Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street by Lauren Oliver

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*No Major Spoilers*

Cordelia Clay loves the work she and her father do together: saving and healing the remarkable creatures around Boston at the end of the nineteenth century. Their home on Cedar Street is full to the brim with dragons, squelches, and Diggles, and Cordelia loves every one of them.

But their work must be kept secret—others aren’t welcoming to outsiders and immigrants, so what would the people of Boston do to the creatures they call “monsters”?

One morning, Cordelia awakens to discover that her father has disappeared—along with nearly all the monsters.

With only a handful of clues and a cryptic note to guide her, Cordelia must set off to find out what happened to her father, with the help of her new friend Gregory, Iggy the farting filch, a baby dragon, and a small zuppy (zombie puppy, that is).

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First off, I’d like to say, if you are a fan of the monsters and creatures in the Harry Potter universe, this theme gets expanded tenfold. Even though most monsters are only mentioned in passing, I feel this monster-filled world is just as fleshed out as in Harry Potter.

To imagine our world is filled with creatures that are only featured in mythology and fairy tales reminds me of the Pokemon video games, just without the animal abuse. The world feels so strange and alien since Cordelia was sheltered growing up in a house full of monsters.

One small nitpick I had early on was the similarities between the father and daughter’s names. I had to go back and reread sections because I got the two mixed up. Although to make up for it, I’m impressed at how the author gets us to bond with Cordelia and Cornelius and makes the disappearance more impactful without wasting our time.

As Cordelia’s search for her father and the monsters continues, I love all of the hijinx and misadventures the characters get into. In one case, Cordelia finds herself at a traveling circus that boasts a freak show of monsters. For Cordelia to think this circus as her monsters almost instantly, shows how young and somewhat immature she is.

I love the ending of this story, it wrapped everything up all nice and neat. Everyone learned from the struggles faced on the adventures shows through. Even Cornelius learns from his mistakes and moves on from the loss of his wife. So if you’re looking for a novel with a happy ending, you’ll find it here.

Although I know this is a children’s chapter book, I feel the issues discussed are appropriate for all ages. Friendship, racism, and growing up in a world that looks down upon the “lesser than”. Big issues discussed in appropriate ways.

I would recommend this for lovers of fantasy, monsters, and a coming of age story that’s worth the read. The Monsters of Cedar Street is a fun read for readers of all ages.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale Vol. 1 by Kikori Morino

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*No Spoilers*

In a world that has flooded, Nagi lives deep in the mountain. When she happens to run across a giant spider, they make an unusual pair. Needing each others company, and enjoying home-cooked meals. Join them in this strange friendship as they spend their days cooking and enjoying life in the wilderness.

I found this manga series on an app called “Manga Rock” where you can read mangas for free. I thought this would make for an interesting and quick read. So I gave it a try!

I am afraid of spiders, especially tarantulas. I’ve had a fear of spiders ever since I can remember. So this manga gave me the major creeps. Somehow, the art style and design choices made me tolerate this spider friend.

I love how each chapter is not only centered on this unusual friendship but on the meals they share together! I love the cozy and homey feel of this story.

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As Nagi waits for her father to return from his latest adventure, it is comforting to have a friend in a world filled with beauty and danger. Nagi can rely on nature to provide her the ingredients she needs for her home-cooked meals, but there are wild dogs in the forests around Nagi’s home. Seeing the spider friend protect her makes the desolate world a better place overall.

I thoroughly enjoyed this simple manga. It has heart, character, and yummy recipes to enjoy for yourself. I would recommend this manga for lovers of “Slice of Life” and home-cooked meals with a story attached to them.