Comic Mini-Review: The Ghost, The Owl by Franco

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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Summary:On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren. What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together? Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be? What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, The Ghost, the Owl.

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★★★★

This was a stunning graphic novel with a simple but captivating plot about generosity and how much a single kind act can do.

The art is however what’s truly magnificent about it. It’s worth spending a good minute or two studying every detail of each page, or simply go back after you’ve finished the story and look at every page again to really absorb the amazing details. I’ve only read an e-copy but I would love owning the finished, physical product.

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Definitely get this if you’re looking for a graphic novel that’s not only good but also utterly beautiful. It would look stunning on a bookshelf.

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#T5W Rewind: Characters I’d Want as Family

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This month we’re free to choose whichever past topic so I went with an easy one from September 2016:

Characters You’d Want as Family
— You can say this in a broad way or be specific (i.e. _______ would be a cool aunt, ______would be a great older brother, etc.)

In (more or less) no particular order:

  • Laurent of Vere from the Captive Prince trilogy
  • Nico di Angelo from PJO and Heroes of Olympus (and The Trials of Apollo which I haven’t read yet)
  • Magnus Chase from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy
  • Kell and/or Rhy from the Shades of Magic trilogy
  • Liraz from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

Wow would you look at that! I definitely see no pattern at all! Not like I’ve wanted a brother my whole life or anything! Or that I relate to (on the surface) cold characters that secretly hide a lot of emotional turmoil inside! Or queer characters! Or any combination of these!

Anyway I know the prompt said they can be anything but I definitely want all of them as my siblings or cousins. I mean, even best friends will do really, but okay let’s play. Let’s see, I’d definitely want Laurent as my brother, Nico can be my adoptive brother, Magnus can be the queer cousin (I mean, are you really the gay cousin if every cousin is gay though?), Kell and Rhy (shhhh I know they’re two people but they can’t be separated okay) can be mmmm also my cousins? Or maybe they’re those friends you’ve had since you were all babies and you’re basically like siblings now. And Liraz can be my older sister because yes I’ve always wished I had a big bro but a sister would be really cool too and I love her.

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Which characters would you want as your family? And do you think they’d get along with each other

Book Rant: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Hardcore SJM fans need not engage, kindly move along without reading this review.

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Summary: The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we’d have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I’d now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs* My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.

*why is this book so bad starting from the blurb

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★✩✩✩

Me after finishing the book:

IM FREEEEEE!!!!!!!! WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY FUCKING LIFE

So let’s start by saying this book was almost entirely useless.Things this book has:

• lots of walking around Velaris
• shopping for presents
• lots of bad innuendos
• me physically rolling my eyes every two pages
• way too much internal monologue about who had fucked whom, where and in which position
• one really long and really cringy sex scene
• somehow galaxies were involved in the sex scene and that’s not even the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in a sjm sex scene
• mate mate mate mate mate m a t e ma te ma t e mat e m ate mAtE mATe MATE matE M a te
• “gentlemales”
• I repeat: g e n t l e m a l e s
• a few cute moments
• a few funny moments
• a tiny bit of actual fucking foundation for the next books

Basically Feyre and Rhys need to retire and let secondary characters finally have the spotlight.* The only POVs I genuinely enjoyed were Cassian’s and Nesta’s, which, surprise surprise, will be the focus of the next book. Fucking finally.
*except SJM has a talent for ruining main characters so what happens when secondary characters become the main ones? Uhhh we shall find out I guess.

Speaking more generally, this book was just mostly bad. I’m not only talking about the writing, which needed a lot of editing, but the general feeling surrounding it all. Starting from the blurb, which is just a few sentences from the first chapter copypasted together. People, the blurb doesn’t even make sense. That extra sentence about snow? It shouldn’t be there. They obviously needed one more sentence to make the blurb longer and didn’t know what else to pick. It’s just bad. Whoever did that did a very poor job. And that makes me angry.

Authors, even big ones, still have to fight hard to see their books picked up by publishers, be sold, and then be read and hyped by readers. But apparently that rule doesn’t apply to SJM. The publisher doesn’t even put any effort in pre-release things like writing a decent blurb, because they know her books are going to sell anyway. And I mean, I’m here writing this review because I’ve read this book despite swearing that I was done with this series after ACOWAR, because she has a talent for making you want to know what happens to the characters, even if (especially if) they’re not the main ones.

But the least the author and the publisher could do is put some fucking effort and deliver a product that’s better than this. Instead, it feels like either SJM is a rare case of writer who gets worse every book she writes, or the publisher has decided that she’s still going to sell regardless how many rounds of editing her books get, so they might as well never edit them, thus never delivering a polished book.

Because, folks, we might have started making fun of the word m*te for shits and giggles, but it’s become a big fucking problem, especially in this book. You know the writing advice that says to just use someone’s name when talking about them, instead of saying, idk, “the French girl,” or “the red-haired boy”? SJM has never heard of it. Think about your own internal monologue. Do you think of your spouse as “my spouse” all the time? Or do you simply think about them with their name?

Cassian and my mate’s sister did not speak to each other at all.


This sentence just does not flow. And it’s just one of about 70 times the word m*te was used (and keep in mind this is a 200 pages book). I wonder how many creative writing students failed their assignments for doing exactly what the most hyped YA fantasy author these days does constantly.

Do we also want to have The Talk about the weird connotations and implications that this word has? Oh boy, this conversation is about three years late, but I absolutely Do Not like all this animalistic shit, starting with m*te, moving on to how many times people purr, referring to people as males and females (ah, the good ol’ binary) (YES I FUCKING KNOW SHE CAN’T CALL THEM MEN AND WOMEN BUT JFC JUST STOP), to the weird possessiveness that the whole m*ting system entails. Also!!! Toxic masculinity!!!!!!! Weird unchallenged sexist comments!!!!! Trying to make Rhys sound soooo feminist when apparently his job is being horny 24/7!!!!!! Have Rhys (a literal sexual abuse victim) talk about how he can’t stand to be next to his m*te without, and I quote, BEING BURIED INSIDE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ohhhh now you’ve done it, you got me mad. If you read a SJM book it seems like thinking/talking/having sex for most part of your day is the normalcy. Which it can be!!!! But guess what! Ace people exist!!!! People with low sexual drive exist!!!!!!!!!! That’s normal too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no I’m using too many exclamation points let me hire an editor. When every single character you portray acts the same exact way towards something like sex, you’re telling your readers (mostly teens) that that’s what’s expected of them, that that’s how everyone is like. It’s no secret that diversity doesn’t exist in SJM’s world, and that involves how people view sex and romantic relationships too.

It’s amazing that YA books have sex positivity. But books need to also acknowledge that ace people exist too. Protagonists and love interests that aren’t some sort of sex gods need to be there too. Thin boys, fat boys, trans boys need to be there too. If after >10 books a writer can’t get out of her own self-insert fantasies about what type of men she likes, maybe she isn’t a great writer after all. Maybe she needs to listen to the (still too small) part of her readers that demand More, that demand Better.

I went on a HUGE tangent and I don’t even fucking care. There were parts of the book that I liked. I even enjoyed most of its central part. I enjoyed Nesta’s PTSD portrayal and she’s the only reason I’m going to read the next book because parts of her trauma and her way of dealing with it have the potential to mean so fucking much to me. But I’m going to lower my rating to 1 star because I’m tired of all the things I mentioned above, I’m tired of being treated like shit by an author and her team because they expect me to worship her when she doesn’t even try anymore. My 1 star isn’t even gonna change anything because everyone’s giving this the usual five stars, but I don’t care. I’m here and as a reader I demand better, I demand the bare fucking minimum, and I don’t think this book even tried.

April Wrap-Up

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If I thought that March felt long, BOY I should have waited to live through this April. Okay but talking about books only, at the beginning of April I was finally excited to read some of my ARCs after a full month of ARC ban. 6/14 of the books I’ve read this month are in fact ARCs! That sadly doesn’t even begin to cover the amount of them I still have to read.

Anyway, I also managed to read a few things I’d been planning to read for ages (like Wonder Woman: Warbringer) and some anticipated new releases (Leah on the Offbeat!!!), plus two excellent (and important) novels there were free on Riveted—The Nowhere Girls and All American Boys. Overall it was a good reading month, even though my life/mental health was a little bit all over the place.

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Heroes of Olympus #1—#3 by Rick Riordan: last month I listened to the whole PJO series and I loved it so much! So it was only right that I kept listening to the Riordan’s world. This series is different from PJO mainly because of the different POVs and I wouldn’t know which one I prefer, but it’s great to be able to be in different characters’ heads. These books are also longer than the PJO ones, which can be a little frustrating, especially when listening to the audiobooks, but I think quality-wise they’re much better and there’s so much character development.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed: this was amazing and empowering. It follows the lives of three girls who are the MCs and the founders of a group, the Nowhere Girls, meant to deal with the rape culture that directly affected their school. The best thing about this novel is how inclusive it is of all girls. There are chapters from different POVs than the three central characters, and they show girls of all different background/race/religion/sexuality etc etc. The three girls themselves are an autistic girl, a fat girl, and a queer Latina girl.

Fence #5 by C.S. Pacat: two words: AIDEN. SNAPPED.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli: THIS. WAS. SO. GOOD. It’s hard to talk about it without spoiling but basically it explores Leah’s bisexuality and it was everything I could have hoped for. Becky really manages to write relatable books that feel real and not like the author tried too much. It’s also great rep of a fat bisexual girl in a mainstream YA book featuring a main f/f romance and it’s going to mean so much to so many people, especially teens.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely: I can’t believe I’d never heard anything about this book before finding it for free on Riveted. Okay, it’s slightly older (from 2015), but it has the same importance of more recent books focusing on the same theme of police brutality. It follows two POVs, a black boy who is sent to the hospital after a cop beat the shit out of him for something he assume he did (and he didn’t), and a white boy who is friend with the younger brother of the cop himself and was a witness to the brutality and needs to overcome his own biases. I was a little hesitant going into it about the white boy’s POV but I honestly found that it was well done. This is one of those important books that you want to read, trust me.

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The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan: I love this so much more than the first three already??? Which I didn’t know would be possible. I think I’m not even halfway but so much has already happened, especially in terms of character development. Going into it I was a little disappointed because I was hoping we’d finally get Nico’s POV but apparently we only get it in the next book, but there’s so much stuff (Nico included) that I feel like it’s okay this way.

The Right Thing to Do at the Time by Dov Zeller: I’ve barely just started this so I can’t say much about it. However, something that immediately caught my attention is the writing style. It’s so unique! I don’t know if I will keep liking it for the whole book but so far I really do love it and it makes it different than any other book I’ve read. Other than that I haven’t seen much other than the introduction of the MCs, two queer Jewish boys, one of which is a trans guy, but I still need to get into the main plot.

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I usually have a section for things I’ve watched but I literally haven’t watched anything this month. I also haven’t been blogging much save from a few release blitzes that I’d signed up for, and a couple of ARC reviews. The only relevant post this month was Hollie’s contribution to #QueerLitStories, and it’s one of my favorite guest posts that I’ve shared so far. I highly recommend reading it and checking out her blog too!

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I really want to come back to blogging with the same enthusiasm from two months ago, but the truth is that now real life is a priority, both on the good and on the bad sides, and I can’t deal with too many things at once. But! I’m starting an internship later this month that will lead to a full time job if I like it enough. I’m scared and excited and I hope that once I get into the hang of things I will find a way to make my work and blogging work alongside and not against each other, so to speak, even if it might take me a while. I’m still very excited about books and the book community, and I can’t wait to get back to a regular blogging schedule.

How was your April? What were your reading highlights? Has spring finally come where you live? Let me know in the comments!