Autumn Mini Reviews: Pumpkinheads & The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Hello my lovelies! Some more mini reviews for you today – let’s get straight to it, shall we? 😀

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synopsis

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years…


my thoughts

This was a super cute seasonal read! If you’re a fan of Autumn/Halloween, you need this book in your life. It is a pumpkin-lover’s dream! I don’t know if American pumpkin patches are actually like this, but if they are then I need to visit one!

I’ve said in the past that food in books ticks a big box for me, so all the amazing snacks mentioned in Pumpkinheads were definitely a highlight. If nothing else, this book will make you crave smores and pumpkin pie.

I loved the art style and the colour scheme was gorgeous. The characters were exactly what we’ve all come to expect from a Rainbow Rowell book; Deja was a particular favourite of mine. She came out with the best puns. And yay for curvy girls!

Overall, this was a very fast read that I enjoyed a lot. It was subtle as a brick but cute and fluffy, and sometimes that’s just what you need. I adored the setting and would happily read more stories in this world – or I’d totally be up for a Christmas themed sequel 😉


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synopsis

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets… until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost… as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.


my thoughts

It’s a special retelling that doesn’t just borrow from its source material but adds to it. It is clear that Kiersten White is a Frankenstein fangirl; she treats her source material with such respect. I really enjoyed her portrayal of Elizabeth’s side of the story and thought it was wonderful to get a feminist slant on this classic Gothic novel.

The tone was perfect. You know how sometimes a retelling will make the mistake of using modern language and completely losing the feel of the original? Well, that didn’t happen here. White’s writing harked back to Mary Shelley’s and felt so appropriate for the story, which was something I really appreciated.

If you’re a fan of Frankenstein, do yourself a favour and read this book! I think you could probably enjoy it even if you haven’t read the original (I mean, everyone knows the concept, right? But you’ll definitely get a lot out of it if you’re familiar with the classic.


Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

‘Bloodlust and Bonnets’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! I’m delighted today to be wrapping up the blog tour for Bloodlust and Bonnets, a fantastic graphic novel by Emily McGovern!

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synopsis

Set in early nineteenth-century Britain, Bloodlust & Bonnets follows Lucy, an unworldly debutante who desires a life of passion and intrigue—qualities which earn her the attention of Lady Violet Travesty, the leader of a local vampire cult.

But before Lucy can embark on her new life of vampiric debauchery, she finds herself unexpectedly thrown together with the flamboyant poet Lord Byron (“from books!”) and a mysterious bounty-hunter named Sham. The unlikely trio lie, flirt, fight, and manipulate each other as they make their way across Britain, disrupting society balls, slaying vampires, and making every effort not to betray their feelings to each other as their personal and romantic lives become increasingly entangled.

Both witty and slapstick, elegant and gory, Emily McGovern’s debut graphic novel pays tribute to and pokes fun at beloved romance tropes, delivering a joyous, action-packed world of friendship and adventure.


my thoughts

Ok, I have to say it. Emily McGovern has the exact same sense of humour as me. This graphic novel made me laugh out loud! It’s all very tongue-in-cheek with lots of silly jokes and I just honestly loved it. This humour is honestly what made the book for me; every joke landed perfectly and McGovern was able to make me giggle with just one tiny detail in her drawings, like a raised eyebrow. I seriously had so much fun reading this.

The characters were brilliant. Lord Byron’s pomp was utter perfection and he totally stole the show for me. His scenes had me in stitches. I also loved the casual inclusion of a non-binary character, and the sentient castle and psychic eagle were further highlights. Trust me 😉

In terms of the illustrations, I really liked McGovern’s style. The drawing had a simple, blocky technique to it (I say simple but I can’t draw to save my life so I have so much respect for people who can!) As I’ve already mentioned, I could feel the emotions radiating off the pages even when all that changed were a couple of pen-strokes.

I also really loved the vibrant colour scheme! You can see in my photograph below how bright and bold the cover is and that was consistent throughout the book. It really made the illustrations pop and I thought it was fabulous.

Overall, there’s not much more I can say about this one because I think it’s best to just dive in and experience it for yourself! If you’re into things like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or other satirical takes on Regency era stories, then definitely consider picking this one up! It would be a fun, fast read for the spooky season 😉

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If you’d like to see more reviews of this book and Q&A’s with the author, check out the previous stops on the tour! 

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‘Heartstopper’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my lovelies! I’m really struggling to stay on top of blogging this week so I’m sorry for not replying to your comments straightaway – I promise I’ll try to catch up at the weekend! For now, here’s a short and sweet review 🙂

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synopsis

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…


my thoughtsOk, so the hype is real with this one. I have been wanting to start reading graphic novels for a while and this was totally the perfect place to start. Everything about it is adorable.

I defy anyone to read this and not have their heart stolen by these precious characters. Charlie is the cutest bean and Nick is an actual angel. I loved them both. And I was pleasantly surprised that Alice Oseman could elicit so many feelings from me with so few words. Seriously, these boys must be protected at all costs.

The plot was so awkward and adorable. This is the quality content I want from books, please and thank you. I definitely want to pick up volume two!

The only small issue I had is that I would have loved for the illustrations to have been in colour. I just think they could have been so gorgeous. But even in black and white, it was wonderful and I would definitely recommend it for lovers of contemporary and those of you who might be a bit nervous about trying graphic novels!

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Are you a fan of graphic novels? Let me know if you’ve read this one! x
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‘Horizontal Collaboration’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Horizontal Collaboration, a graphic novel originally published in French, written by Navie and illustrated by Carole Maurel. I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels but they’ve been catching my eye lately (particularly thanks to bloggers with great recommendations, such as the lovely Sara!) So I took a chance on this one when I was offered a copy for review and I’m really glad I did.

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synopsis

“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair.

In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution.

This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.


my thoughtsAs I mentioned in my introduction, I haven’t read many graphic novels but I’m going to do my best to review this one well because it deserves it. I’ll start by talking about the art itself since obviously that is a large percentage of the story.

Before I even started reading, I flicked through the pages and I was struck by the beauty of the colour scheme. The neutrals and muted tones really added to the book and allowed the story to shine. There were, however, pops of brighter citrus colours at appropriate moments, which I loved because they added emphasis to important plot points.

The illustrations were also really beautiful. I’ve photographed a couple of my favourite spreads for you to see!

Now in terms of the story, I thought this was a very unique take on a period of history that has been written about often. I have a soft spot for WWII fiction but I acknowledge that the market is somewhat saturated. However, this is the first time I have read about that era from this perspective. Navie captures the innocence of children, the hardships of war and the complexities of loveless marriages with nuance.

I will admit that I would occasionally lose my bearings while reading, as the scenes would change very quickly and without warning. I don’t think it helped that I was tired while reading though! I was able to sort things out in my mind without too much difficulty and didn’t have any problems understanding what was going on.

Finally, I enjoyed how the characters’ stories all interlinked and I was impressed with the amount of empathy the author and illustrator were able to evoke from me in such a short amount of pages. The ending was very poignant.

I definitely recommend this one to fans of WWII fiction! Thank you to the publisher and Anne Cater/Random Things Tours for providing me with a free copy!

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If you’re interested in this one, keep an eye open for the rest of the stops on the tour!

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Can you recommend some more graphic novels that I should try? I think I’ve got the bug now! xsignature (2)