Monthly Review! July

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How was y’alls July? Mine was very eventful and not really in a great way. First we had a small kitchen fire where our stove caught on fire. Luckily there was no damage to the actual kitchen, just our stove. We had to get a new one which got delivered today, thank god. We’ve been without a stove/oven for a week. It wasn’t too bad though, we just cooked on our camp stove on the porch. Then two days later I ended up in the ER with kidney stones! And then it was my birthday on the 31st! Like I said, it was an eventful July. But everything has calmed down now and is all good. Now onto the books!

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One of the first books that I really loved last month was Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman. I wish this book had never ended! I loved the two main characters, Flo (a Latinx outlaw) and Grace (a transgender Army deserter), and their adventure to attend a Confederate gala to steal some secret Confederate plans. The artwork is very eye catching and was done very beautifully. The color palette was fantastic as well. It was all dusty roses, lovely oranges, gorgeous reds, and amazing landscapes. If you want to read a fun, gay heist book set in the wild, wild west then this one is one hundred percent for you! I will definitely be adding this to my personal collection when it is released. I only wish that it had been about three times as long. I wanted more of Grace and Flo’s super cute relationship! I really hope that there is more to this story at some point.

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The next book that I was really excited about is called The American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito: a Graphic Memoir by Shing Yin Khor. This was a fantastic book about a woman and her dog traveling on Route 66. I absolutely adored the artwork. It was a gorgeous water color style that really helped capture the feeling of traveling alone and kind of melancholy that can creep in sometimes. I also really loved all the weird and interesting landmarks that she stopped at and all of her friends that made appearances in the book. I really couldn’t find anything that I didn’t like about this book. This type of cross country drive is something that I have wanted to do as well so it was nice to see someone else do it. There were some good tips for camping in your car as well. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of travel log or road trip books.

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This next book was amazing! It is called Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis. Blurb from Goodreads: “When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.”

This was a fantastic book! The artwork was gorgeous and the story was fascinating as well. It was very well researched and had so many details! Although this is loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth by her sister, it still felt very realistic and true to life. I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of historical fiction type books. This one would be right up your alley!

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Next up we have Marie Curie: A Life of Discovery by Alice Milani. This was a fantastic book about Marie Curie’s life starting when she was a governess in Poland and continuing through her discoveries of radium and polonium all the way up to her death in 1934. This book is wonderfully researched and therefore felt very cohesive while I was reading it. I wasn’t totally sold on the artwork at first. I didn’t really like how the people were depicted but it grew on me the more I read. I loved how the architecture and the backgrounds of the panels were done though. If you are curious to know more about Marie Curie and her fascinating life then this is a fantastic book. I have read other books that are in this same vein and they were overly complicated and focused to much on the minute science rather than the person and their accomplishments. I would highly recommend this book; it was fascinating and very well done.

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Next up we have a graphic novel that I had been dying to read called Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki. Here is the Goodreads description: “Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.”

This was a fantastic graphic novel. I really enjoyed reading about Freddy and her questionable decisions. Honestly, she was a really crappy friend throughout the book and it was really nice to see her growth by the end of the story. This is a great high school slice of life type book so if that is something that you are into then this will be right up your alley.

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The next book that I read is volume two of Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga. This is the second book in the series and in this book we really get to go back and see how some of the characters got to where they are now. This is a fantastic volume where we explore the history of the Red Face Pox which is the disease that wiped out most of the male population. We also get to see how and why the most beautiful men and secreted away in the Shogun’s Inner Chamber. I will say that this is a book that I would definitely recommend for adults or older teens. This has explicit content and is something that would be more appropriate for an older audience.

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This next one is a comic book that I received as an ARC from work and I was really excited to read it. It is called Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot. I have read a lot of Meg Cabot’s work so I was very interested to read a comic book by her (illustrated by Cara McGee). I’ll start off with saying that I did like this but you need to go into it knowing that this book is geared towards younger kids. I hate when people read something for kids and go, “It’s not sophisticated enough blah blah blah” it’s for children you fools!! Keeping that in mind, I really liked this. It was a good introduction to the world of Black Canary without having so much backstory that it would be overwhelming. I liked the character of Dinah Lance and the story flowed really well. This is something that I would recommend to a kid that comes in and is looking for a comic book with a strong (but flawed) girl MC.

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This next book was the finale of one of my favorite manga series, Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura. I am so sad that this series is over! I loved all of the characters and the story and all of the ways that they grew and changed. I felt like this was a really great wrap-up to the series as a whole. One of the things that I really liked about this last volume was that not everything ended up perfectly. Not everyone ended up paired up and all their life’s problems fixed for them. There was also a preview at the end of the book for the author’s next series, Tokyo Tarareba Girls. All in all, I really enjoyed this series and I am so sad that it’s over! Although I have read the first volume of Tokyo Taraeba Girls and I really enjoyed that as well so hopefully that will be another great series.

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The next two books are from the same authors, Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin. The first one is i hate everyone but you and the sequel please send help. These two books are about bffs Ava and Gen.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?”

I tore through these two books. I had pre-ordered the first book back in December and was so excited when it arrived! I read it in about 2 days and immediately ordered the second book. It was a long two-day Amazon Prime wait until I got book two and then I read that one super fast too! I was so sad that the books were over. I really loved the characters and they reminded me a little bit of my long distance bff and I. I was also already familiar with the two authors before I read these books, having watched their YouTube channel for quite awhile now. I think because of that I was familiar with their humor and knew what to expect going into this experience. I’ve read a few other reviews saying that people don’t talk the way the two main characters do, and while some of the interactions feel like that, I felt that more often than not the characters felt realistic. I really liked these two books so very much and I hope that other people will give them a chance as well.

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This last book has a long title and it is called If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord by CHIROLU and illustrated by Hota. Here is the blurb from Goodreads: “While on a job, Dale–a young but accomplished adventurer–comes across a little demon girl all alone in the forest. Dale can’t bear to leave her there to die, so instead, he takes her home! Demon or not, Latina is beyond adorable, and it is not long before he finds himself head over heels with being her guardian. Can Dale handle the trials and tribulations of childcare and being an adventurer?”

This was such a cute little manga! I really liked all the characters and the story flowed nicely. I’m very excited to see what the next few volumes bring. This was a good start and I’m hopeful that the author will keep it up!

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That is it for this month! I hope you guys had a great month! Come say hi in the comments or on Twitter or Insta!

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