Graphic Novel Review: Mooncakes

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu (Artist)
Rating: 5 Stars
Series:  Standalone
Length: 259 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

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Book Review: You Asked For Perfect

You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 288 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

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Book Review: The Rise of Kyoshi

The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: The Kyoshi Novels, #1
Length: 442 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
F. C. Yee’s The Rise of Kyoshi delves into the story of Kyoshi, the Earth Kingdom–born Avatar. The longest-living Avatar in this beloved world’s history, Kyoshi established the brave and respected Kyoshi Warriors, but also founded the secretive Dai Li, which led to the corruption, decline, and fall of her own nation. The first of two novels based on Kyoshi, The Rise of Kyoshi maps her journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice who is still feared and admired centuries after she became the Avatar.

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Book Review #161 – History is All You Left Me

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Rating: 3 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 320 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

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Book Review #160 – The Devouring Gray

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: The Devouring Gray, #1
Length: 368 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

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Book Review #154 – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Montague Siblings, #1
Length: 520 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

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Book Review #151 – Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 432 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

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Graphic Novel Review #12 – Open Earth

Open Earth by Sarah Mirk, Eva Cabrera (Artist), Claudia Aguirre (Artist)
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 106 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis:
Rigo is a young woman of her time: specifically, the time just after the collapse of Earth. After living her whole life on a small space station orbiting the planet, the cultural norms and rules of her Californian parents are just history to her. In between work shifts at the station air farm, Rigo explores her own desires, developing openly polyamorous relationships with her friends and crewmates. When she starts to feel one of those relationships change, however, Rigo must balance her new feelings with the stability of her other relationships, as well as the hard-earned camaraderie of a small crew floating in the vastness of space. But, as the ship motto goes, “Honesty keeps us alive.”

A heartfelt, positive, and erotic look at one woman’s adventure in love and sex, as a new generation learns to make their own rules and follow their own hearts.

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Book Review #134 – What If It’s Us

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Rating: 5 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 437 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

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Book Review #131 – Beneath the Citadel

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria
Rating: 3 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 480 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis:
In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.
In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city

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