Review: Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 by Kate Leth

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 9-- bookspoilsThis graphic novel follows three young witches – Jolene, Claire and Andy, respectively – heading out on an East Coast road trip to retrieve their stolen belongings and track down the mysterious thief before he can do any damage to—or with—their magical possessions.

And this is now my second (favorite) read where the main character overthrows her jerk of an abusive ex boyfriend, who’s also coincidently called Nathan. I love it. Which speaking of, Spell on Wheels throws in so many of my favorite elements together:

  • diversity.
  • the occult.
  • witches.
  • f/f ships.
  • supportive and positive friendships between girls.
  • road trips.
  • notable humor.
  • feminism and calling out men on their sexism (!!!)
  • vibrant and colorful art. #aesthetic
  • JUST SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

So I’m beyond excited to next share those cherished moments I mentioned above:
Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 2-- bookspoils

 

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 3-- bookspoils

 

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 4-- bookspoils

 

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 5-- bookspoilsClaire is #goals.
Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 6-- bookspoilsI included the above simply for the “H… Hi?” because it reminded me of that noteworthy Skam moment between Noora and Eva:

Which reminds me that there was another Skam moment in here that I absolutely adored: the usage of the ouija board.
Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 8-- bookspoilsIconic:

But circling back to the lively characters in this graphic novel, my favorite one remains to be Jolene Nguyen with her gorgeous name and tattoos:Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 7-- bookspoilsShe had some of the best scenes!!! Between handling her technopathic abilities, kissing girls and producing striking one-liners, it was hard not to get swept up in my love for her.

Plus, as I mentioned before, the art in here is just… so enthralling and fitting to the atmosphere. And I’m forevermore grateful that the style didn’t change throughout this volume.

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 10-- bookspoilsThese two eye-catching panels remain to be my favorite.

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 14-- bookspoilsThey showed that bastard Nathan exactly what they’re made of, just like they’d promised.

And last but not least, Claire hitting it off with a certain someone made me giddy with excitement when I realized just how much their budding romance reminded me of Scarlet and Wolf from TLC.Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 11-- bookspoils

 

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 1 12-- bookspoilsDiscussions on Beauty and the Beast is something I’m always up for.


All in all: Though it took me a bit time to get into the story because of some info-dumps at the start, I’m more than glad I stuck with it. Spell on Wheels is guaranteed to stay with me for awhile to come.

Also, I loved listening to this enthralling song while flipping from page to page:

Expected publication: June 20th, 2017 

4.5/5 stars

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Review: The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret

A collection of Jewish, Israeli and magical realism short stories sounded just like my kind of thing. Etgar Keret’s The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories stings and thrills with fierce fables of modern life. And I had no idea going into this, but it turned out that I was already familiar with the author’s writing from school back when we’d read “Breaking the Pig.” So when I stumbled upon said short story in here, I was beyond joyful to have everything come back.

The author, without a doubt, knows his stuff. Brief, intense, painfully funny, and shockingly honest, Keret’s stories are snapshots that illuminate with intelligence and wit the hidden truths of life. From having a shitty angel friend (“That’s when he finally understood that of all the things the angel had told him, nothing was true. That he wasn’t even an angel, just a liar with wings.”) to joining the circus to Holocaust Memorial Day to someone’s struggle with their compulsive good-heartedness, these swift tales captivated me and reminded me of everything I know and everything I still don’t.

With all that I loved, however, I still think I made a mistake deciding to read the English translation of this collection because it kind of made the writing lose a bit of its magic. From what I recall of reading Keret in school, his humor is better conveyed in the original language. And I just kept thinking throughout that I should’ve read this in Hebrew.

But on a more positive note, I cherished it immensely when strong emotions where evoked out of me while reading. I laughed, raged, rolled my eyes and connected with so many stories and little moments within them.
Moments such as capturing the love we feel for home-cooked meals:

“There’s something nice about home cooking. I mean, it’s hard to explain, but there’s something special about it, a feeling. As if your stomach can figure out that it’s food you didn’t have to pay for, that someone actually made it out of love. ”

To feeling that palpable rage against Nazi German bastards, especially on Holocaust Memorial Day:

“Then an old skinny man got on the stage and told us what bastards and murderers the Nazis were and how he took revenge on them, and even strangled a soldier with his own hands until he died. Jerby, who was sitting next to me, said the old man was lying; the way he looks, there’s no way he can make any soldier bite the dust. But I looked the old man in the eye and believed him. He had so much anger in his eyes, that all the violent rage of iron-pumping hoods I’ve seen seemed like small change in comparison.”

“Finally, when he finished telling us what he had done during the Holocaust, the old man said that what we had just heard was relevant not only to the past but also for what goes on now, because the Germans still exist and still have a state. He said he was never going to forgive them, and that he hoped we, too, would never ever go visit their country. Because when he went with his parents to Germany fifty years ago everything looked nice, but it ended in hell. People have short memories, he said, especially when bad things are concerned. People tend to forget, he said, but you won’t forget. Every time you see a German, you’ll remember what I told you. Every time you see German products, be it television (since most televisions here are made by German manufacturers) or anything else, you’ll always remember that underneath the elegant wrapping are hidden parts and tubes made of bones and skin and flesh of dead Jews.”

And then wrapping the collection up with a good ol’ case of tragicomedy when a man is fed up of being compared his whole life to another “Just like me, only a tiny bit better”:

“We’re about to land, sir. I insist you return to your seat and fasten your seatbelt, like . . .” True, she went on to say “like all the other passengers,” but what I saw in her eyes was Katzenstein. I pushed down on the lever and forced the door open with my shoulder. I was perfectly calm as I was sucked out, leaving all hell behind me.
Suicide is still considered a dreadful sin in the Afterlife. I begged them to try and understand, but they wouldn’t listen. As they were dragging me to Hell, there was Katzenstein. Him and the other passengers, waving at me through the window of the tour bus that was taking them to Heaven. The plane had crashed as it hit the ground, about fifteen minutes after I’d bailed out. A rare malfunction. One in a million. If only I’d stuck it out in my seat another few seconds, like all the other passengers. Like Katzenstein.”


All in all: These stories were real and vulgar and undeniably sincere. I can’t wait to read more of Keret’s writing in the near future.

3.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

“There are no coincidences.”

I was trying to read this book along with Amina’s Voice, but quickly realized it wasn’t working in my favor me because as Ron Swanson likes to say, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” So I decided to dedicate my sole attention on this tale, and it was beyond magical.

  • We have a phenomenal first chapter from the pov of eleven-year-old Virgil Salinas with a supporting grandmother that tells of her dreams and stories!!
  • We also have an incredible cast of diverse characters who won over my heart:
    – Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous Filipino-American family.
    – Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature.
    – Kaori Tanaka,  whose family is Japanese-American, is a self-proclaimed psychic with a little sister Gen as her second-in-command.
  • Can we take a minute to talk about how Kaori is one of my favorite characters… I genuinely had the bouts of insta-love the minute this twelve-year-old that doesn’t sound like a twelve-year-old because, as she likes to say, “I’m the reincarnated spirit of a 65-year-old freedom fighter” was introduced!!
    Hello, Universe 1-- bookspoils

“Kaori was mildly surprised to get a text from one of her clients (her only client, truth be told) on the first day of summer, particularly at seven forty-five in the morning. But the night before, just as she was gliding to sleep, she’d had the vision of a hawk perched on a giant fence post. Only now she realized it must have been a vulture, not a hawk. And vulture started with V, just like Virgil’s name. The connection couldn’t have been clearer.”

This girl with “her powers of second sight” is something else…

  • the humor is on point:

“Something will happen to you,” Kaori continued.
Virgil looked at Gen. She shrugged.
“That’s it?” said Virgil. “Something will happen to me?”
“I see darkness,” said Kaori.
“Your eyes are closed.”

Honestly, dare I say iconic… both for making me laugh out loud and for the subtle foreshadowing thrown in from the author (which I’d thought at first to be just her having a laugh). But circling back to the humor, these brilliantly vivid characters reminded me of the kids from Stranger Things being their best selves on TV!!

And:

  • And moving on to Virgil’s Lola – aka the best literary grandmother ever – she was a force of nature. I could always count on her old ghost stories and dreams to fully capture my spirit. Also, she’s just one hell of a supportive adult!!!

“Sorry, Lola,” Virgil muttered. “I was just thinking about something that happened on the last day of school.”
Lola tossed the garbage pizza in the cart. “What? What happen?” She was always ready to hear gossip, no matter where it came from.”

This is me. This is who I am.

  • So as Kaori had foretold to Virgil – “What I mean is, I see you in a dark place.” “Dark how?” “Just dark.” – he’d gotten trapped at the bottom of an old well thanks to the worst of humans throwing Virgil’s backpack, which had Gulliver, his pet guinea pig, in it. Which is also when I noticed what the cover, though absolutely gorgeous, happens to spoil if you’d skipped reading the blurb.
  • Oh, and circling back to the worst of humans, I have only one thing to say to the bully, Chet Bullens, whose family is probably full of Trump supporters…tumblr_oaesann93b1qet8ilo1_250
  • On a more positive note, there’s some magical realism aspects thrown in to further enchant my heart.
  • And the story continues full of busy happenings that lead to friendship, kinship and family. In the end, I just ended up adoring this group of explorers. Plus, I really hope Tanaka and Somerset will go into business as promised. (Maybe we’ll even get a sequel/ novella on that idea…)
  • And last but not last, I was as joyful as my girl Valencia from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when the story ended on such sweet and hopeful note.tumblr_o7o1w7snid1si3gq6o1_500

4/5 stars

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