Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

RAPID REVIEW: The Tale of the Outcasts (The Tale of the Outcasts #1) by Makoto Hoshino

*No Major Spoilers*

This is the story of Wisteria, an orphaned girl lost in darkness, and Marbas, an immortal being who shares her loneliness. The unlikely companions met on a quiet, uneventful night, and they set off together in search of the light. What begins as a chance meeting on the edge of the late nineteenth-century British Empire soon became a full-fledged journey to find their place in the world.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I found this novel at my local library. The beautiful artwork and Beauty and the Beast-like story caught my interest. Happy to say that this is a lovely story full of heart, and the complications between found family and blood family.

I love how Marbas’ character develops over the course of this story. He is closed off emotionally a distant towards Wisteria, he doesn’t fully understand how attached to him she’s become over their time together. He is just resigned to spending all of eternity alone.

Do not worry though, the relationship between Wisteria and Marbas is strictly platonic. I don’t know how it grows and develops in the future, but I am invested in this storyline and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Overall, I loved The Tale of the Outcasts. The artwork is beautiful, and I am a bit of a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings apparently. I would recommend this manga for fans of romance, the supernatural, and found family vs blood family tropes.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

RAPID REVIEW: Marvel-Verse: Shang-Chi by Various Authors

*No Spoilers Here*

Shang-Chi is the Marvel-Verse’s Master of Kung Fu – and his deadly hands are full in these action-packed adventures! Wolverine seeks out Shang-Chi to train him in the skills necessary to defeat the savage Sabretooth! A class at Midtown High leads Shang-Chi into a team-up with Spidey against Midnight and his ninja army – and the wallcrawler asks for Shang-Chi’s guidance on learning a little Spider-Fu! But will Shang-Chi find himself over his head in his newest adventure?


Rating: 4 out of 5.

When it was announced that Shang-Chi was going to be introduced into the MCU, I was initially excited. I love meeting new characters and when I saw this at my local library, I knew I had to check it out. So let’s dive into Marvel-Verse: Shang-Chi!

I think that this was a good introduction to the character for those Marvel fans who may not be familiar with or unaware of Shang-Chi. His friendly interactions with Spider-Man and his other allies makes him a very likable character. When he is shown in the first story trying to teach Wolverine about some fighting techniques he’s serious and not much banter. I think that’s to show more of Wolverine processing and learning from what Shang-Chi was trying to teach him.

Overall, I think if you’re hesitant to learn about Shang-Chi, this graphic novel would be a good place to start. You don’t get much backstory for Shang-Chi, but you can see how he is as a hero and how he interacts with other superheroes.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

UPDATED REVIEW: Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O’Malley By Tony Lee and Sam Hart

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*Historical Spoilers*

A true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, Grace spent her life wishing to join the fight to keep Henry VIII’s armies from invading her homeland of Ireland — only to be told again and again that the battlefield is no place for a woman. But after English conspirators brutally murder her husband, Grace can no longer stand idly by. Leading men into battle on the high seas, Grace O’Malley quickly gains a formidable reputation as the Pirate Queen of Ireland with her prowess as a sailor and skill with a sword. But her newfound notoriety puts the lives of Grace and her entire family in danger and eventually leads to a confrontation with the most powerful woman in England: Queen Elizabeth I. With a gripping narrative and vivid, action-packed illustrations, the fourth entry in Tony Lee and Sam Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series captures the intensity and passion of one of history’s fiercest female warriors.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been waiting for a long time to find a good pirate story. Sure it’s nonfiction, however, Pirate Queen takes the high-stakes adventures of pirating up to 11. I love how this is not just a story about pirates and how they were degenerates and on the lowest caste of society. This is a story about how a woman saw that her country needed her, and not only stepped up to the plate, but made a name for herself as the Queen of the Pirates.

I am not familiar with the time period or Grace O’Malley and I think this graphic novel does an excellent job at telling a complicated story. A story that I imagine has been lost to time to a certain extent due to the “colonization” of Ireland. I never felt lost or confused as the story progressed and seeing how not only Grace’s worldview changed over time, but the world as a whole was changing.

My favorite part was how the O’Malley clan was deep in a battle and Grace was below decks giving birth to a baby boy. As soon as the birth was complete, she wrapped her baby up and went to confront the British soldiers. So awesome to see how progressive she was for her time.

Overall, I enjoyed Pirate Queen. There was plenty of swashbuckling action as well as plenty of heart and emotion. I think if you liked the movie Brave or are itching for a good pirate story then I would highly recommend checking this graphic novel out.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

REVIEW: Thirsty Mermaids by Kay Leyh

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*No Major Spoilers*

Fresh out of shipwreck wine, three tipsy mermaids decide to magically masquerade as humans and sneak onto land to indulge in much more drinking and a whole lot of fun in the heart of a local seaside tourist trap. But the good times abruptly end the next morning as, through the haze of killer hangovers, the trio realizes they never actually learned how to break the spell, and are now stuck on land for the foreseeable future. Which means everything from: enlisting the aid of their I-know-we-just-met-can-we-crash-with-you bartender friend, struggling to make sense of the world around them, and even trying to get a job with no skill set…all while attempting to somehow return to the sea and making the most of their current situation with tenacity and camaraderie (especially if someone else is buying).


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Most mermaid stories are romances, however Thirsty Mermaids throws that cliché out the window. Pearl, Tooth, and Eez are best friends who enjoy getting drunk together. Even when they realize that Eez may not be able to break the curse and turn them back into merfolk, they trust that Eez will find the answer and just try and make the best of a rough situation.

There isn’t much to say about this graphic novel without spoiling the humor and heart the story has. I enjoyed all of the main characters and their exploits as they try to adjust to human life. Pearl makes friends with a couple of treasure hunters who are regulars at the bar The Thirsty Mermaid. Tooth gets a job as a bouncer at a local club, which I wanted to hear if she had any crazy stories while she was a bouncer there. Eez stays at the apartment of their bartender friend in hopes to figure out a way to break the curse. All while hijinks ensue and a lot of friends are made along the way.

Overall, I think The Thirsty Mermaids is a fun story if you’re tired of the mermaid romance cliche and are looking for a fun lighthearted story with plenty of heart and booze.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Monster Tamer Girls Vol. 1 by Mujirushi Shimazaki

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*No Major Spoilers* 

When giant monsters roam the earth, “wildlife care” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s where the Tamers come in–girls trained to soothe the savage beasts. But while co-existence is a way of life, it’s still a little overwhelming for meek Ion Hidaka. Can she handle being one of the newest members of the Tatara Girls’ Academy Tamers Committee?


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been reading manga for the past several years. Most of the ones I’ve read are good, but just like anything else, there are a few outliers. However, Monster Tamer Girls isn’t an outlier in the slightest. So let’s dive into this unique monster story. 

First off, I loved our main characters, Ion Hidaka and Sora Misumaru. Ion has a talent for befriending the monsters she meets, and yet she’s still terrified of them. Her best friend, Sora, isn’t interested in becoming a monster tamer, but she’s there to support her friend every step of the way.

I even loved the background characters. I wanted to learn more about the former members of the Monster Tamer Committee, but hopefully, the author will explore this in future volumes. All in all, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like for one reason or another. 

The monsters are adorable. I know they are supposed to be large and scary like Godzilla and Mothra, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the monsters in this story. The monsters appear in a more cartoony style. For example, the monster that lives by the school his horns don’t look sharp, his eyes look mean, but throughout the story, he’s just a lethargic monster.

Overall, I enjoyed Monster Tamer Girls. The characters are dynamic, and the monsters are cute and loveable. I would highly recommend this manga for lovers of Kaiju, and the Slice of Life genre.