Fence, Vol. 4: Rivals by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | Book Depository 

1.) Vol. 1 ★★★★★
2.) Vol. 2 ★★★★
3.) Vol. 3 ★★★★★

“I just want you to know Seiji already has a rival, and it’s me.”

This volume really felt like a new start to this series! Tryouts are officially over, and we get to finally see Kings Row Boys School Fencing Team try to be a team! Up until this point, we have seen all of these players dueling one on one with each other, but in this installment we get to see them finally trying to work together, during their first practice match!

And…. Fence is still the slowest burn romance(s) of all time. So many ships are so close, yet so far away, from sailing. From Nicholas and Seiji, to Harvard and Aiden, to (be still, my heart) Bobby and Dante! They are all precious, and I’m rooting for them all so very hard, but oh my gosh is the wait going to kill us all! But I trust it will so worth it. And meanwhile, we get all the great content whilst we wait.

I always do a breakdown on my thoughts and feeling of each individual issue for Fence. So, the next portion of this review will have SPOILERS! Please use caution if you haven’t read this installment yet, because I will be talking about some of the themes and events that each issue had inside.

➽ CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Truly a new start for this story, especially when this first chapter starts out with Jesse Coste coming to the school for Seiji. This whole bind-up is the “I want Seiji to be my rival” bind-up and I respect it. And Nicholas is truly having none of it. We also get to see the coach working a lot with Nicholas, and I’m rooting for him to truly be the best fencer to ever fence! Also, the Nicholas and Seiji heart to heart before bed, please, my heart. Oh! And they finally got uniforms and they have the most precious reactions to them!

➽ CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Kings Row is officially going to understand that team fencing is different from individual fencing, because they are having their first practice match against MLC! This issue actually helped me learn a lot about Fencing and scoring and I was really impressed! Bobby is the most precious, and I’m rooting for my short baby always. Aiden ditches the match to go on a date, so Eugene is officially in!

➽ CHAPTER FIFTEEN
We quickly learn that MLC is very smart, and Kings Row is very predictable! Harvard is the best boy in the world though, and after some advice from Aiden on his date, he subs Nicholas in for himself and MLC truly didn’t expect it!

➽ CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Nicholas does amazing, and we get to see his practicing with the coach really playing off. But we also get to see the amazing results from just unconditionally supporting one another and being there for one another. And the boys start fencing like they are on a team! The end of this installment truly made me want to scream in the best way possible, but also cry because I have no idea when I’m going to get another installment in this story! But Seiji helping Nicholas was a lot, and Aiden and Harvard are always a lot a lot. Again, all the slowest burns to ever burn.

“Go Aiden’s teammate!”

Fence is truly just one of my favorite graphic series of all time. I am so in love, and I will read this slow burn until the end of my days, if CS Pacat allows me the honor. I am also very curious about the novelization that is coming out soon too, Fence: Striking Distance by Sarah Rees Brennan! I just want everything from this world, this school, this team, and these characters! But truly, if you’re looking for something funny, sweet, hopefully, and very angsty, I truly recommend you giving this series a try!

4
Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

 

Fence, Vol. 3 by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | Book Depository

1.) Vol. 1 ★★★★★
2.) Vol. 2 ★★★★

I truly feel like this graphic novel series just gets better and better each installment. I feel like after I finished the last page of this volume, I felt like the story (and real angst) is just now going to be starting and I truly cannot wait. This truly has been such a purely joyous serotonin ride getting to this point, and I already can’t wait to see what happens next. And I also predict the next issues will have a much different tone, as well.

But if you don’t know what Fence is all about, it basically follows some kids trying to join their boarding school’s fencing team! And some of the kids need to make the team in order to be able to stay at the school! And some kids are really just trying to live out their dreams of becoming famous fencers. In this installment in particular, we get to see so many of the kid’s families! And we also get to see some really pivotal matches that will dictate the future for some of these fencers!

The stars of this graphic novel are for sure Nicholas and Seiji, who are currently maybe having the slowest burn romance of all romance! But Bobby and Eugene must be protected forever and I vow to make it my new life mission. And Harvard is my favorite character, and not only would I give my life for his, I also want to remind this fictional character that he deserves the world and to never settle for the best. [rest]

I always do a breakdown on my thoughts and feeling of each individual issue for Fence. So, the next portion of this review will have SPOILERS! Nothing too pivotal, but I will talk about some of the themes and events that each issue had inside.

➽ CHAPTER NINE
Aiden lost to Harvard! Nicholas has a chance at making the team, he only has to win against Kally! Seiji is still very much still thinking about Jesse, and him and Nicholas get in quite the confrontation speaking about him.

➽ CHAPTER TEN
Bobby has my whole entire heart. I love the seeing all the diverse families of color and their relationships! Yet, both Nicholas and Seiji do not have families there.

➽ CHAPTER ELEVEN
Jay vs. Aiden (and maybe they hooked up before this match). I love Eugene and his family a lot. Truly like so much pure friendship going on this issue, please hold my bursting heart. And when coach says “I’m proud of you” I still can’t stop crying. I’m too attached to these kids.

➽ CHAPTER TWELVE
Seiji and Nicholas and their dorm situation. Two reserves = friendship. “Welcome to the fencing team!” and the pure serotonin this issue gave me. And then Jesse shows up and makes me question everything and where this next part of the story is going to go.

Overall, this is really just a top tier graphic novel series if you’re looking for a diverse cast of sports gays! I really recommend it with my whole heart, and it is truly one of my favorites of all time! And again, I really can’t wait to see what happens in Vol. 4, because I truly suspect that the entire story has just now started to begin!

5

Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

 

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon, #3) by Katie O’Neill | ARC Review

Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | Book Depository

ARC provided by Netgalley
Publication: September 1st, 2020 by Oni Press

1.) The Tea Dragon Society ★★★★★
2.) The Tea Dragon Festival ★★★★★
*.) Aquicorn Cove ★★★★

”You feel like you’ve lost your path. It’s natural to be sad… it’s alright to let those feelings wash over you, and give them time to soak into the earth. That’s when things start to grow again.”

This entire series is just so special to me, and this newest installment is probably my favorite thing by Katie O’Neill to date. The Tea Dragon Tapestry truly feels like a love letter to remember loving yourself through all your phases.

I think something we just don’t really talk about enough as readers and reviewers is that sometimes we truly read a book at the most perfect moment in our lives, almost like it was destiny for us to choose this particular story at this particular moment, and that was very much me with The Tea Dragon Tapestry.I honestly don’t think I can put into words how much this story means to me at this time in my life, but I suppose I should give it a try still.

”The sadness, the loss, the hurt, as well as the joy, the love, the friendship – it is all part of you tapestry.”

This is a series about a small little village, where some of the community members have tea dragons! Tea dragons are little dragons that sprout little tealeaves when they are being well taken care of. And even though tea dragons are very rare, we get to fall a little bit more and more in love with their caretakers each installment!

This is also one of the most inclusionary graphic novels, which has some of the most beautiful diversity. This story has sapphic characters, gay characters, characters of all different skin colors, disability representation, nonbinary/genderfluid representation, and one of the most beautiful found families of all time.

Like always with my graphic novel reviews, I’m going to try to do little breakdowns of each chapter so I can come back and recap when needed! I’m going to try to keep this relatively spoiler free because this beautiful volume isn’t out yet but use caution still if you’d like to go into this one not knowing anything!

➽ Chapter One:
Brick is the cutest little coal sprite in the whole wide world. My heart’s quadrants still belong to Ginseng & Greta and Chamomile and Minette! Hesekiel and Erik and their tea dragons and little tea house mean everything to me too. And in this chapter, we get to see how tea dragons have an extremely strong bond with their caregivers!

➽ Chapter Two:
Minette starts to have magical dreams (that are drawn… so breathtakingly beautifully, oh my word, I’m still rendered absolutely speechless) and Greta is going to try for a blacksmithing apprenticeship!

➽ Chapter Three:
A lot happens in this chapter, but this is where the graphic novel starts to talk about our life’s purpose, and how sometimes our lives do not go the way we thought they would (even if extremely planned and laid out for us), but that is okay. We all experience phases where we question things, even ourselves, but we are never alone with that experience. Also, being nostalgic is very human (and dragon) things, that we all love to feel, but we shouldn’t compare the happiness of the past to the sadness we could be possibly experience in the present.

”It sounds strange, but I feel homesick for the person I used to be…”

➽ Chapter Four:
We get to see Rinn and Aedhan from The Tea Dragon Festival again and my heart felt like it had wings of it’s own! And how sometimes all our senses work together to remind us of happy or sad things and times.

”Taste has a strong association with memory”

➽ Chapter Five:
This was my favorite chapter, and I kind of just wept while reading it. Life can be so hard, and so sad, and so unexpected, and so all of these things at the very same time, but you just have to remember that it will get better, it can get better, and that this is only part of where you are at in life right now. One of the most beautiful things about life is that it is a full journey, where we will change, and people will change, and that’s okay, an that can be beautiful, but we have to keep changing and keep growing and keep living.

”…Little one, you are the person you are meant to be”

➽ Chapter Six:
And even if your journey might be a little unexpected, be happy that it is your journey. I truly know I sound like a bit of a self-help reviewer right now, but this chapter is just so beautiful, and hopefully, and left me so very excited to see where the rest of my journey will take me, no matter how many sad days are left and coming, because there will always be even more happy ones along the way, too.

”…Remember, that you are already whole.”

➽ Epilogue:
This epilogue was so good because it shows you the history on tea dragons! And Hesekiel is too kind to us to show us these secrets and stories of the tea dragons. And to remind us that all our stories are so very important and worthy to be told. And it’s also important to go on your own path and make many more new stories to keep on telling your loved ones who make you feel safe.

”Everything that happens is part of your wholeness”

The Tea Dragon Series is just a gift to the whole world. It feels like a comforting hug from my very own family and friends who are too far away to give me one. Again, this series just means a lot to me, and if you’re looking for a little light in a world that feels easy to be dark, then I really just recommend this installment with my whole heart and soul. Words and stories really have healing power, and this one truly made me feel so much lighter. And I promise, you are right where you are supposed to be too, friends.

5

Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound | BookShop 

OwlCrate’s May 2020 Box – REBELS WITH A CAUSE 🔥
My Rep Code: MEL10 ❤️

This was such a pleasant surprise! Witchy is a graphic novel story that centers on a witch kingdom called Hyalin! In this magical kingdom, the witch’s powers are dependent on how long their hair is, and they take a lot of pride in that. But if your hair is too long, and you are too powerful, the witch government can burn you to death. Also, the government tests the magical abilities of the young adults, and they can get conscripted into the military guard to protect the lands, which is also viewed as a great honor!

But our main character, Nyneve, not only is forced to hide her extremely long hair, but they also are very untrusting of the ruler Jung, and the other ruling witches, because she witnessed her father getting burned because he was so powerful. But now that the conscription is going to take place at her school, she is feeling very scared and a little helpless. That is, until she does something that will change her fate forever and cuts her hair off!

This first installment is all about the conscription “tournament”, the ramifications of Nyneve’s actions, new journeys to find out the truth of this kingdom and world, and a very cute talking raven named Banana! This story is also pretty diverse with very many characters of color (I feel like they are mostly south and south east Asian), a trans side character (I feel like this entire world is very gender fluid, but this side character is confirmed), and with a vast range of different body types! I also think the color palette is very unique, and very much captivated me throughout!

Content and Trigger Warnings for loss of a parent, transphobia (challenged), medical examination difficultly, and abandonment.

But I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to see what comes next! I truly always love a good magical story about people choosing their own destiny, even if the path to figuring that out can be a little difficult at times! And starring Asian witches, created by an ownvoices creator? Be still, my Filipino heart. And with most of my graphic works reviews, I like to do mini break downs of each chapter/issue so it will be an easier recap for me when a new installment is created! (Also, I just really like breaking down things!) But use caution for spoilers if you do not want to know anything about this story before going in!

✨ Also, you can read for FREE HERE! ✨

Chapter One:
We get to find out mostly what happened to Neve’s father, we get to learn a little bit about this military guard the is forced to protect this witch kingdom, and we start to see that dictatorship can wear many masks!

Chapter Two:
Batu and Prill are Nyneve’s two friends, and both have my heart. Well, Prill was a little bit of an enemy, I think! But only for like a page. We learn about the conscription and find out it is in two weeks!

Chapter Three:
This chapter really makes you fall in love with Neve’s mom. We learn that she joined the guard because of a bet. And she proves that she is willing to do anything for her daughter, and sacrifice anything for her safety. We also get to see the conscription, and Jung separates the kids into different teams, where they are forced to compete. And we learn who gets recruited! (I’m sure you can see where this is going… hehe!)

Chapter Four:
Nyneve is exploring a new place, with a talking raven, and meets a whole new community that is run by Batu’s sister, Io! (Let me also say, that I, too, would have a crush on Io!) But we get to see this orphanage for kids whose parents have been burned, and we get to see that maybe they are going to grow up to be a resistance army. Oh, also, we get to see Nyneve and Banana studying in a library filled with banned books and I just really enjoyed it and it made my heart happy! We also get to meet a very mysterious tree person named Eynag! And we get to see Neve decide what she is going to do next, when everything feels so unsure.

Again, I loved this. I really have even higher hopes for the next installment! I might go on the website I linked above and read the next two chapters because I just want more and more from this world. The creator has truly blown me away and I just want to support them forever. I hope you all enjoy this one too, if you choose to pick it up!

4
Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

 

The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2) by Katie O’Neill

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC acquired at Book Expo in exchange for an honest review.

“Just because something comes easily to you, does not mean it has no value. You find it effortless because you love it, and that is why it is your gift.”

Most of you know, that I fell head over heels in love with The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill last year, so when I got my hands on an ARC of this, I knew I had no option but to read it and fall in love with it immediately. And, dear reader, that is exactly what happened. This story, this art, and these messages are gifts from above, I swear to you all, and I recommend this companion novel to you all with my whole heart and soul.

At the very start of this graphic novel, we see some familiar faces prepping for the tea dragon festival. But this story stars Rinn who, while collecting things, meets a dragon named Aedhan, and invites them to the festival! Meanwhile, Erik and Hesekiel are back and are bounty hunters who are searching for something ancient that can put people to sleep for decades.

This is an incredibly diverse work of art. Rinn in nonbinary/genderfluid, Erik and Hesekiel are in a m/m relationship, there is Sign Language being used and being taught to the entire village, and the cast is full of people of color with visible brown skin. The actual blessings.

Seeing Aedhan teach Rinn about how dragons can shift between genders was something more beautiful that words to me. Also, seeing Aedhan help Rinn see that they are worthy and have so much value, and that they should never feel lesser for getting enjoyment and pride from gathering and forging… I’m still so soft. And this story really puts an emphasis on how you can cook with love, and how preparing and sharing food can be something so intimate and so filled with unconditional love and joy.

Overall, I really just think that this is a masterpiece. The art is truly on another level as well, and it fills my heart and soul with so much happiness. I also just really appreciate the reminder that you are always needed, and you are always worthy of value and love.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

 

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

ARC acquired at Book Expo in exchange for an honest review.

“The next full moon snuck up on me…”

Oh friends, this was truly the graphic novel I’ve been waiting forever for. From witchy magic, to unconditional family and found family love, to being the person you want to be on your own time, to the cutest F/NB relationship ever, I am so in love with Mooncakes!

One night, in a sleepy and paranormal New England town, a witch follows a white wolf into the woods. She doesn’t know what to expect, but it most certainly isn’t a horse demon fighting with her childhood crush! With the help of one another (and some cute grandmas) they unfold a story about a cult and people wanting to harness werewolf magic for their own.

And the two main characters of this graphic novel are everything! One, being Nova, who is Chinese-American, and still coping with the loss of her parents, while living with her two grandmothers (be still, my heart). All of these women are witches and collect rare spell books! And Tam, who is also Chinese-American, and a nonbinary werewolf who grew up with Nova, but recently left their family who wasn’t very kind to them.

And if I haven’t already sold you with the plot and the five star rating, this is also just a story about two young adults learning who they want to be, both separately and together. Nova and Tam are both dealing with hurt from their parents, and even though it is a different kind of hurt, they are there for one another, and unconditionally support one another. It’s beautiful, and powerful, and I had the biggest smile on my face while reading from the first to last page.

Overall, this really was the queer, magical story that I’ve always wanted. I loved the rep, I loved the story, I loved the illustrations, I love the banter, and I truly love both of these main characters so very much. I can’t wait to see what Wendy and Suzanne do next! Also, I’m totally buying mooncakes on the way home tomorrow, because your girl has such a craving.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of abusive parental figures, captivity, and loss of loved ones in the past.

I read this for SummerAThon! ❤

[BONUS:] I got to meet both creators at Book Expo and they were so kind! Even though I was probably a little awkward and called Wendy birb royalty.

Shades of Magic, Vol. 1: The Steel Prince (#1 – #4) by V.E. Schwab & Andrea Olimpieri

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“Here, our story begins…”

I read the entire A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, and I ended up giving them all three stars. I am absolutely obsessed with Victoria’s mind and worlds, and her characters are truly some of the best I’ve read, but the plot and events always held me back from completely loving them. But when I found out we were going to get to learn more about Rhy’s father (adoptive father of Kell) and the events that lead him to being King, I knew I couldn’t resist. But here I am, still surprised that I ended up giving the prequel graphic novel series start three stars.

Maxim Maresh is only a prince in this brand-new graphic novel series, but he is the sole heir and the king in waiting in Red London. Yet, he wants to be so much more than that, and he wants to prove that he will be capable and earn his rightful place as king one day. Maxim and his family are also people of color, with obvious dark brown skin, but it is never stated what ethnicity in this made up alternate historical London. And he has earned himself the title of The Steel Prince because of his magical affinity with steel.

But in this bind-up, Maxim gets involved with pirates, and magical tournaments, and figuring out who he wants to be. Yet, this first volume barely mentions the parallel Londons, which (to me) is the coolest part of this world, completely. And then with this elaborate magic system finally being visualized, it just felt clunky, and like it missed the mark completely on something that could have been groundbreaking.

“You fight like a royal. Like the weapons are made of wood. Like no one means to hurt you. But this is not London, your highness.”

But my biggest problem with this graphic novel was honestly the art. Trust me, it kills me to say this, but I just never grew to like the style of this book. And especially with something as cool as the world of ADSOM, I feel like an artist really could have turned this into one of the most aesthetically pleasing series of all time, especially with red, grey, black, and white having such a pivotal role in this world. But I don’t have an art degree, so don’t listen to me. I’m just stating what I would have liked more for this story! The artist is still very talented. And if this is your favorite art style of all time? You are valid.

I still really enjoyed this bind-up and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. I hope we get to see more cameos of characters we love, too! And if you are already a fan of VE Schwab and this breathtaking world, I bet you will absolutely love this addition! Content and trigger warnings violence, blood, and torture.

Okay, so like with every graphic novel that I review, I always do a breakdown on what happens briefly in each individual issue. So, the next portion of this review will have SPOILERS! Obviously, I won’t give away anything too pivotal, but I will talk about some of the themes that each issue had inside.

ISSUE ONE:
We get to meet Maxim, the prince and sole heir to the throne. We also get to meet the king, and his dad, Nokil. And we also get our first glimpse at Maxim wanting to be more than the prince in waiting, and he wants to prove himself and his fighting abilities.

ISSUE TWO:
We are introduced to Arisa, the pirate queen, and we get to learn about a tournament where the winner will fight her to prove themselves worthy. Also, we get to see the Black Torch, and you know my pub loving heart was so dang happy.

ISSUE THREE:
Isra, the pirate queen’s niece, and Maxim are both battling in the tournament where we see so many different magic abilities, and we learn there are no rules and anything goes.

ISSUE FOUR:
Things do not go Maxim’s way, but he is rescued. Then, after, he receives a letter from his father, asking him to come. But he declines because he still has so much more to learn.

Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Twitch | WishlistYoutube