Review: Moonstruck #1 by Grace Ellis

Moonstruck 3-- bookspoilsI’ve been waiting for the first issue of this comic to drop for months now, so the arrival has been more than satisfying, to say the least.

In Moonstruck we have: Fantasy creatures are living typical, unremarkable lives alongside humans, and barista Julie strives to be the most unremarkable of all. Normal job, normal almost-girlfriend, normal…werewolf transformations that happen when she gets upset? Yikes! But all bets are off when she and her centaur best friend Chet find themselves in the middle of a magical conspiracy.

List of things that wove their way into my heart:

  • The friendship between Julie and Chet, which basically consists of puns and mom-esque advice. Which is to say that their friendship brings this story to vibrant life. Moonstruck 1-- bookspoilsThis is how you get to me because I do the exact same thing when saying goodbye.

Moonstruck 5-- bookspoils#Goals.

  • Chet’s relatable feelings of being head over heels for someone who either doesn’t feel the same way or is just completely clueless about you.

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  • The capturing art really plays to the overarching theme’s strength. I mean, need I say more:Moonstruck 4-- bookspoilsAlso, Cass is definitely another new favorite thanks to the above.
  • The world building in Moonstruck has me immensely intrigued, which rarely happens for me as of late. The whole notion of blending the magical with realism is something I’m always up for, so I’m excited to see what’s next in store for the crew.

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Moonstruck #1, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

I went into this graphic novel a bit wary, since I had read Telgemeier’s Smile and wasn’t the biggest fan… But with this newest addition I was ecstatic to find that Drama was nothing like I’d anticipated.Drama 8-- bookspoilsCallie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

The characters in this comic seemed a lot more mature to me than the ones in Smile, so I was surprised to find that they were mostly just 7th and 8th graders. On a totally separate note, Drama had a number of enjoyable moments that left me grinning from ear to ear. The tons of laugh-out-loud moments, plus the cast of characters being a bunch of loving and dedicated kids kept me satisfied from start to finish.Drama 4-- bookspoils

Also:

  • The color schemes and palettes in Drama were vibrant, spellbinding, and incredibly fitting to the ongoing theme.

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Drama 5-- bookspoils

  • I loved getting an inside look to what happens behind the theatre stage. It reminded me a lot of this incredible video I watched awhile back but still think about:
  • The exploration of sexuality and coming out. I’m sad we didn’t get to see it from the character’s perspective, but still… I loved the turn of events that lead to this iconic moment:

Drama 6-- bookspoilsDream big, kids.

  • This iconic clap-back:

Drama 11-- bookspoilsThis Callie girl is bold, like the time she auditioned for fun in front of everybody to calm down Jesse’s nerves. I love her. Drama 10-- bookspoils

On that note, I’ll wrap up my review to say one last thing: Drama is a noteworthy graphic novel jam-packed with kids full of talent, courage, and dedication. I’m excited to check out more works by Raina Telgemeier in the near future.

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Drama, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Skam Book Tag: The Boy Squad | Original

Guess who’s back, back again for round two because they’re still obsessing over this legendary Norwegian tv series called Skam… And this time around I can clearly point the blame of my fixation on the fact that the trailer for season four still hasn’t been released. Plus, filming for said season started recently, so I was bound to start all over with my profound love for the show.

Now, considering the fact that I’ve already created a book tag centered around my favorite girl squad, in this sequel/companion of sorts I decided to focus on the boys and highlight their characteristics. (AKA Skam has taken over my life Part II.)

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

  1. William Magnusson: your favorite “stop walking around like a fucking cliché” read.

As Noora Sætre likes to remind us, William is a walking cliché whose intentions aren’t the clearest at the start. Which is why I’m still unsure of what I think regarding those two together (particularly after season three). But regardless of that fact, I decided to go with Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David to fit this question. 

Like I wrote in my review, this is a YA romance set it in the Philippines, exploring one of my favorite tropes: hate to love. And it has so many Noorhelm parallels – with the addition of pranking one another – that I was practically giddy with excitement.

“She stared at him the whole time, a little smile playing on her lips. Upon catching her, he placed the spoon he’d been using on his empty plate and caressed her lower lip with his thumb. Because he could. Her lower lip felt soft and warm. He wanted to kiss it for the foreseeable future.
Her smile grew wider. “I like looking at you.”

Like, does this not remind you of William and Noora… And speaking of, I recently discovered this video edit of them, and I legit ended up having to wipe away my unasked-for tears (it was 3 a.m., but still).

Also, I couldn’t figure out for the longest time who Thomas Hayes, the actor who plays William, reminded me of until it finally all clicked when I recalled Andrew Garfield’s role in The Amazing Spider-Man. Now, I can’t unsee the resemblance:

2. Chris Schistad: your favorite fuckboy character.

To be frank, I don’t have any strong emotions concerning Chris. I mean, I do know that his whole fuckboy façade is just something I don’t click with it. However, since his name twin, Chris Berg, is one of my favorites, I loved him for a split second when those two met:

It really was one of the best introduction scenes.

But circling back, I’ve been thinking a bit about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, since the third book is set to come out soon. And I thought it fitting to put Lara Jean’s love interest, Peter Kavinsky, down for this question, especially since both Chris and him seem to be having quite the trouble with ex’s, girlfriends and the like. My interest is peaked as to how their character arcs are going to come to a close.

“You’d rather make up a fantasy version of somebody in your head than be with a real person.”

P.S. I have to laugh whenever Chris is referred to as “Penetrator Chris” because I’ll inevitably end up thinking of this quote: tumblr_mp6u8smnak1rcwz0co1_500

It took me ages to come up with a character as easygoing, enlightening and utterly lively as Eskild, but then thankfully Charlie Liang from Queens of Geek came to mind. She’s the queen of everything I love seeing discussed in books, from intersectional feminism to encouraging her friends to believe in themselves and standing up to anyone trying to erase her bisexuality. And I think the beauty of her character – in addition to bringing  humor and light to any scene –  is that she can get sincerely supportive at just the right time, similar to Eskild.

“Like, sometimes I don’t think I’m being a girl right. I have an undercut and wear clothes I’ve bought from the boys’ section, and I don’t wear makeup or do my nails. I watch horror movies and play video games and burp and swear and don’t talk about my feelings or any of that crap. I’m like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, only before the makeover.”
“So?” Charlie shrugs. “Gracie Hart rocks. Besides, there’s no one way to be a girl, Tay. You don’t need to fit yourself into what society tells us a girl should be. Girls can be whoever they want. Whether that’s an ass-kicking, sarcastic, crime-solving FBI agent or a funny, gorgeous, witty, beauty queen—or both at the same time.” 

These are some serious friend goals right here.

So if you like the idea of strong friendships, diversity, swoon-worthy romance, or running through zombie mazes, participating in SupaFan contests and filming collabs…  you should definitely check out Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. 

4.  Isak Valtersen: your favorite angsty coming-of-age gay – or LGBTQIA – read.

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To answer this question, I had to go with a recent favorite film called Moonlight, which I’m technically counting, since I read the screenplay as well as watched it on the big screen. (And I just love it so much that I’m desperate to bring it up anytime.)

As the blurb of the film states, Moonlight is a chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American, gay man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

And since I’ve raved a lot about this brilliant game-changer in my review, I’ll try to keep it short and simple in here. Covering issues of race, discrimination, sexuality, m/m love, coming of age, and so much more. This character-driven film had me positively enamoured in a matter of seconds, similar to Skam.

5. Even Bech Næsheim: your favorite straightforward read about mental illness.

Though it’s been awhile since I last read it, I’ve found myself thinking about Hannah Hart’s Buffering a lot lately.You might recognise Hart from her wildly popular YouTube channel, but going into the book I didn’t have any prior knowledge about her save for that fact. But since I loved memoirs and nonfiction essays, I decided to give this one a go back in November. And the choice to read Hart’s essays remains to be one of the best ones I made that month; it lead me to a whole lot of other memoirs that I now consider favorites.

“Selfishly, I wanted to write this to feel less alone. Selflessly, I hope it helps you feel less alone too.”

This collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame. But what stayed with me the most was when Hart talked about her childhood growing up with a schizophrenic mother and their relationship nowadays. Mental illness and mental health are two topics heavily and frankly discussed in Buffering, and I’m forevermore grateful for how she opened up her heart to the readers.

6. Magnus Fossbakken: your favorite character desperate to get some action.

I have only one read in mind for this question, but since it’s set to release in April, I’m still desperately waiting to have it in my hands. The book in question is, of course, Becky Albertalli’s second novel: The Upside of Unrequited.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

The blurb alone has my heart fluttering and my lips grinning from ear to ear. Plus, the promise of exploring sisterhood, humor, love,  Jewishness, and identity seems to be right up my alley.

7. Jonas Noah Vasquez: your favorite best friend character.

Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything more reassuring and unproblematic than the friendship in We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

This contemporary read deals with both quiet and loud topics such as loneliness, grief, friendship, f/f love, heartbreak, and all things in between as you can read in my review. But at its core, this book is about the friendship, love and compassion between Marin and Mabel. And their interactions were so honest, inspiring and achingly real, just like the ones we see with Jonas on screen.

“I look at her. I wish her everything good. A friendly cab driver and short lines through security. A flight with no turbulence and an empty seat next to her. A beautiful Christmas. I wish her more happiness than can fit in a person. I wish her the kind of happiness that spills over.”

I still can’t get over how the above passage manages to be both pure of heart and strong of spirit. I wholeheartedly recommend you give this book a go.

  1. Mahdi Disi: your favorite character with iconic one-liners.

Saving the best for last, Mahdi has uttered some of my favorite lines in season three. So when thinking of someone with a similar taste in humor, not a character sprung to mind, funnily enough, but Scaachi Koul’s dad. I recently read her hilarious collection of essays in One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, and whenever Koul mentioned something her father said, I cracked up laughing. And then later, upon recalling some of his comical quotes, I’d end up nearly in tears.

Take for instance this moment when her father was introduced for the first time to Scaachi’s older (by thirteen years) boyfriend:

“They shook hands. Papa led him into the kitchen, where all serious family matters tend to take place. He offered Hamhock tea. “You look good,” Papa said. “For someone your age.” 

There’s a lot more where that came from. And as I mentioned in my review, I would not mind reading a book solely about her parents. Speaking of, I don’t dare leave without having even talked about the mother, who’s one of the most inspiring ones out there.

“My dad first saw her at his cousin’s house—my mom was her friend—and was flustered by her beauty. Ask my dad and he’ll wax poetic about my mother’s cheekbones, her rich eyes, her long hair, how he needed to get to know her. My mom didn’t even know he was there.”

This is the level of cool, calm and detached I aspire to achieve.

On that note, however, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the scene where the boys™ are helping Isak text Even, and then proceed to panic when they realize he’s actually coming over.

THIS IS PURE GOLD. MY HEART IS SO FULL.


And that concludes the second part of my Skam book tag, thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed perusing this tag as much as I enjoyed making it. And funnily enough, I’m still not sure whether this’ll be the last part, since season four is supposedly on its way soon… (And I just need to know who the main will be.)c7timmsu8aaeaf4(I’m rooting for Sana Bakkoush!!)

As always, you’re more than welcome to answer this tag for yourself, and be sure to link me so that I can read your answers as well!! Plus, if you’re interested in reading more, you can check out my first part of the Skam book tag centered around my favorite girl squad.