Book Review: Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

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“I could tell I was standing too still and breathing too silently. I prayed she didn’t notice, but she must have, she was so close to me.”

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I was sent this book by Walker Books a couple of months ago and I was immediately intrigued by the the idea of it as a ‘Graphic Memoir’. I know that this isn’t the first graphic memoir, in fact there are many that I’d love to get my hands on, but this is actually the first one I have ever read and boy did I enjoy it! If I had read this a while ago it most certainly would be on my list of Top 5 Graphic Novels. It has everything you would want from a graphic memoir; a compelling and moving story, beautiful artwork, and hilarious writing. Let’s briefly sum up the story:

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5 Graphic Novels You Should be Reading

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I have loved graphic novels, comics, and manga ever since I can remember. My childish enjoyment of picture-books has stuck with me and has since developed as I’ve got older. There are so many brilliant things about graphic novels; the main for me being how easy they are to read without sacrificing a decent story. In recent years there has been a sort of boom in the popularity of graphic novels which is so pleasing to me! So I thought I would share some of my favourite graphic novels!

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1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This quirky debut graphic novel started out as a web-comic and since it’s physical publication has gained masses of praise, and rightly so! The art is gorgeous, the colours work so well with the story and the plot is utterly gripping. Not to mention it’s also bad-ass, feminist and absolutely hilarious!

2. Anya’s Ghost by Vero Brosgol

This ghoulish graphic novel takes some really interesting twists and turns. Following Anya, a girl just trying to get through high school, meeting and befriending Emily, a ghost. The friendship takes a darker road and yet Brosgol takes the story in such interesting directions and pretty much avoids all the clichés!

3. Saga by Brian K Vaughan

I think this graphic novel series is a perfect example of how far my graphic novel journey has come! This series is utterly mind-blowing. Targeted at young adults+ these graphic novels contain everything you might want from a Sci-Fi / war / love series. There are hardcore fights (involving a lot of blood!), pretty strong language and nudity!

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4. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll 

Now this one is definitely darker; in both the graphics and the story. I should really say stories as this graphic novel actually contains five different bone-chilling stories all based around the woods. The stories are all so distinct from one and other so there will definitely be personal preference. The art style is really unique and the colour palate of darker shades with the occasional pop of blood red is so creepy!

5. Beautiful Creatures: The Manga by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and Cassandra Jean

I’ve never read any of the Caster Chronicles books but this graphic novel is absolutely fantastic! It has a wonderful manga art style and there’s a sort of beautiful roughness to it that mimics a sketchbook. The story is very gripping but the art is definitely the stand-out aspect of this graphic novel!

 

Christmas Book Haul and Unboxing

Today I am doing my first ever Book Haul, and they’re all the books I got for Christmas or bought myself with book vouchers or money that I also got for Christmas!

Books mentioned:

France (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Other Classic Works by Lewis Caroll

Saga Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Never Somewhere Else by Alex Gray

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

One by Sarah Crossan

Don’t Read These in the Dark!

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It’s Halloween! The vampires will be on the prowl and the ghosts will be flouting about in the darkness; so if you’re planning on staying safe and hiding in your homes (which is where you’ll find me!) then here are six creepy reads to get you through the night:

Through The Woods by Emily Carroll

This graphic novel tells five different scary stories that are centred in or around the woods. Each one is told in a slightly different way but are equally eerie. Initially you might find yourself a little confused after finishing the stories but that’s the real horror of it; the ambiguity lets you fill in the blanks with your own fears and you won’t be able to stop yourself thinking about it!

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Although this isn’t necessarily a ‘horror’ there are a lot of elements in this book that are quite horrific. Shelley writes with such detail; a lot of it is utterly beautiful but some will chill you to the bone. This well known story follows the life of Victor Frankenstein as he creates – and later hunts – his monster and by the end you’ll wonder who the real monster is.

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Hollow Pike by James Dawson

I read this book years ago but there are some bits that still haunt me now. This story about nightmares, forests and witches is bound to keep you up all night. It is written brilliantly and is so sinister and addictive. It reads with this spooky purple hue (which I think comes from it’s awesome cover) and it’s so easy to imagine yourself there in the forest with Lis.  If you’re looking for a book that will give you shocks rather than nightmares then this one’s for you.

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Jekyll’s Mirror by William Hussey

Okay now this book is scary. Strange, and scary. As a modernised re-telling of Jekyll and Hyde there are some really unexpected gruesome moments that seemingly pop out of nowhere -but are later explained- that, for somebody like me who is pretty squeamish, made me put the book down and just breath for a little bit. This is a nice short book and would be a perfect read on a Halloween eve. As long as you’re up for a good fright!

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This is another book that I’d recommend to people who aren’t huge horror fans. This books has such a unique story; following a mysterious family tragedy occurs, sixteen year old Jacob makes his way to Wales to uncover some ghostly secrets. One of the best and spookiest parts of this book is Riggs’ use of weird photographs. Each one ties in to the story and – here’s the creepiest bit – were merely found by Riggs at car boots and the like. Take a look at some and then proceed to freak out.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

A halloween recommendation list is not complete without the infamous Dracula. This frightening tale of the solicitor and the vampire is a classic. It is truly terrifying but absolutely fantastic! As it was written such a long time ago it’s old-time language really transports you there into the Transylvania Castle and with such vivid descriptions you half expect to see the notorious vampire every time you take a glance from your book. Fingers-crossed that he doesn’t actually appear though!

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Let me know what your favourite books to read at Halloween time are and I hope you survive the night! Mwahahahaha!

Mini Monday Review #4

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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“I can’t have a kid following me around all day.”

“I’m not a kid. I’M A SHARK.” 

I absolutely adored this graphic novel! The art style was incredible, it really suited the story. There were some beautiful panels that had me staring for more time than probably normal and there were some genuinely hilarious ones that actually had me laughing out loud!  The story follows Nimona – a reckless shape-shift with a mysterious past –  and Lord Ballister Blackheart – an ex-hero betrayed and seeking retribution – trying to prove to the Kingdom that their solicitous Institution of Law Enforcement  have a much more villainous agenda.  The relationship that builds up between the two is wonderful to watch; they contrast each other quite drastically making their unlikely  friendship just that bit more special and the ending that bit more sad.

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The plot was full and fast – there was never a dull moment. All the characters had some type of mystery attached to them which were explored at various stages within the story. This provided a bit of a breather from whatever it was Blackheart was breaking and Nimona was killing but also let us delve into the characters. Nimona’s backstory in particular is just heartbreaking; I just loved her! It’s strange how much you sympathise for Nimona considering she is a killer, but she’s funny and can be kind and although she has the ability to become any being she wants she chooses to remain a bit chubby and have short red hair. It’s a subtle message but none the less powerful! Another more subtle theme in the story is brought through the relationship between Blackheart and Goldenloin. Nobody questions it, it’s not a subplot, it just is!

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This is a sweet and humorous graphic novel that will without doubt leave you with a smile on your face. If you’re new to graphic novels or are a fan of Fangirl, feminism, and delightful diverse characters then this is definitely for you!