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Girl Power Graphic Novels – Kicking Butt & Taking Names – Blog Tour

When I was growing up in the 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of female-led comics or graphic novels. A lot of the comics were geared towards boys, often making it feel like comics were for boys and girls were excluded. I still found myself reading and rereading The Adventures of Tintin by Herge and when I could find Wonder Woman in issues of the Justice League I was thrilled.

I still felt like comics were a boys club.

Then I discovered manga, and it was something I constantly devoured. Marmalade Boy, Fushigi Yuugi, NANA, Hellsing… I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Even better, I had made friends who loved manga as much as I did and we would constantly trade back and forth with each other.

It wasn’t until towards the end of high school and early into my university career that I fell back in love with comics. My then-to-be-husband was constantly introducing me to a variety of graphic novels and comics, He helped me fall back in love with Wonder Woman, and taught me so much about Marvel comics. We shared our manga collection and both cried when we found out that NANA wasn’t being completed.

Girls are much more fortunate now than I was growing up. There are so many inspirational female characters in comics, from Cleopatra in the Cleopatra in Space series, or Zita from Zita the Space Girl. First Second has constantly been pushing the boundaries for young girls being able to see themselves in comics and graphic novels more and more. I thought I’d share with you why you should check out some of their girl powered graphic novels!

Cucumber Quest Vol 1: Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G

Why You Should Read It: This series is about a boy named Cucumber who simply wants to be a magician, go to school and just not get into any trouble. However, with world domination inbound, Cucumber and his best friend Almond set out to help everyone in Dreamside to keep them safe.

While Cucumber is a cute main character, the star of this graphic novel series is easily Almond. She’s funny, stubborn, tough-as-nails, and constantly fighting baddies with a smile on her face. Almond is crazy, but has such a good heart, and will do everything she can to protect the people she cares about, and from Cucumber making himself look bad.  I laughed a lot reading the first two volumes of Cucumber Quest, and I easily cannot wait to continue with this series and share it with the middle graders at the library!

Giants Beware! (Chronicles of Claudette #1) by Jorge Aguirre & Rafael Rosado

Why You Should Read It: Brave, yet completely crazy, it’s hard not to love Claudette. Finding a magical sword that always her to slay anything is amazing when you are a tiny little girl with aspirations of being a defender.

I mean seriously, LOOK AT CLAUDETTE’S GRIN. The girl is fearless and has no problem beating baddies into submission. In all honesty though, what I loved about the three volumes in this series is Claudette has such a sense of justice about her, and when she punishes the bad guys it’s never malicious… if anything she even will try a friendship tactic! Claudette would do anything for the people she cares about, and that alone makes her an admirable heroine to love.

Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick & Thomas Taylor 

Why You Should Read It: Let me introduce you all to Scarlett Hart. Monster Hunter by trade, Scarlett is cunning, clever, and intelligent, using more than just brawn to deal with mummies, monsters, and ghouls. Scarlett is an inquisitive heroine, which makes her a lot different from Almond or Claudette. Scarlett needs to think situations through, and needs to be able to calculate an outcome in her head before simply jumping blindly into a problem. She’s the kind of heroine who is serious, but you’d want her on your team because you know she’ll have your back.


I hope you enjoyed my stop on the blog tour. Please consider checking out these great comics published by First Second, be it buying them from your local bookstore or borrowing them from your local library. Remember: comics were never a boys club, and there are so many amazing and inspiring ladies not only creating great comics, but wonderful heroines to fall in love with.

If you want more out of this blog tour, consider checking out all the other stops and see what other bloggers consider to be girl powered graphic novels!

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Five Titles from #FrenzyPresents That I Need to Get My Paws On!

Over the weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Harper Collins Canada for their Spring #FrenzyPresents event. This event happens every few months to showcase what upcoming YA titles are on their way out to the shelves. I always love these events if only because the Frenzy crew really shows such amazing enthusiasm and passion for the titles that they are publishing. They showed us a variety of titles, from high fantasy to gripping contemporary, and I thought it would be fun to share the five titles I’d love to get my paws on!

Monday’s Not Coming
by Tiffany D. Jackson (Expected Release:  May 22nd 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books)

This book sounds like it’s going to be a rough and gripping ride. Missing persons stories are easily some of the most uncomfortable stories out there. When someone is missing there’s the fear they’ve been brutally hurt, raped,  or even murdered. There’s a discomfort and unnerving feeling that comes from stories like this — a best friend has gone missing, no one seems to pay it any mind then the one person who strongly notices. Claudia’s story sounds like one that is going to be a tough read, but I’m here for it.

 Invisible Ghosts
by Robyn Schneider (Expected Release: June 5th 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books)

It has been awhile since we’ve gotten a new Robyn Schneider book. I find what I love about Robyn Schneider’s novels is there’s always an unpredictable element to them. In the case of her new novel, it has ghosts! I feel like this is going to be a story that hits me hard given it’s mainly about moving forward and trying to let go of the past. Believe me, I can relate, and I feel like this one is going to punch me hard in the feelings.

The Bird and the Blade
by Megan Bannen (Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by Balzer + Bray)

I admit, I am not the biggest historical fiction buff. I will say, however, that if a historical fiction novel focuses on East Asia, I will pay attention. Asian culture has always fascinated me, and while the author isn’t Asian, I’m willing to see where he story goes. This book has MONGOLS. MONGOLS PEOPLE. That alone had me yelling in my chair during the event! Plus, Maeve, being the doll that she is endorsed it, and given how well-researched I’ve heard this book is, I need to get my claws on it.

Leah on the Offbeat
by Becky Albertalli (Expected publication: April 24th 2018 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Hi, my name is Sam, and I am addicted to Becky Albertalli books. Yes, yes, I am. I am SO EXCITED FOR LEAH ON THE OFF BEAT. SO MUCH SO THAT I AM USING ALL CAPS TO EXPRESS MY JOY AND HAPPINESS. YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS YAS.

But seriously, I am here for this book. Feelings and flailing are going to happen.

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now
by Dana L. Davis (Expected publication: May 1st 2018 by Harlequin Teen)

Hello family drama? I am in it. I’ll admit, this was one of the few books I hadn’t heard of during the event, but the synopsis sounded like it was going to be an emotional roller-coaster.  This book looks at a girl with two potential fathers and the possibility of feeling like she’s never going to fit in with a family. While I hope it isn’t Maury (‘You are not the father!’), I feel like there’s just going to be such an intense back and forth in this story. I look forward to reviewing it for you all very, very soon!

There you have it! These are the five titles I am beyond thrilled about it. I want to express a huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for the invitation to see their new titles, and extend a thank you tot he special guest Hadley Dyer, who was so genuine and funny, and while you are all at it, go pick up here latest Here So Far Away (which I’ll have a review for on the blog super soon for — spoiler alert: I ADORED IT).

I cannot wait to share these new titles with the teens at my work, and I am living for these releases.

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2018 Challenge – Feb & March Reads & Challenge Wrap Up

As you may have noticed, I missed February for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Wrap Up! Honestly though? It was due to exhaustion both physically and emotionally. I I am still in the midst of trying to get my mother’s house up and ready for sale, and when I am not working on stuff for that, I basically feel a lot of guilty. At least, that’s how I mainly felt throughout February and the beginning of March. However, life goes on and guilt isn’t worth feeling when you aren’t taking care of yourself. Here’s some of the challenges I have completed since the last update.


Missoula by John Krakauer

Completes Challenge #2: Read a book of true crime.

Thoughts: Missoula was a disturbing read. It looks at the justice system regarding victims of sexual assault and how this particular college town managed to get many male predictors out of being in prison by using tactics that degraded the victims.  This book made me weep, it made me angry, and I felt sorry for all the women who were victims and who had been let down by the American justice system. Sadly this book rings even truer now compared to when it released. That’s a real shame more than anything else.


The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Completes Challenge #8: Read a comic written by a person of colour.

Thoughts: I want everyone to read this graphic novel. EVERYONE. Read my review! 

 

 

 


The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Completes Challenge #16: A 1st book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series.

Thoughts: I bought the hardcover of this forever ago, and it was starting to take up space on my shelves. I remember I bought it on a whim, though I didn’t know much about it other than it had won so many awards when it released by in 2002. I decided recently to grab the audiobook from my work to finally get to this one.  I wanted to love this classic so much, and I just struggled with it. I kept hearing the ending was worth getting to, but everything started to feel too similar in the story? I don’t know. What I do know is, I felt pretty bored and I wanted more intrigue than I got. In the end, I definitely won’t be continuing on in this series, which is hilarious because I remember getting the sequel on Kindle for $1.99. Such is life.


There you have it! I haven’t done too well with this challenge in the last month or so, but I am trying.

Unique Pages in My #BuJo

2017 was the year I decided I need to get my life organized. Every month from December 2016 I would set monthly goals, as well as a two page spread for year goals. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I began to get a little more inspired and adventurous in my journal. I have no real artistic talent, but I am learning to be okay with how I create pages and constantly learning in the process. Today I thought I’d share some of the pages in my bullet journal and a little explanation why these pages exist.

This page is a map I’ve been slowly creating regarding breweries that I’ve been visiting in 2018. My husband and I love craft beer and craft brewing, and we decided to see how many we could hit throughout the year. So far, we’ve hit four (though Rogue River we go over at least once every two weeks to pick up the latest brews). I tried to draw different objects that represent each brewery and where in Ontario the brewery resides. Again, I have child-like drawing skillz, and yet I have been having so much fun expanding this page. Come summer, I feel like it will be fuller!

This is my page of movies I’d like to check out throughout the year. The coloured in triangles are movies I’ve already watched and knocked out for the year. I haven’t decided what I am going to do with the blank space at the bottom, but I am sure I will come up with an idea. There’s a mix of 2018 films, as well as older titles I meant to check out forever ago. I feel like this will for sure be filled by the end of the year.

This is my March tracker page. I’ve never done a tracker before and since I don’t use a dot-matrix style journal, it was a little harder to create boxes for filling in. Also, I decided I’d be a bit more creative and make doodles instead. I am tracking painting my mum’s house (since we are doing it ourselves), decluttering, water intake (because I noticed during the winter that fell off the map), blogging/writing (which I am trying to get back into and be more consistent about) and exercise. When this photo was taken it was the beginning of the month. We shall see what the end of the month will look like!

The last page I am going to show you is my decluttering list. I made a page with every room I need to declutter in the house and I am checking off what rooms are successfully completed. Pretty self-explanatory.

And there you have it! Here’s just a few unique pages in my journal. They aren’t anything special but I really do find them super helpful just to think about different aspects of my life and goals I want to achieve. Perhaps I’ll do a check-in post and maybe share what kinds of writing tools I use while I make my pages. We shall see!

 

Book Chat: Finding Time to Read When You Are Prepping to Move

As you may have noticed, the posts on this blog have been a bit lax lately. This is mostly due to the fact that my husband and I are prepping to sell my mother’s house starting in April. We’re doing all the painting and repairs ourselves (with a few exceptions of course) and we are trying to make sure that everything is ready to rock and roll by the first week of April. It is a lot of work and I know it’s definitely cut into my reading time.

The majority of my books are packed and what I have done for the time being is I’ve made myself a bag of books. It’s a bag that sits in my room filled with titles that I am interested in reading. I’ve been trying to cut back checking out items from work because I have this fear that I am going to lose the items in the process of moving. I even made a page in my bullet journal to give you an idea of what I am hoping to read while I am going through this process.

So what I have done is I drew a bag in my journal and then listed every book that is in my bag. At the bottom I created a star rating key, and effectively my goal is to color in each section based on the star rating that I have given the novel. As you can see, I haven’t coloured much in yet, and if I am being honest, it’s because my reading has definitely slowed down since we got into hardcore preparation mode. I am hoping once we move to put the Shelf of Shame (aka TBR Shelf) back up to give you an idea of how much I purged book-wise. I have been having strong urges since going through my mother’s stuff and my own that massive downsizing needs to happen.

Mainly, I’ve been listening to audiobooks, particularly on my way to and from work. Right now I am listening to The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, which is a YA classic. It has definitely been interesting so far. I’ve also just been trying to make an hour a day to read, and some days that has worked and some days it hasn’t. Part of it is when I sit down to read or game, my mind feels guilty and I feel like I should be working on packing up the house. I recognize though that taking breaks is important and I am going to keep at it.

I hope at the end of the month to share if more of these quadrants have been coloured in or not. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Book Chat: KonMaring My TBR Shelves & Letting Go of Books

This was a long time coming, but I have reached the stage where I am frustrated by the amount of books I own. As my husband and I prepare to move and paint the house we are currently living in, we have been going through all of our stuff and trying to figure out what is staying and what is going. It’s been taxing, emotionally draining, but it needs to be done.

Going through my books has been an eye-opening experience. I am starting to see how much my reading tastes have changed and more over, how I have less of a desire to keep most of the books I own anymore. The reality I am facing is that I don’t do a lot of rereading, and I tend to simply keep books that have left an emotional impression on me or something I know I want to loan to friends. I used to be a huge fantasy reader, and as I’ve aged, I’ve become more of a contemporary reader now. I still love fantasy and I still read it, but it used to be 80% of what I would read for the longest time.

I used to feel this need to keep every book I received over the years, only to realize that it wasn’t viable. Space for books is always at capacity and sometimes finding space for more book shelves isn’t exactly an option. It also doesn’t help that my husband is as much a book hoarder as I am.

Story of our lives.

Frankly, I am realizing I have less desire to own books unless I like them. I’d rather get a book from the library I work at and if I truly love it after reading it, then at least I can go and buy a copy after the fact. The more I work for the library system I am in, the more I realize how much stuff we have and how accessible a lot of the stuff I want to read is. So I’ve been going through books I “kinda want to read” (the ones that still make me curious) and seeing if my work has them. If we do, I put it on my “For Later Shelf” and get rid of the physical copy, and if we don’t, I keep it in case that inkling is there.

Supporting the library has become more important to me as I’ve gotten older because circulation numbers matter and taking stuff out from the local library and showing the demand means a better chance for a budget increase, and frankly it just means that the books I am borrowing are “vacationing” at my house and are not staying with me indefinitely. When I teach books that way, I have less of a desire to hoard them and more of a desire to have less, which is my ultimate goal here.

Having a lot of stuff has become an exhausting thing. I want to just keep having less if I can keep at it. Once we move, I am going to take a picture of my Shelf of Shame for you all again to give you an idea of how much was purged/read. I’m excited to see if I’ll have actual space on shelves that will be less for TBR and more for other things. We shall see!

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2018 Challenge – January Reads & Challenge Wrap Up

New year, new challenge! I LOVE doing the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and January… man I am off to a good start. Of the twenty challenges, I’ve knocked out seven. Here’s what I read, what challenge it completed and some quick thoughts.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Completes Challenge #1: Read a book published posthumously.

Thoughts: This book was such an emotional and difficult read for me. Part of it is being I could relate to a lot of what the author’s wife was describing in the Afterword of the book. Read about someone’s life as they are dying is an eye-open and uncomfortable experience, and this one definitely stuck with me even long after I completed it.

 


Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

Completes Challenge #3: Read a classic of genre fiction.

Thoughts: This was a book I borrowed from my bestie forever ago, and I told myself that this would be the month I tackled it (it was even on my monthly goal list). This was all right, though at times for a fantasy novel I felt like it dragged on a bit too long. I wasn’t entirely fond of the characters either. One point though in it’s favour is I really found the abortion discussion really interesting, especially given this book was written in the early 90’s. Good, but definitely something I wouldn’t have picked up without a bit of a push.


Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Completes Challenge #4: Read a comic written and illustrated by the same person.

Thoughts: This was such a magically little book that explores a family’s immigration story through a magic pashmina. This graphic novel was so heartwarming and comfortable, and while I am not Indian and have not had what happen to Priyanka’s family, the author does an amazing job of getting the read to empathize with the experiences in the story. The art was adorable and vibrant as well. Definitely worth checking out if you love graphic novels.


Crash Override by Zoe Quinn

Completes Challenge #14: Read a book of social science.

Thoughts: This was such a valuable read regarding internet safety and combating online abuse. I learned so much from Quinn’s personal story, but also loved that she provided a variety of tools and resources regarding how to keep yourself safe, especially given how toxic social media has become in the last few years. She’s done some amazing work with her organization Crash Override and I am happy to hear she’s making video games again. If you’ve never played Depression Quest, please do — the message is so important


The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Completes Challenge #15: Read a book in one sitting.

Thoughts: I loved the crap out of Katie O’Neill’s Princess Princess Ever After. Color me excited when I saw she had a new graphic novel out. This such a sweet, calming graphic novel that takes place during different seasons. It’s a book about friendship, and written for loves of dragons and tea. I loved learning about tea and tea varieties at the end of the book as well! Plus the illustrations are gorgeous!

 


Voltron: Legendary Defender Vol 1. by Tim Hedrick

Completes Challenge #18: Read a comic that isn’t published by DC/Marvel/Image.

Thoughts: My darling friend and fellow Voltron fanatic Nick gifted me this comic for Christmas in 2017 and OMG SO FUN. This is such a fun follow-up to the television series with little vignettes for stories. Seriously if you aren’t watching the new Netflix Voltron series, YOU NEED TO. I SHIP EVERYONE.

 

 


The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Completes Challenge #20: Read a book with a cover you hate.

Thoughts: I have made it clear I am not fond of the cover for this book, but OMG READ THIS BOOK. I want more people to check this one out because I feel like it completely went under a lot of people’s radars and it’s an amazing contemporary YA novel packed with some wonderful characters and a great story. Don’t believe me? Check out my review and then get the book.