—to take some of the core, iconic tropes that we use to talk about what love is, and understand explore how they apply to queer people in a changing and still very broken world. 

---Melissa Eastlake--- 
Her debut novel, The Uncrossing, is coming in 2017 from Entangled Teen. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her partner and their dog.


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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Katherine Tegen Books and Harper Collins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review; I read an annotated arc I received in a giveaway from the author*

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Recent Release Date: June 27, 2017

My REVIEW of This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

Synopsis: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


Review: This book is such a fun adventure with so much heart! I was lucky enough to win an annotated copy from the author in a giveaway which made it an even more thrilling read. It was like I was being walked through the book with fun little side comments and colorful drawings of marine mammals shouting "gaaaaaaaaayyyyy" as well as details into the author's process.

This book takes place in the 1700s, but it is written with a modern eye. Much research was done into the settings and era, but there's an awareness that feels very now. The book is essentially a rich queer man's romp around Europe with his best friend and nerdy sister that goes horribly wrong. But horribly wrong in so many wonderfully outrageous escapades. I'm talking stolen artifacts, surprisingly nice pirates, and more than a handful of beautiful cities. The working title of the book was "The Big Gay European Road Trip Novel" and that's what it wonderfully is!

The book is told from Monty's POV and the author absolutely nails the voice. It is infuriating in the best way possible when Monty doesn't catch something or interprets a situation in the wrong way. All three of the main characters are written so well. They make such a great team of misfits.

Obviously, I absolutely loved this book. I'm going to be recommending it to so many people. It's a fun, adventure story with queer characters that takes place in 1700s Europe! I'm super stoked for the next book in this universe ("The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy" is expected to be released sometime in 2018). I give this book a 5/5. You will love it!   

Monday, October 2, 2017

Taproot (graphic novel) by Keezy Young - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors and Lion Forge via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

TaprootAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Taproot
Author: Keezy Young
Recent Release Date: September 26, 2017

Synopsis: Blue is having a hard time moving on. He's in love with his best friend. He's also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart's content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal's strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means... leaving him.


Review: This beautiful, sweet story is about a young gardener who can see ghosts. The pastel colors and the many flowers really add to the tone of this graphic novel. There is so much heart at the center of this story. I loved seeing queer characters of color in a graphic novel. I want more stories like this! I would love to see where their adventures go next. 

I give this graphic novel a 5/5. I highly recommend it, especially to readers looking for queer fantasy stories.