Book Reviews

Over the Garden Wall Vol. 3 by Jim Campbell, Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, Danielle Burgos, Art by Cara McGee

Over the Garden Wall Vol. 3 (Over the Garden Wall (Collection) #3) by Jim Campbell, Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, Danielle Burgos, Cara McGee (Illustrations)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

I enjoyed this volume much more than 1 & 2 because even though Greg is still stuck on his quest with the frog, we finally ARRIVE somewhere froggy rather than just passing through more silly meandering shenanigans in the forest. Wirt is still following his brother’s trail and his story is even more fun too because a companion joins him, adding more continuity between each chapter.

The last chapter is similar to the one at the end of volume two, featuring a vintage palette of limited colors, a squiggly squishy drawing style, and a story about the little schoolhouse with all the animals. The story centers on the kitty cat family and it’s really just cute, funny and precious. I loved it!

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Book Reviews

Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 3 by Keith Giffen

Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 3 (Scooby Apocalypse (Collected Editions) #3) by Keith Giffen.jpgRating: 🍁🍁🍁

I was really reluctant to start Volume 3 because Volume 2 ends with a villain inspired on a real-life madman I hear enough about already. If you’re worried about the same problem, don’t be. It’s worth it in the end.

The story didn’t hook me a lot. Scooby Apocalypse is falling into the post-apocalyptic trope of: “let’s constantly question what’s going on without actually discovering any answers, oh and there’s consistent violent encounters with zombie creatures.” I don’t really care about random bouts of fighting, tell me what’s going on!!!

The art style is unfortunately just as eye-rollingly male-gazey as in Volume 2, but besides that, I do appreciate how dynamic and detailed it is. (p.s. If trypophobia bothers you, there’s a bit of it in these monsters, but nothing you can’t ignore or cover up with your hand if need be.)

Besides that, this volume introduces the side story of Secret Squirrel (remember that squirrel from Hanna-Barbera days, wearing a white lab coat and a purple hat that went all the way down to his eyes?). We’ve yet to see how it ties into Scooby Apocalypse (if at all?) but it was mildly entertaining to see that character revived as well.

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Looking forward to something that is hopefully more engaging in Volume 4.

Book Reviews

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie M. Liu, art by Sana Takeda

Monstress, Vol. 3- Haven (Monstress #3) by Marjorie M. Liu (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

The art in Montress Vol 3. is as mindblowingly gorgeous as in the previous volumes. I’ll keep coming back if only for the art any day of the year.

As for the story, if I’m being 100% honest, I’m having trouble piecing it all together and I didn’t find this volume as engaging as the previous two. What is it all leading up to? Who are all these new characters? What the actual fuck is happening? 

I’m sure it’ll make sense eventually. 

If you’ve followed Monstress this far, there’s no reason not to continue.

p.s. It ends in a teeny tiny cliffhanger that isn’t terribly frustrating.  

Book Reviews

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness, Rovina Cai (Illustrator)

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness,  Rovina Cai (Illustrator).jpgRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

And The Ocean Was Our Sky is one of those rare genre-bending books that sits in a niche all on its own. (It was shelved under “Teen”, probably because of Patrick Ness’s previous works, but it definitely doesn’t belong there.)

I would describe it as existential fantasy. 

It is the story of a small team of whales who hunt the humans who hunt them.  Their hardened captain, Alexandra, is in a vicious search for a mythical foe known as “Toby Wick”. 

Their story is told by Bathsheba, a young apprentice, and the only one who is asking the important existential questions that nobody else is. “Are we hunting a devil? Does that not make devils of us also?”

Besides the obvious phonetic similarity between Moby Dick and “Toby Wick”, the epigraph also quotes that book. I haven’t read Moby Dick yet but if you have, I’d be interested to hear about any parallels with Bathsheba’s story. 

Lastly, apart from loving Patrick Ness’s previous work, Rovina Cai is half the reason I got this book. Her illustrations skillfully set the dark, contemplative mood of the story. They are mostly monochromatic, using dark greys with the smallest tinge of dark blue, plus the occasional bright scarlet stream of blood. 

I would recommend this to: readers looking for something different and reflective, someone who wants a deep read that isn’t necessarily long and dense, and people who appreciate dark wispy illustrations. 

Book Reviews

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Pilu of the Woods is a tender pick-me-up suitable for children and adults alike.

The main character on the cover is Willow, a child who has lost her mother and is struggling with all the (very visible) demons that come with that. (Another book that does this very well is Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes.)

Willow runs to the forest and finds Pilu, a girl of the woods who is crying because she also has troubles with her family.

Together, Pilu and Willow find metaphors in the woods to illustrate  their current feelings and the consequences attached to ignoring those feelings. Comparing their intangible emotions to physical objects helps open up many layers of meaning in the readers’ mind.

Overall, this is a very sweet and heartwarming comic. I highly recommend it, but especially to: children of all ages, adults looking for something cute to read, and people who enjoy a tenderly illustrated, woodsy comic.

(p.s. I listened to Kishi Bashi while reading this and it paired beautifully.)

This book comes out on April 17th 2019!

Book Reviews

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

THE COTTINGLEY FAIRIES ANA SENDERRating: 🍁🍁🍁

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is short and sweet, probably a good bedtime story for a young child. (I even read it with a Celtic cradle song in the background and it matched perfectly!)

The story is exactly everything you’ve heard about the Cottingley Fairies and nothing more; it doesn’t verge away from that or elaborate further. It even mentions Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fascination with the subject. 

The illustrations are gentle and sweet, with a rough-around-the-edges childlike quality to them. I felt they help to portray the story as the children saw it, since it describes them drawing, coloring, and cutting the fairies out of paper. It almost feels like Elsie herself drew the pictures. 

I would recommend this to very small children who would like to find fairies in the trees. 

This book comes out on March 5th, 2019!

Book Reviews

Lady Cottington’s Fairy Album by Brian Froud

Lady Cottington's Fairy Album (Lady Cottington) by Brian FroudRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

THIS BOOK IS SO SCANDALOUS OMG!!! Hahaha this book came highly recommended because of the inventive illustrations of “pressed fairies”. These are colorful watercolors by Brian Froud that pretend as if fairies had been squished between the pages of the book, leaving an impression on both sides of the paper.

But there’s an actual story in here and at first glance you may find it kinda boring in a stiff-lipped Victorian way, but by the end it is super shocking and worth sticking to!

Without spoiling too much, this is a photo album/diary written by two sisters. The older one began taking pictures of “fairies”, which she also wrote about, but unfortunately died shortly after finishing the diary. Her younger sister finds the diary and begins reading it, adding notes of her own, and squishing fairies while she’s in the process. It sounds very dull and tidy that way but the ending is quite interesting!

By the way, in case you’re planning to read this in public or would like to gift this to a child and are sensitive about this kind of stuff, the fairies in the watercolors are mostly nude and in include the occasional fully-exposed rear-end or breast.

Loved it and highly recommend it!