Review: This is a powerful book of poetry about the history of men trying to suppress, overpower and/or destroy women. It touches on topics of sexuality, weight, history, witchcraft, mental illness, rape, politics and more. Amanda Lovelace leaves no stone unturned while she roots out the evils men inflict on women or accuse women of possessing.
The book is split into sections and reads like the beginning of a raging fire, slowly ebbing down into a simpering, but still powerful flame. The beginning is meant to spark anger, rage, disbelief in the continued fight for equality. As she goes along, Amanda begins to forgive, or at least to urge peaceful fighting. Proposing the best path for women is to band together, to raise voices as one. For, the most powerful impact women have is when they show their support for each other.
Review: Luchi has lived her entire life in the Khon Mueang Women's Prison in Thailand. She looks farang (foreign), like her inmate mother, but she is culturally Thai, so she feels like a citizen of nowhere. Her mother was imprisoned for drug possession, but Luchi knows nothing of her mother beyond these confining walls. Her mother is a secret, hiding herself behind bars, finding safety in the anonymity. She only reveals small pieces, enough bread crumbs for Luchi to follow after her mother passes away. Luchi must leave the comfort of the only home she has ever known, in search of a life and family she knows very little about.
What follows is a journey of self discovery. This novel highlights the overbearing power that secrets hold over a person. Luchi tries her hardest to keep her identity secret, as she had promised her mother she would. However, the more she hides away, the more danger and destruction appear to tear Luchi apart. So, Luchi must allow herself to let go, to reveal herself, in order to move forward and heal.
Review: Shiva is a little girl, she lives on the outside, a place inhabited by monsters or beasts known as Outsiders. She lives with one of these Outsiders, he took her in when she was left on his doorstep by her aunt. He is trying to figure out how to tell her that she must live forever in the outside now, as she is considered infected. Insiders, those protected from the affliction that turns others into monsters, will kill anyone from the outside on sight.
This manga is completely done in black and white, which adds to the subtle horror of the world that Shiva lives in, and the lengths the Insiders will go to protect themselves from Outsiders and their disease. Shiva and her beast, who she refers to as Teacher, live a simple life. The first book in the manga focuses more on Shiva and how she came to Teacher. You learn little of Teacher's life before Shiva, or how he came to be cursed with the Outsider affliction. Mostly, we experience the intricate nature of the relationship between these two very different individuals. One innocent and filled with light, the other apparently filled with darkness and torment.
Review: This is a graphic novel adaptation of the novel Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Anne Shirley is an orphan who is taken in by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister living on a homestead (Green Gables, P.E.I.), who believed they were adopting a boy. What follows is a coming-of-age tale about a strong-willed, imaginative, whip-smart girl, who is finding her place in a small community and turning a quiet house into a loving home.
This graphic novel captures all the whimsy of Anne's story. The illustrations and colours convey the heightened emotions which Anne cannot fail to express to all those she meets. The darkest moments are a mirror to moments when Anne feels sadness and dismay; however, they never last long, as Anne is too full of spirit, happiness, and love.
Rating (4.5 out of 5 mason jars filled with flowers)
Review: Lord Henry "Monty" Montague is going on a year long Grand Tour of Europe, before he has to settle into his duties with his overbearing father. He is hoping to have a romping good time with his best friend, and secret crush, Percy. Unfortunately, his father puts him in the care of a strict parental surrogate, and he must drop his non-conforming teenage sister off at finishing school.
This was a delightfully funny, poignant book, which often touched on topics about 18th century Europe that were problematic and are often sugar coated or ignored in other novels. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue highlights the gross injustice to women, people of colour, sexual non-conformists and those with severe ailments or illnesses that were thought to be the work of the "devil."
Review: Leni lives with her mother, Cora, and her father, Ernt. Ernt was a POW in the Vietnam War; because of this, he suffers from terrible PTSD, but this story takes place in the 1970s when PTSD has not yet been diagnosed or treated. So, Ernt is violent, scary, and hates living in the City, he is paranoid of others and of what is happening to America. So, he decides to move Leni and Cora up to Alaska, where they can live off the grid and homestead. Leni and Cora agree to go, in hopes that this move will bring back who Ernt was before the war. Leni is only 13 when they arrive in Alaska, and the years to follow shape the rest of her life.
The first page of this novel mentions Watership Down, one of my all-time favourite novels, so I felt pretty good about this book from the beginning. And, while the pacing at first felt rather slow, by the end I was hooked and in tears.
Review: Brayora (Bray) and Brenik are twin bats; which, on their home world of Laith, are fairy like beings with bat wings. They live on fruit and, because of this, are hunted down by Jovkins, large monsters that also subsist on fruit. Due to a troubling incident, they must use the Stone of Desire to pass through a portal to Earth. Bray is granted the gift of survival, which alienates an already envious Brenik. Her new ability causes Brenik to hate himself and Bray, as well as causes an unending rage within his mind. When their human caretaker passes away, a new family moves into the home their tree hollow belongs to, and Brenik flies off in search of a new way of living.
This novel was quite different, and included several allusions to 90s movies, books and music. The novel is both new in terms of story elements, but also has a base in past mythology. The shift is interesting and unusual, well thought out and almost perfectly crafted.
Review: The Lumberjanes return in The Infernal Compass to learn about orienteering. They're ready to earn a badge and Mal and Molly are taking the first steps in their budding relationship. Unfortunately, due to a compass mix up, they seem to lose each other.
I was not wowed by the first Lumberjanes graphic novel, but I absolutely loved this one. Such a simple concept conveyed in a beautiful artistic way. There was no colour, except for green, which conveyed the emotions of Molly and the other girls. The illustrations were fluid and conveyed a lot about each character and their attachment to their group of friends.
Molly is having second thoughts about her burgeoning relationship with Mal, due to a fear of losing her friends. A very complex, yet relate-able subject matter.
Review: Nicholas Cox is determined to show the world he is a great fencer, despite his Olympic Champion father abandoning him as a baby. His only chance is to enter Kings Row private school, where he will be able to face off with his golden-boy, half-brother at their rival school. Unfortunately, he ends up rooming with another foe, the amazing, almost undefeated Seiji. Can the two of them work together, or will their rivalry push them past their limits?
This was a fun, quick read. It was diverse, inclusive and action packed. The characters were interesting, but there was very little development. As well, few of the characters were actually likable, even Nicholas was more annoying than sympathetic. His motivation does nothing to actually help with form and execution, by the end you will be disappointed by his lack of character progression and fencing skill. The book sort of ends abruptly, maybe in preparation for volume II, but it left a weak start for the beginning of the series.