goodreads: (Default)
Title: Something New
Author: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Graphic memoir
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 292 pages
Date read: June, 2017

A funny and whip-smart new book about the institution of marriage in America told through the lens of her recent engagement and wedding…. The graphic novel tackles the all-too-common wedding issues that go along with being a modern woman: feminism, expectations, getting knocked over the head with gender stereotypes, family drama, and overall wedding chaos and confusion.


My sister is all kinds of awesome and got me this as a "just because" present :-D

It totally lived up to my expectations, and I found myself choking up on more than one occasion. I'm really glad my wedding was a lot simpler though! I don't blame Lucy for getting stressed out by all the things she had to get sorted.

A very feel-good memoir that will have a lot of good advice for a bride-to-be and which can't help but make those already married think back fondly on their own wedding :-)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: French Milk
Author: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 194
Date read: October, 2016

Through delightful drawings, photographs, and musings, twenty-three-year-old Lucy Knisley documents a six-week trip she and her mother took to Paris when each was facing a milestone birthday. With a quirky flat in the fifth arrondissement as their home base, they set out to explore all the city has to offer, watching fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve, visiting Oscar Wilde's grave, loafing at cafés, and, of course, drinking delicious French milk.


I love these graphic memoirs :-) This is basically just Lucy's journal entries from the 6 weeks she spent in Paris around her 22nd birthday, but it still worked for me. It's filled with anecdotes and fun facts about their rented apartment - in no way deep or intellectual, but an honest account of a sometimes-great-sometimes-not vacation. Other readers have mentioned that she complains too much, but I think to me that's part of its charm... well, not the complaining, but the honesty of it. It's her journal - it's not dressed up in any way (I don't even think it was meant for publication originally), it's just what she did and thought during this trip.

I enjoyed it, but if reading a somewhat superficial account (it does have loads of pictures of what they ate and shopped for while in Paris) isn't your cup of tea, you're probably better off picking up one of her other memoirs instead. "Relish" and "An Age of License" are my two favourites.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Fun Family
Author: Benjamin Frisch
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: 1/5
# pages: 240
Date read: May, 2016

Beloved cartoonist Robert Fun has earned a devoted following for his circle-shaped newspaper comic strip, celebrating the wholesome American family by drawing inspiration from his real home life... but the Fun Family bears some dark secrets. As their idyllic world collapses and the kids are forced to pick up the pieces, can they escape the cycle of art imitating life imitating art?


I received this book as an ARC in return for an honest review.

Let's get the good stuff out of the way first - I liked the style of the drawings in this, even if it did get difficult to tell Mike and Robby apart at times, and the mother's face had a weird shape.

There. That was it.

There was literally nothing I enjoyed about this comic. I kept reading it, under the assumption that it just HAD to get better eventually... but it never did. Instead it ended on an extreme low, that just made me push the book away in disgust.

Full disclosure - I don't know Benjamin Frisch, and have no clue if the Fun family is based on a newspaper comic strip of some kind. If that's the case, I can see Benjamin Frisch getting so tired of his own story, that he felt the need to write a book about their life going to hell in a hand basket, in order to get some sort of therapeutic release. That would make sense, and that would make the book make sense. It wouldn't make it any more enjoyable, but at least I'd understand what he was trying to do.

Instead what I got was a book full of dysfunctional adults and only marginally less dysfunctional kids. Until the very end, I'd sort of expected that the grandmother's ghost would help the family get back on their feet again, but instead she just introduced a whole new level of weirdness into their lives.

The parents were the worst though. They kept making bad decision after bad decision, leaving the kids to bear the brunt of it and pick up the pieces. I wanted to kick some sense into both the mother and father, for them to wake up and take responsibility already!

A deeply unpleasant book that I wouldn't recommend to anybody.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: I Hate Fairyland: Madly Ever After
Author: Skottie Young
Genre: graphic novel
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 128
Date read: May, 2016

Follow Gert, a forty year old woman stuck in a six year olds body who has been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for nearly thirty years. Join her and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND.


This was... extraordinarily weird! Not necessarily bad-weird, but totally unexpected. I read most of it with my eyebrows up and my jaw down, wondering how on earth I had entered this surreal universe.

The drawings were great - although perhaps slightly too detailed at times, which could get slightly gross. The plot pretty unique, and the main character unusually unpleasant. This is definitely not a comic I'd hand to a girl who likes princesses - but very possibly to a boy who likes the unconventional.

Really not what I had expected, and as such, I have a bit of a hard time figuring out what I think of it, but at the end of the day - I think I like it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Camp Midnight
Author: Steven T. Seagle
Genre: Graphic novel
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 248
Date read: May, 2016

Reluctant Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong summer camp. Not wanting to please her "step monster," Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. That won't be a problem, as everyone at Camp Midnight (with the exception of fellow camper and fast-friend Mia) is a full-fledged monster!


A fun, quick comic. I was slightly disturbed by the utter disinterest shown by the parents (well, mostly the step-monster I guess, but I also didn't like that a) camp was sprung on Skye as a surprise, and that they couldn't even remember the name of the camp).

Many of the twists I'd guessed ahead of time, but that really didn't matter here, as I don't think it was ever supposed to be suspenseful in that way. I had some questions left by the end of it (mostly concerning Mia), but all in all, I found it very enjoyable.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Take It As a Compliment
Author: Maria Stoian
Genre: graphic memoir
Rating:
# pages: 100
Date read: February 2016

Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir reflect real life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment.

Covering acts such as sexual violence, public sexual harassment, domestic abuse and child abuse, this is a reminder for survivors that they are not alone and a call for all of us to take action. The stories clearly show that assault of any type is not an honour bestowed on anyone. It is not a compliment.


I don't know how to rate this book. It seems completely inappropriate to set a star rating on it. It is an absolutely brilliant and powerful book. It is an incredibly heartbreaking and loosing-faith-in-humanity book.

But beyond all that, it is an important book. All the stories are so raw - so real. My jaw kept dropping at the horribleness of it all.

A trigger warning is in order. I'm fortunate enough that I've never experienced unwanted sexual attention or harrassment, but I know too many people who have, and am afraid that those women will find this book only too relatable.

But hopefully it will also vindicate them. Rape culture is a thing. Victim-shaming is a thing. We need to stand up and talk about it - let the victims know that we believe them, and that we will not stand for it.

"Take It As A Compliment" is a quick read, but not an easy one. I applaud all the people who let their voices be heard in this collection of graphic short stories. It can't have been easy, but it was necessary. So to all of you - thank you.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Manga Classics: Emma
Author: Jame Austen, Crystal Chan (editor), Stacy King (editor), Po Tse (illustrator)
Genre: graphic novel, classic
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 308
Date read: September, 2015

Fair disclaimer: While I absolutely love Jane Austen, and have no problems with graphic novels rewrites, I am not a huge fan of the manga style of drawing. It seems entirely too cutesy for me. However, that is personal opinion and definitely not an indication of the quality of the drawings. They were objectively very gorgeous and extremely detailed - even in the lower res of the ARC.

It is, of course, a very simplified and abridged version of Jane Austen's "Emma", but it stayed very true to the book, and as it's been awhile since I've read the original, I didn't find myself noticing any major changes, or even anything they'd left out. I've been wanting to reread "Emma" for quite awhile, but haven't really been able to make time for it, so this was the perfect compromise. ... even if I did keep comparing it to the movie, "Clueless" (dating myself here: it's one of my favourite teen movies :) ).

It was fun to read this different version of it, and it did come across as a true homage to the original. There can be no doubt that both the illustrator and the editor are big fans of the book.

Like with the Manga version of "Pride and Prejudice" I'd recommend this adaption without hesitation, but as an addition to reading the original - not as an alternative.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: De gale (The Crazy)
Author: Kim Fupz Aakeson
Genre: Dystopian, graphic novel
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 142
Date read: June, 2015

I rather liked the story - everybody above the age of 25 suddenly forget everything, and kids/young adults have to figure out how to survive in the resulting chaos. Dystopian / (post-)apocalyptic novels have always been right up my aisle.

Unfortunately, I didn't care for the illustrations at all. The style was (probably intentionally) blurry, to the point that it wasn't always completely clear what was happening, and many of the characters looked too much alike. The latter I could deal with, but the former is really not a good idea.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Displacement
Author: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Graphic memoir
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 161
Date read: June, 2015

Knisley volunteers to watch over her ailing grandparents on a cruise. In a book that is part graphic memoir, part travelogue, and part family history, Knisley not only tries to connect with her grandparents, but to reconcile their younger and older selves. She is aided in her quest by her grandfather s WWII memoir, which is excerpted. Readers will identify with Knisley s frustration, her fears, her compassion, and her attempts to come to terms with mortality, as she copes with the stress of travel complicated by her grandparents frailty.


Not as good as Lucy Knisley's other books, and certainly the saddest of the lot, as it focuses on Lucy's experience seeing her grandparents growing older and less competent. In that regard, I thought it an incredibly true and honest account.

Unfortunately it also made me incredibly frustrated on Lucy's behalf, and infuriated at how other people treated her and her grandparents - up to and including her own family!

Fortunately, there were also some really adorable moments - like when Lucy finally got her grandparents into the pool - and all in all I rather liked the book, and definitely want to read more of Lucy Knisley's work.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: An Age of License
Author: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Memoir, graphic non-fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 195
Date read: April 2015, April 2017

Midnight picnics at the Eiffel Tower; wine tastings paired with blowgun lessons; and romance in cafés, cemeteries, and at the Brandenberg Gate--these are just some of New York Times best-selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley's experiences on her 2011 European book tour. "An Age of License" is both a graphic travelogue and a journal of her trip abroad.


Ever since reading "Relish" I've known that I wanted to read more by Lucy Knisley. I finally got the chance, and I was not disappointed! In "An Age of License", Lucy travels around Europe, which means that I knew many places she visited (and many of the quirks she talked about), so that just added to the charm.

I love how Lucy obviously uses her drawings as a form of journaling. Being a journaler myself, this adds an element of relateability for me, as do the personal anecdotes she adds to her work. I'll definitely be on the lookout for her other books as well!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Coraline (graphic novel)
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 186
Date read: April, 2015

When Coraline steps through a door in her family's new house, she finds another house, strangely similar to her own (only better). At first, things seem marvelous. The food is better than at home, and the toy box is filled with fluttering wind-up angels and dinosaur skulls that crawl and rattle their teeth.

But there's another mother there and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and all the tools she can find if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.


Disclaimer: I've never read the original, but thought the graphic-novel version would be perfect for the read-a-thon. The drawings were gorgeous, but as usual I feel like I can take or leave Neil Gaiman as a story-teller... although that's perhaps not an entirely fair assessment, considering the medium, which did mean that it was at best a very superficial version of the story.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen, Stacy King & Po Tse
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 377
Date read: February, 2015

Fair disclaimer first: I don't usually read graphic novels (although I am starting to branch out), and in fact, this was my first manga ever. While I had no problems at all getting used to reading right-to-left, and appreciate that way of staying true to the media, I quickly realized that I am not a fan of these types of drawings. It seemed entirely too cutesy for me.

However, that is personal opinion and definitely not an indication of the quality of the drawings. They were objectively very gorgeous and extremely detailed - even in the lower res of the ARC.

It is, of course, a very simplified and abridged version of Jane Austen's masterpiece (as it would have to be - even at 377 pages!) which unfortunately emphasizes that the plot itself is rather silly and unrealistic, when not clothed in Jane Austen's amazing prose. I did catch myself in thinking, "Sheesh, really?" several times, but of course Po Tse and Stacy King couldn't change the plot, and everything was very true to the book... which makes me wonder if I'd find the book equally silly if I was to reread it now.

But silly or not, I do love P&P, and it was fun to read this different version of it, and it did come across as a true homage to the original. There can be no doubt that both the illustrator and the editor are big fans of the book.

I'd recommend it without hesitation, but as an addition to reading the original - not instead of doing so.

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