Meet Cute Club – A Gay Romance at a Book Club

I’m trying to broaden my horizon regarding the books I read. Almost all of my romances have been m/f not because that’s what I necessarily enjoy reading, but it’s the most common type of romance. After browsing through Goodreads, I stumbled upon Meet Cute Club, a gay romance with a Southern small-town setting. While I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, I do like to save my romance TBR for February. Meet Cute Club was a short, gay romance with an added discussion of masculinity.

Jordan Collins adores romance books! He runs the Meet Cute Club where everyone sits and has baked goods and discusses romance books. As he’s shopping for books, he meets Rex Bailey who’s snarky and doesn’t understand Jordan’s passion for reading romance novels. Rex surprisingly shows up at Meet Cute Club and begins to help Jordan grow the club. Romance and a steamy hookup ensue leaving Jordan and Rex in a daze about whether they belong together.

As far as the actual romance, Jordan and Rex are perfect together! I was rooting for them as I think they balance each other out. Jordan is passionate about his love for romance and breaks down Rex’s hard exterior. Rex grew up from a tumultuous family background with his philandering father which causes him to be a bit stubborn about the idea of love. I thought these two had great chemistry together.

Meet Cute Club centers upon Jordan and Rex’s relationship along with a dialogue regarding masculinity. In some ways, Jordan defies masculine stereotypes and has been bullied. Jordan felt pressure at a young age to sign up for sports even though all Jordan wanted was to read romance. Although Rex appears as the “stereotypical masculine man”, but even he abandoned some of this to show Jordan that he loved him. I thought at the core of this story was this discussion of masculinity and how men don’t have as much freedom to explore various hobbies or interests that women do.

I thought the writing of this book was a bit jarring. The author tends to change the POV in the same paragraph. I ended up having to re-read sections of the book because I was confused as to what POV was being referenced. I wish there was more separation between Jordan and Rex with a page break than switching between them in the same paragraph. Besides the writing, Meet Cute Club is a short book. At only 229 pages, I wish it would have been longer. The “fight” that caused Jordan and Rex to break up felt abrupt as it seemed like they were doing well until they weren’t. I wish there was more build-up there. I like my romance books to have more build-up, so when the central couple fights, it feels gut-wrenching. Since this book was shorter, I didn’t have any time to feel upset that they broke up before they got back together.

Meet Cute Club was a jovial read as I was genuinely rooting for Jordan and Rex to get together. However, the way this book was written and the length of the book hindered my reading experience. I’m hesitant to continue in the series as I’m still unsure if I’m a fan of the author’s writing style. I rated Meet Cute Club as 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 on Goodreads.

The Vision Complete Collection

Every Friday has been devoted to watching the latest episode of WandaVision. Me and my fiance have been hooked as each episode reveals a piece of the story leading to Wanda and Vision’s life in their sitcom. Since I’m loving the show, I wanted to find more comics that detail Vision and Wanda’s love story. After reading Bookidote’s review of The Vision Collection, I ended up purchasing my copy. The Vision Collection was written by Tom King supposedly inspired aspects of the show on Disney+. The Vision Collection is an engaging albeit dark take on Vision’s life.

Vision is lonely. He was with Scarlet Witch and they had a falling out. As a result, Vision created his wife Virginia, and two kids Vin and Viv. Vision’s family certainly looks like him with pink skin, bright green hair, and the yellow stone on their forehead. The Vision family even adopted a robot dog! On the outside, they had a house in the DC suburbs, Vision was still an Avenger, and all was well, or was it?

The story was captivating! Tom King does such an amazing job painting Vision as someone with more depth. It’s easy to pass him off as being a robot, however, King can craft Vision as someone to sympathize with even though he’s not human. Vision has trouble relating to human emotions, yet he crafts this family because he wants the human experience. He wants to be above what he was created for by Ultron and while working with the Avengers satisfies this need, Vision wants more. I appreciated the darkness in the story. Certain events happen to the Vision family that Vision has to cover up. This graphic novel felt like reading a version of WandaVision except Vision is the star. I kept reading Vision’s dialogue with Paul Bettany’s voice in my head which fits the character.

The art is phenomenal. I like the greens and pinks of Vision’s colors mixed with the panels. The covers of each issue gave off this eery foreboding of something amiss in the suburbs of DC. One cover features a floating mailbox saying “The Visions” in cursive. There’s something about the cover that gives me chills. Their house is in the background and it’s slightly blurred. I think it says a lot about the art of a graphic novel if I’m sitting and staring at the cover analyzing why this cover is drawn the way it is.

Before the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I didn’t think much of Vision. He didn’t stand out to me. After watching WandaVision, and reading The Vision Collection, I understand how complex Vision is. This is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. I never considered Vision to be an interesting character, however, this novel made me think otherwise. I will say this novel doesn’t feature Scarlet Witch as much as I would have liked since the focus is on Vision. I rated The Vision Collection by Tom King five stars on Goodreads.

It – Which Loser Am I?

Towards the end of last month, I FINALLY finished reading It by Stephen King. I started reading It back in October to get in the mood for Halloween. I ended up putting It aside to read a couple of other books on my TBR. When 2021 arrived, I set a personal mission to finish It. I felt if I couldn’t finish It by the end of last month, I would give up. I was debating whether or not I wanted to write a review of the book. Instead, I decided to take Buzzfeed’s quiz to see which of the “Losers” I am. I thought this would be more fun than trying to write a review for a book that’s almost 1,200 pages.

Image from Pixabay images.

Buzzfeed’s Which Member of the Losers’ Club from It.

Choose a Dog Breed

I picked a Corgi because they are derpy. However, if I were to ever adopt a dog, I would want to rescue a mutt.

Pick an Iconic Song from the ’80s

I Wanna Dance With Somebody was the song I picked. I’m partial to this song because I used it to teach an ’80s themed workout class at the YMCA for my internship in college.

What’s Something You’re Not Afraid Of.

Blood. I have never felt faint at the sight of blood. It simply doesn’t faze me.

How Do You Love to Spend Your Holidays?

I was debating between reading or playing video games as both of those options are what I like to do with my extended free time. I chose reading because I have been doing a lot more reading than gaming lately.

Pick a Classic ’80s film

All of the movie choices provided weren’t movies I’m drawn to. I decided to pick The Shining.

Pick a School Subject

Science! I found whenever I had electives in high school, I ended up picking science courses.

Choose a Clothing Item

Sweaters. I live in Minnesota. As I’m typing this blog post, the wind chill is negative 20 outside.

Which of Its Forms Would You Rather Face?

Alvin Marsh was the option I chose. I chose Alvin because he was a character I hated. I would be more likely to win in a battle over someone I hate versus one of my greatest fears.

What Would You Take to The Ritual of Chud?

I picked Something Reminding Me of Family. It is such a dark, desolate creature. For me to feel empowered to defeat It, I would have to bring something full of love. I chose something from my family because my family is important to me.

Choose an Item from The Films

Mike’s Stun Gun. Having a weapon on me would give me a solid footing in being able to defeat It.

Where in Derry Would You Like to Visit?

I picked the Derry Town Library. Libraries are beautiful places. They are quiet and I would be able to settle with a book and not be disturbed.

After taking the Buzzfeed quiz, I got Stanley Uris! Noooooooooooo Stanley doesn’t even survive till the end. The reason I got Stanley was that I like quiet places and I’m constantly rolling my eyes at my friends. If I had to pick a favorite “Loser” I think it would be Mike Hanlon. Mike is someone who likes the quieter things in life. He works at the Derry library, he chronicles Derry’s history and he’s the one who got the Losers together when It returned. He also stands up to Henry Bowers on multiple occasions. He rose above adversity where I feel some of the other Losers weren’t able to do so.

I’m glad I read It. I ended up rating It three stars on Goodreads. I like how in-depth the book went into Derry and how the Losers bonded with each other. There were certain scenes I’m glad the movies left out because either they made no sense or they were unnecessarily sexual or violent. The book at times was confusing to follow and I’m still unsure as to what the Ritual of Chud is. For February, I’m going to be reading romance books which will be a nice change in genre for me.

King In Black & Jinny Hex – Comic Single Issues

Every week, I visit Hot Comics to collect my pulls. Before I pay for my comics, I tend to wander the comic shelves and pick up random issues to see if I would like the series. I picked up quite a bit throughout these weekly comic trips. While I still have a lot to read, I did get through a couple of issues and I’m loving what I picked up. Instead of doing a full review of every single issue, I’m going to describe the issue in one word. Additionally, I will share what I rated every single issue. I have been using Goodreads to track the single-issue comics I have been reading.

Black Cat #1 MacKay, Villa, and Reber

One Word: Sassy

This comic perfectly portrays Black Cat as she joins the King In Black Marvel crossover series. I loved this issue and I have added this to my pull list for however long King In Black lasts. I rated this issue five stars.

Gwenom vs. Carnage #1 McGuire, Flaviano, and Renzi

One Word: Unexpected

Gwen Stacy is swinging home from Empire State University when she’s attacked by Knull’s symbiote creatures. She ends up battling Carnage who is not who you would think it would be. I rated this issue four stars.

Jinny Hex Special Visaggio, Melnikov, Guerrero

One Word: Dauntless *I tried to use a new word here!*

Jinny Hex is related to Jonah Hex. She is a mechanic at a local autobody shop when her father stops by. Her father steals a supernatural item from her mother and Jinny won’t let that stand. Jinny and her friend, Lady Bird go on an adventure to stop her ruthless father. This is a one-shot which is so unfortunate because I loved this issue. I rated this issue five stars.

Let me know what comics you’re reading in the comments below. I want to grow my pull list!

Glitter Vipers

Content Warning: hate crimes, bigotry, assault, suicide, and violence (a content warning is listed on the graphic novel)

I have been backing many graphic novel based Kickstarter campaigns. It’s gotten to the point where I forget that I backed them. I received my copy of Glitter Vipers in the mail this month. When I received my package, I stared at it wondering what I had ordered. When I opened my package, I was reminded how in June of last year, I backed this vigilante, drag queen graphic novel. I read Glitter Vipers the same day I opened it from its packaging and it was a fun graphic novel to read.

Before I begin writing my review, I want to highlight that I have no intention of discussing the hate crime, suicide, or violence in this book. I only include the content warning because it’s listed on the back cover of the graphic novel, so I figured it’s important to mention.

Glitter Vipers tells the story of several LGBTQIA+ people as they form the group titled Glitter Vipers. The Glitter Vipers originally belonged to a support group where they could discuss their lives amongst their own community. Each member has faced some sort of harassment, violence or discrimination based on their orientation or identity. These members are sick and tired of their circumstances, so they form their own vigilante group to stick up for their own which leads to them bringing down a hate group.

My first impression of Glitter Vipers is this bubblegum pop type graphic novel. I received stickers when I backed the campaign and they were shiny, pink with a punk twist. Paging through Glitter Vipers, the art is bright when it needs to be and dark when the story goes into a darker tone. The art itself was a huge positive for me.

On another positive note, I appreciate the way Ms. Fletcher is written. Ms. Fletcher is the villain of the story. There’s a comment she makes when she’s giving a public speech that echos almost word for word some of the comments J.K. Rowling has made about trans people. I’m sure this was intentional, but I read it and immediately this popped into my mind. The idea of a “Ms. Fletcher” type character in our society is spot on.

While I did enjoy reading Glitter Vipers, there were a couple of things I wished for. Glitter Vipers is extremely short. This novel is roughly 60 pages. I wish there was more background given for some of the characters. I felt Queenie, Cal, Mel, and Bri weren’t given enough development. I would have liked to know more about them.

Additionally, I wish there was a listing of the character’s pronouns with the character art. I can deduce which characters use which pronouns, but it’s not listed. For example, I believe Queenie is non-binary, so is it safe to assume they use they/them pronouns?? There are images in the back of the graphic novel with the pre-sketches to the characters, and I think it would have been a nice touch to list their pronouns.

I loved reading Glitter Vipers! I loved the art and the overall style of the graphic novel. I hope a sequel is eventually released. My main complaints with this graphic novel are the lack of character background and how the graphic novel is short. I want to know everything and anything about all the characters. If you missed the Kickstarter, Glitter Vipers can be purchased from Joe Glass’s online store. Joe Glass can be found on Twitter @JosephGlass

Starting a Comics Pull List

I have always wanted to start a comics pull list. I started reading comics in college, however, I wasn’t particularly fond of the comic book store in my college town. This meant starting a pull list back in Minneapolis wasn’t feasible since I wasn’t driving home consistently. Once I moved to the cities, I struggled to find a weekly comic series. I found reading trades easier than comic issues. Now, I have found at least a couple of series I’m trying to read weekly, so it made sense to finally start a pull list. I’m excited to be able to support a local comic book store weekly and get new comics! Wednesdays will have meaning for me again.

I started my pull list at Hot Comics and Collectibles. Hot Comics recently moved to a new store location in Minneapolis. It’s a quaint little shop, and it gives off a cozy vibe whenever I stop by. Hot Comics has three retail locations with two of these locations being within reasonable driving distance from my apartment. When I knew I wanted to start a pull list, I wanted a comic book store close by me. This would be a place I would drive to weekly to pick up my comics and nothing is worse than dreading a long car ride. The winter season in Minnesota makes winter driving unpredictable, and I’d hate to not be able to pick up my comics because of poor driving conditions.

So what’s on my pull list? At the moment, I have three titles on there so far. If you have kept up with my posts, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as to what’s on my pull list. First, I have Finger Guns. Finger Guns is such a fun comic series. I’m all caught up on the story, so now I’m waiting for issue #6 to release. Besides Finger Guns, I have the latest Doctor Aphra series on my pull list. The new Doctor Aphra series made me a fan of the character and her adventuring team. Finally, I have King in Black on my pull list. King in Black is the Avengers / X-Men crossover with Knull, the god of the Venom symbiote invading Earth. I haven’t been reading Donny Cates Venom series which supposedely leads up to King in Black. I never felt lost reading King in Black because the story is clear and easy to understand.

Despite having a pull list, I will read trade paperbacks. There are certain series I started way too late where I don’t think I will ever catch up to the current weekly comics. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with reading comics to have the confidence to begin a pull list. I’m happy to begin my pull list and add more titles. Let me know if you have a pull list and where your pull list is in the comments below.

2020 End of Year Book Survey

Holidays are over, and it’s time for me to recap my reading year. I always use Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Survey. At this point, I have read 61 books in 2020. I have blown past my original reading goal of 50. This is the highest recorded reading year ever since I started using Goodreads. Being in Quarantine, I found myself ordering more books, comics, graphic novels, and manga to read. I wanted to support my local businesses to ensure they remained open. Here are my answers:

**2020 Reading Stats**

Number of Books Read: 61

Number of Re-Reads: 2. To improve on my re-reads for 2021, I pulled specific books off my shelf and created a separate pile of books I want to re-read. Last year, I re-read the Harry Potter series, so my number for this was higher.

Genre You Read the Most From: Comics / Graphic Novels. I read more single issues this year than last year. I also read more romance this year.

1. Best Book in 2020

Final Girls by Riley Sager is the best book I read in 2020. This book took me on a trip. I didn’t know what was happening until the last few pages. Everything about the premise of this book is built on a plot twist. Reading Final Girls is similar to watching a slasher film. I’m a big fan of Halloween and Scream. Final Girls feels like an ode to these movies. I want to re-read this in 2021 to see if I can pick up any foreshadowing I missed during my initial first reading.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren had potential. It was a romance story taking place at a log cabin in Utah. However, I didn’t end up buying into the romance. I felt the romance between the two main characters wasn’t developed enough. By the end of the book, I wasn’t rooting for them as a couple. I felt certain characters weren’t written well which is a shame. I wish I would have liked this more. If you’re into cheesy, Hallmark movies, I bet you would have liked this more than me.

3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

I picked War of the Spark Ravnica by Greg Weisman. I have never read a Magic: The Gathering book coinciding with the release of a set. However, I’m a fan of Greg Weisman especially with his work on Young Justice. I wasn’t expecting anything while reading this book. I don’t know a whole lot revolving around the planes of Magic. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It’s not rated high on Goodreads, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

4. Best Series You Started in 2020?

The Athena Protocol is a sapphic, young adult, super-agent series. It’s the female version of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. I used to read the Alex Rider books in middle school. I have the sequel, The Shadow Mission on my 2021 to-be-read pile and I can’t wait to start it.

5. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read?

Berserk Volume #1 by Kentaro Miura. I’m struggling to find Manga I’m genuinely interested in. So far, I have read Sailor Moon, Ghost in the Shell, and My Hero Academia. I tried to get into Attack on Titan, unfortunately, I only got through the first volume. I’m discovering I like grittier manga versus the light-hearted, bubblegum manga. My Hero Academia and Sailor Moon are the exceptions to this. My brother let me borrow Berserk. This series is gory, violent, and bonkers. I’m into it. My brother loaned me volumes 2 – 4. I’m curious where the series will go.

6. Book You Read in 2020 That You Would Be Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?

Final Girls. I alluded to this earlier. I want to see if there’s any foreshadowing for the plot twists that I missed from my first reading.

7. Most Memorable Character of 2020?

Delia from Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was my favorite book character of 2020. I wanted to go into the book and hug her. Delia reminds me of me when I was her age. She’s snarky, insecure, and afraid of the future. There’s a scene where Delia is meets her dad who left her at a young age. I couldn’t stop crying while reading. It’s heartbreaking. This book is a mess at times, but Delia was one of the highlights of this book.

8. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2020?

Reading Body Positive Power, I’m trying to be kinder to my body. Megan Jayne Crabbe breaks down various fad diets, how our culture impacts beauty, and how being fat in our society is demonized. I wouldn’t say I agreed with everything Megan stated in this book, but it’s a book I would recommend anyone with a previous history of body dysmorphia to read.

9. OTP Of the Year (One True Pairing)

Stella and Michael are my everything. Michael sees Stella as being the independent woman she is. Stella likes how Michael doesn’t control her and lets her be. These two are so cute together.

10. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year?

Wes and Sadie from Finger Guns have such a wonderful friendship. There isn’t anything romantic about their relationship and while they come from different family backgrounds, they want to support each other whenever they can.

11. Book That Made You Cry in 2020?

Waves is such a touching graphic novel. This details the story of a young, lesbian couple trying to have a baby. Unfortunately, they do suffer from a miscarriage. This novel highlights the pain the couple goes through as they try to move on from this tragic event. I couldn’t stop crying. I plan on re-reading this when I’m older especially if I reach a point in my life where I’m trying for a baby.

1. New Favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube Channel

Riley Marie is a booktuber I started watching in 2020. She picks her to-be-read books for the month by pulling out a prompt from her Stormtrooper mug. Riley is fun, engaging, and her book interests align with mine. She posts videos at least twice a week, so there’s always book content for me to watch. I highly recommend her channel.

2. Favorite Post of 2020

My favorite book post I wrote this year was Pumpkinheads and the ABC’s of Fall. I read Pumpkinheads by Faith Erin Hicks and Rainbow Rowell. Even though I read this graphic novel in February, I was still hyped for Fall. I wrote an ABC’s of my favorite words coordinating with Fall. I like how the post came together.

3. Favorite Bookish Photo of 2020

My fiance took this photo of me while visiting Traverse City, Michigan. There were so many bookstores! I spent $90 on books because why not???? Before taking this photo, I dropped my bag of books because it was heavy.

4. Did You Complete Any Reading Challenges or Goals That You Had Set for Yourself at the Beginning of the Year?

I surpassed my original goal of 50 books to 61. I’m impressed with myself!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To in 2020 But Will Be Your Number #1 Priority in 2021?

I’m reading It by Stephen King. I was planning on finishing this book by the end of the year, but it didn’t happen. I’m going to ensure that I finish this book in 2021.

2. Series Ending / A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

I’m anticipating two sequels. The first is The Shadow Mission by Shamim Sarif. This is the sequel to The Athena Protocol. The second sequel is A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty. This is a mystery series set in Savannah, GA. Harper McClain is a crime reporter who’s called to a murder scene that strangely resembles the murder of her mother when she’s young. The first book didn’t answer what happened to Harper’s mom much to my shock. I’m hoping the sequel will give me some answers.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading / Blogging Life in 2021?

I’m not setting high expectations. I started a comics pull list for the first time, so I’m excited to read comics this way. I received a book gift card from my fiance for the Holidays, so I’m curious what I will spend it on. Finally, I want to re-read a couple of books I pulled off my shelf. I’m hoping life will get back to normal in 2021.

This post turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it was going to be. I guess that’s what happens when I read more in 2020. I did link the Perpetual Page Turner book prompt in the first paragraph, so feel free to write your own post. If you do, make sure to give Perpetual Page Turner credit along with posting your link in my comments section!

Star Wars & Dragons – Comic Reviews

My pile of comics I wanted to review has been stacking up. Last weekend, I stopped by my local comic book store to refill my comics. It’s close to the end of the year which motivates me to read faster to meet my Goodreads goal. I have two paperbacks, and three individual comic issues to review. Per the title of this post, there is a Star Wars comic along with a paperback featuring dragons. I’m going to start with the trade paperbacks.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Tea Dragon Society Book Cover

The Tea Dragon Society was more of a picture book than a graphic novel. The Tea Dragon Society features a mystical world where tea leaves are created by Tea Dragons. Each Tea Dragon creates a different tea leaf. Greta rescues a Tea Dragon from being maimed by a predator. She takes the Tea Dragon to Hesekiel who runs the local tea shop outside of town. Hesekiel teaches Greta over the course of a year how to care for these Tea Dragons.

Look how cute the Rooibos and Chamomile dragons are!

The art is light and refreshing. Each part of the book tells Greta’s story throughout all four seasons. I thought the Winter art was beautiful. It showed Hesekiel’s cabin lightly dusted with snow and gentle flakes flowing to the ground. The tea dragons themselves are adorable! In the back of The Tea Dragon Society, it shows the different breeds of the tea dragons and how to care for them. The Rooibos Tea Dragon looks like a baby dinosaur while the Chamomile Tea Dragon looks like a baby yellow bunny.

I loved this book. The Tea Dragons were adorable, the story was positive and overall the story had great messaging. I want to save this book for my future children to read to them. As mentioned, this is more of a picture book than a graphic novel, however, I think adults can enjoy this story as much as kids. I rated Tea Dragon Society five stars on Goodreads.

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

There’s a rumor of a witch living on the outskirts of town. Snap (full-name Snapdragon) finds her lost dog on the witch’s property. Jacks is the “witch” who Snap meets at the beginning of the graphic novel. Snap helps Jacks pick up roadkill, so Jacks can sell the put together bones online. This fascinates Snap and she becomes interested in the generic anatomy of different types of woodland creatures. As Snap and Jacks build a friendship, Snap realizes Jacks may actually possess magical abilities and Snap starts to become aware of the world around her.

Snap is a delightful main character. She’s proud of the person she is and has no shame. I like the scenes of Snap analyzing the animal bones because it introduces Snap to science. Snap’s best friend, Lu, is experimenting with their identity. There is a lot of LGBTQIA+ representation in this book which is seen in Lu and other characters. I’m all for representation as I want to read diverse stories. Snapdragon is one such story.

Snapdragon is a quirky, slightly weird fun tale about acceptance. I rated Snapdragon four stars on Goodreads.

Doctor Aphra Issue #2 Wong, Cresta and Rosenberg

Doctor Aphra & her team are aboard their ship after the shootout from the last issue. Ronan Tagge contacts them offering a deal, however, their team doesn’t take it. They fly to a new location in their search for the Rings of Vaale and chaos ensues. I like Ronan Tagge as a villain. Any person who does business on Canto Bight is shady. In this issue, we find out more about Aphra’s past as she did business with Ronan. I thought this issue carried the story and I’m interested to keep reading. I rated DoctorAphra issue #2 five stars on Goodreads.

Finger Guns Issue #1 & #2 Richards, Halvorson, Nalty and Esposito

Finger Guns follows two kids, Wes and Sadie. Wes is goofing around and points finger guns at random people. To his surprise, he can change the emotions of the recipients of his finger guns. Wes discovers Sadie can do this too. They discuss what their “power” is and why it takes the form of finger guns. I like the concept of this series. I’m curious as to how this series will go. Is their power genetic? Is it completely random? I rated Finger Guns both issues four stars on Goodreads.

This was a much longer review post than I anticipated. Let me know what graphic novels or comics you have read recently.

Carrie Fisher & Female Secret Agents – Recently Read Books

It’s been four years since Carrie Fisher has passed away. Isn’t it unreal how time passes? I remember hearing the news and feeling a sense of shock. I never met Carrie in real life, although she had a way of making you feel like she would have been your best friend. She cared about Star Wars fans while being a champion for mental illness. I finally read her memoir The Princess Diarist along with another female-centered book and I wanted to combine them into one post.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

This is the book most well known for discussing Carrie’s intimate relationship with Harrison Ford. This memoir is so much more than discussing an on-set relationship. Carrie talks about her audition for the part. Interestingly enough, Carrie auditioned for both George Lucas and Brian DePalma who was looking for the leading part in his Stephen King adaptation to Carrie. Carrie discusses how she was supposed to lose weight for her role as Princess Leia and how the role impacted her as she aged.

Carrie walks a fine line while discussing her relationship with Harrison. The description is delicate. She’s able to discuss her relationship with him without revealing everything especially since Harrison himself is extremely private. The way she describes their interactions sounds like Harrison. She also states, “How I’ve portrayed Harrison is how Harrison was with me forty years ago.” She’s able to tell this story without the bullshit and also recognizes how Harrison isn’t necessarily the same person while he was with Carrie. I think this line shows the tact and professionalism Carrie exhibits when she wrote this memoir.

Another part of the memoir I enjoyed was how Carrie discussed her fame from the saga. Carrie details some of the offensive interactions with fans as they talk about how Carrie’s body changed and how she aged since her role. Carrie respects the fans along with herself and how she won’t put up with that behavior. She talks about how exhausting it was to sign autographs while not making a huge profit off of it either. As fans, we need to respect the actors who work on the series and how they are people, just like us.

Carrie Fisher was a national treasure. She will be missed forever. I would recommend this memoir if you’re a Star Wars fan and simply miss Carrie’s presence in the fandom. I rated The Princess Diarist four stars on Goodreads.

The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

The Athena Protocol is a sapphic, young adult spy adventure novel. The Athena Protocol follows an organization titled Athena which is an all female based spy organization. They work outside their global governments to deliver justice and deconstruct corruption in various countries. The agents are well trained to handle the challenging environments they’re thrown into.

The Athena Protocol follows Jessie Archer as she’s on a mission in an African village. Her mission is to rescue women who have been kidnapped. She witnesses violence against these women and ultimately kills the man responsible. Athena has one rule, no killing. Jessie is fired and left out of a major operation happening in Belgrade. Jessie decides to work alone and flies to Belgrade to assist her team without their knowledge. Stakes are at an all-time high as Jessie uncovers new information which may jeopardize the safety of her fellow agents. Jessie is in danger and she’s alone.

One series I read a lot when I was younger was the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz starring Alex Rider, a young kid working for MI6. The Athena Protocol is this series, however, women are leading the front. Each Athena agent is given some back story. Jessie was recruited to this organization by her mother. Caitlin is a Southern belle who went to war in Afghanistan. Hala was seeking asylum in the UK and was recruited by Jessie. There’s diversity amongst all the women in Athena. I’m all for including diversity with characters in media.

The action sequences were well written and made me anxious for the characters. Jessie is put into some intense situations at her young age. The last thirty pages were intense to read. It’s surprising to me because The Athena Protocol is only 295 pages. It’s difficult to combine all the action, character development, and descriptions of the Athena group and have it all work together. Shamim Sarif, the author of The Athena Protocol is incredibly skilled at creating this world.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. According to Goodreads, I finished this book within two days of starting it. The second book to the series is out now and I’m going to ensure I order it on my next book haul. I rated The Athena Protocol five stars on Goodreads.

I hit my 2020 reading goal on Goodreads today! I still have a couple of books I want to finish before the end of the year. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spooky Themed Graphic Novel Reviews

It’s halfway through October already! Minnesota had its first snowfall last week which was way too early. The snow has already melted and we are back to the orange and red hues of fall. I have been trying to read all the horror and creepy books and graphic novels on my shelf. Here are my most recent graphic novel spooky reads.

For Goodness Sake Vol #1. Picture taken by me.

For Goodness Sake Volume #1 by K Lynn Smith

Rayne Waters is a self-proclaimed hippie. She lives on a decked-out school bus as she drives around the US. While driving, she meets Thatcher who could be a relative of Satan. His skin is red and his horns are long enough to curl behind his ears. Thatcher was put under a curse with no memory of how he turned out this way. Rayne invites Thatcher on her bus as they cruise around the US while attempting to break Thatcher’s curse.

For Goodness Sake was a graphic novel entirely funded by Kickstarter. I bought K Lynn’s other graphic novel on Kickstarter Afterglow and I have been a fan of hers ever since. For Goodness Sake was delivered to me earlier this year and I saved it for the fall to read. I missed out on K Lynn’s Kickstarter for Volume #2 and I’m bummed.

For Goodness Sake was such an enjoyable read. Rayne and Thatcher have genuine chemistry together. One of the characters in the book is on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and the way their identity is discussed is respectful of the community. In this short volume, I felt I got to know Rayne’s backstory and what compelled her to deck out a school bus. K Lynn’s art has such a unique style to it. Whenever I read one of her books, I can immediately identify her art.

I could write endless paragraphs about the first volume of For Goodness Sake. The first volume can be found on K Lynn’s website. I rated For Goodness Sake five stars on Goodreads.

Cult Classic Volume #1

Cult Classic Return to Whisper Volume #1 Rahal, Cunha, Cunniffe-Wright, Esposito, and Koh.

Childhood friends Wyatt, Dwayne, Andrew, Malcolm, Bobbi, Aubrey, Sparrow, and Cage meet in their treehouse to watch Cult Classic a local horror TV show. From the show, the kids decide to steal a journal belonging to James Benjamin Vance, the founder of Whisper. The journal supposedly shows where the hidden treasure is buried in Whisper. This story is balanced by jumps into the future as it shows the kids as adults returning to Whisper to attend the funeral of their friend.

Cult Classic Return to Whisper suffers from trying to introduce too many characters. I could barely follow all the characters and keep their backstories straight. There were a few characters I barely knew anything about, so why should I care what happens to them? The story itself wasn’t told as clearly as I had hoped. I’m still wondering what exactly happened to some of the characters as a curse may have impacted the characters.

If I were to describe Cult Classic, it reminds me of Stephen King’s It meets Goosebumps although it’s nowhere near as good. Cult Classic wasn’t the strongest first volume of the series. This is a book I would have preferred renting from the library versus owning. I rated Cult Classic Return to Whisper three stars on Goodreads.

Joker 80th Anniversary! Picture taken by me.

The Joker 80’s Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular #1

“Mariah, this isn’t a spooky read???” Yes, I’m aware this is more generic comic book reading than Halloween themed. However, Joker is one of the most notorious villains of all time, and the way Joker torments his victims could be on the creepy and ominous theme of this post, so I included this novel in this review.

The Joker was first introduced into comics in July of 1942 as an enemy for both Batman and Robin to fight against. In this 80th anniversary edition, this novel shows past covers featuring the Joker along with a compilation of various stories. One of the stories features Punchline, the Joker’s new girlfriend. While I detest Punchline’s name, I like her purple punk Roller Derby outfit. I’m intrigued by how Punchline will be involved in the newer runs of DC Comics.

As a fan of DC Comics, I thought this was a fascinating read. I liked looking at the older comic covers. It reminded me how Joker has influenced Batman and his trauma. The assault of Barbara Gordon along with the murder of Robin, Joker is one of Batman’s most threatening villains. I rated Joker 80th Anniversary four stars on Goodreads.

There are only 11 days left till Halloween and I hope you all are enjoying this spooky quarantine season.