Sunday, January 10, 2021

Book Review: Mooncakes


by Suzanne Walker (author), Wendy Xu (illustrator)

Rating: 5 stars

What It's About

Nova is a young woman with witchcraft in her blood, supportive grandmothers, and an old friend (crush) Tam, who is back in town learning about her wolf powers.

When a demon turns up, they all work together to restore peace.

My Thoughts

This graphic novel stood out from others I have read in such great ways (three of them, to be exact).

  1. The storyline is rich and complete at 256 pages. Through 8 chapters plus an epilogue, we get a full plot and developed characters. As a standalone book, we aren't left with a cliffhanger, which I appreciate.

  2. Diversity reigns, which means we get to see well-rounded interesting characters (beyond the white hetero standard). Nova wears hearing aids. Her grandmothers are lesbians. Tam uses they/them pronouns. Characters appear to be white and Asian.

  3. Xu's illustrations are charming, engaging, and expertly rendered to align with Walker's story. This pair makes a wonderful team, whom I hope to see more from in the future.

I read this slower than other graphic novels because I wanted to spend time immersing myself in the illustrations and dialogue. I didn't want it to be over too quickly.


Highly recommended for readers who haven't tried graphic novels. This may come as a delightful introduction to the genre. Those already well-versed in the format will like this story for its themes and art. In general, Mooncakes will be good for lovers of paranormal, cozy mysteries, light romance, LGBTQ themes, and YA.

Publishing Details

Published on October 15, 2019 by Oni Press.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Soft Magic

soft magic

by Upile Chisala

Publish Date: February 26, 2019

Andrews McMeel Publishing

This beautiful poetry collection is about self-love, power, depression, relationships, and understanding. It is geared toward women and perhaps teens or young adults of color. The words Chisala chooses are as beautiful as the ideas she aims to express. I recommend this book for poetry lovers. I suspect readers of color will find themselves seen and heard on these pages, and white readers can see the need for inclusive and “own voices” writing.

4 stars

Monday, February 18, 2019

Your Tarot Court

Your Tarot Court

by Ethony Dawn

Publish date: May 8, 2019

Llewellyn Publications

Wow! I had no idea there was so much to say (or in my case, learn) about the court cards. This book was really insightful in explaining the characteristics, archetypes, and values of each of the court cards. I liked that Dawn provided specific information about each card in all sorts of contexts, and she included spreads that I have never seen before. This was a surprising and fun find. I may buy a hard copy to keep with my cards so I can refer back to it easily.

4 stars

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

by Anissa Gray

Publish date: February 19, 2019

Berkley Publishing Group

I finished this book three days ago and I am still thinking about it. The storytelling is somewhat fragmented, but that matches how the characters' lives are fragmented. In the beginning there were a number of characters to keep straight; this is something I struggle with, so I made a list. I can't decide if this book tries to tell too many stories or if the gravity of all the situations bring a necessary weight to the family. In any case, I liked reading about the various plights of these grown sisters and their loved ones.

3 stars

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Stargazing at Noon

Stargazing at Noon

by Amanda Torroni

Publish date: February 12, 2019

Andrews McMeel Publishing

Torroni sticks well to the notion of stargazing throughout this poem collection. As she ponders topics of love, sometimes writing to the loved one, she returns to imagery of the cosmos, of lightness and darkness. She writes about mental health in nature metaphors. Not all of this poetry is as straightforward as that of Lang Leav, for example, but it is worth the energy to sit with it.

4 stars

Friday, February 1, 2019

Worry Less, Pray More

Worry Less, Pray More: A Woman's Devotional Guide to Anxiety-Free Living

by Donna K. Maltese

Publish Date: March 1, 2019

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

This is a decent devotional, with 180 undated entries. It is easy to read, though not very detailed. These are good for a super-quick hit read. If you want something more robust, skip this one.

2 stars

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Love Looks Pretty on You

Love Looks Pretty on You

by Lang Leav

Publish Date: January 29, 2019

Andrews McMeel Publishing

The latest book of poetry by Lang Leav is every bit as wonderful as her previous books. I am a fan of Leav’s for her ability to make poetry accessible. She once again explores past love with this collection of poems, but she also delves into self-love through poems written to herself. I was able to relate to many of her passages. I have recommended her poetry books in the past, and I wholeheartedly recommend Love Looks Pretty on You.

4 stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Hidden Heartbreak

Hidden Heartbreak

by Emma Lee

Publish Date: January 8, 2019

Andrews McMeel Publishing

This is a cute collection of cartoons about a relationship that ends in heartbreak and how the author looks back on the course of events. It was interesting how she included a few scattered pages that allow the reader to write or draw in their own experiences. I liked Lee’s illustrations and the observations she chose to include in this book.

3 stars

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Travelling Cat Chronicles: a book review

The Travelling Cat Chronicles 

Written by Hiro Arikawa

Translated by Philip Gabriel

Published in English language: October 23, 2018

Published by Berkley

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a wonderful story in translation about a man and his cat, or perhaps a cat and his man.

In the beginning of the story, we meet a stray cat who is approached by a man. The story begins with the cat as the narrator. The tone is delightfully exactly the sort of attitude you would expect from a cat.

The man, Sartoru, takes in the cat, names it Nana, which means seven in Japanese for the way his tail is crooked like the number. Then, we skip ahead a few years to follow Sartoru and Nana as they go on a journey to visit old friends.

The reason for the journey is somewhat obscure at the beginning. Sartoru is unable to keep Nana and hopes to find a new home for his cat. In the meantime, we learn Sartoru's life story as he visits friends from the past.

The novel alternates points of view between the the cat and omniscient flashbacks.

This is a sweet book that will likely evoke smiles and tears. It is fairly short at 288 pages and definitely worth a read.

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Body Mindful Yoga: a book review

Body Mindful Yoga: Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body 

by Robert Butera Butera and Jennifer Kreatsoulas Kreatsoulas

Published November 8, 2018

Llewellyn Publications

This is a great book about learning to be comfortable with your body. Through explanations, anecdotes, and questions, the authors guide the reader in learning about their body beliefs. I love that this book incorporates the philosophy of yoga. It is not, however, a yoga book that offers poses, so if that's what you want choose a different title. This book is about thought and changing belief systems. It is well written and easy to read.

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Everyday Enchantments: a book review

Everyday Enchantments

by Maria DeBlassie

Published: October 26, 2018

Moon Books

Maria DeBlassie and I have never met, but after reading her new book Everyday Enchantments, I think it might have been written just for me.

From the very first page, Maira DeBleassie’s words drew me in. I was not familiar with her before. I found this book as an advanced reader offering and selected simply because of the title. By page 4, I was already typing her name in Google. Who is this woman? Why have I not seen her words until now?

I clicked around her blog for a few minutes, then returned even more enamored to Everyday Enchantments. This collection of essays makes mundane experiences seem filled with magic and wonder. I am all in for that.

In this book of very short essays -- musings, really -- DeBlassie talks about tea, used bookstores, yoga, herb shops, rainy days, and pretty much everything I like. If you like these things, too, go get this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Mooncakes

  Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (author), Wendy Xu (illustrator) Rating: 5 stars What It's About Nova is a young woman with witchcraft in ...