I had to request an ARC of this novel when I saw the title and cover and learned that it’s set in Jamaica. And I was so excited when I was granted access to it through NetGalley. 😀
My thoughts on it below are my own and are about my experience reading the novel.
October 20, 2020
Twelve-year-old Clara lives on an island that visitors call exotic. But there’s nothing exotic about it to Clara. She loves eating ripe mangos off the ground, running outside in the rain with her Papa during rainy season, and going to her secret hideout with Gaynah–even though lately she’s not acting like a best friend.
The only thing out of the ordinary for Clara is that something happened to her memory that made her forget everything that happened last summer after a hurricane hit. Sometimes things come back to her in drips like a tap that hasn’t been turned off properly. Other times her Mama fills in the blanks…only she knows those aren’t her memories and it is hard feeling like she is not like everybody else.
But this summer is going to be different for Clara. Everyone is buzzing with excitement over a new girl in the village who is not like other visitors. She is about to make big waves on the island–and give Clara a summer she won’t forget. (Goodreads)
When Life Gives You Mangos was a good read and a quick one, too. It’s about a 12-year-old girl named Clara, who is struggling to come to terms with a tragic incident that left her unable to remember what happened last summer.
The story is fast-paced, but it gives us insight into Clara’s everyday life living in a small village in Jamaica where everyone knows each other. There’s a strong sense of community throughout, which is emphasized when a hurricane hits and the community turns out to help each other and rebuild.
The story is told from Clara’s perspective, so we get caught up in the drama and disagreement between Clara and her best friend, Gaynah. Since we are stuck with Clara, who’s upset with her friend for much of the story and focuses on only the negatives of Gaynah’s personality, I kept wondering why and how Clara and Gaynah became best friends. Clara focuses too much on the negatives between them for me to believe that they are best friends. It also turned me off Clara a little.
As the story progresses, we realize that Clara is struggling with something and it’s not until later, almost at end, that we realize what it is. There’s a big plot twist that I certainly did not see coming and made me reconsider almost all I’d read up until that point. It made the story a little more interesting and a little sad as well since it touches on grief.
In addition to all that, I enjoyed the story because it’s set in Jamaica and is authentic to the setting. From the small-town feel of Clara’s village to the children’s fear of entering Ms. Gee’s yard because she will find some chore for them to do. I also like that Clara loves to surf and that her parents are understanding, or at least try to be understanding and patient, regarding her fears and what’s troubling her. I love the little dugout area where Clara and Gaynah go to eat mangoes and the children’s visit to Eldorath’s house, where they dress up in costumes. I even like the mention of Koffee’s big tune, Toast, although it was brief, lol! It was a good read, it was quick, and I liked it.
A contemporary middle grade novel set in Jamaica about a girl who’s unable to remember what happened the previous summer as she tries to avoid her grief. It was a good read and very fast-paced.
I’m attracted to stories about witches and have bought a few of them. However, I haven’t read as many of them as I thought I had, so these aren’t my favorite books about witches but instead are books I’ve read that have witches in them.
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
The is the second book in the Witches subseries of Pratchett’s larger Discworld fantasy series. I’ve only read two of Pratchett’s books so far, this and Equal Rites, which is the first book in the Witches series. I enjoyed them. They are humorous and quite entertaining. I think I prefer Wyrd Sisters of the two. In it, witches plot to overthrow a tyrant.
Wytches, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, illus. by Jock
A horror comic book about a family that relocates to New Hamshire following a tragic incident and learn that there’s something weird about the woods there. The story is a bit creepy and is perfect for Halloween. I liked the father-daughter relationship in it and the colors used for the illustrations.
The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
The first in a middle grade fantasy series about a girl who becomes an apprentice witch in a small, backwater town after flunking her witch exam. I liked the story but thought it didn’t adequately explain some things or show how certain relationships develop. However, I would like to read the second book. The story was interesting.
Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1 by Kamome Shirahama (illus.)
The first in a manga series about a girl who loves magic and wants to become a witch and is able to do so after a fateful accident. I love the illustrations and was very entertained by the story. I’ve since bought all the volumes in the series (about six) and intend to continue with it soon.
Sylvania, #1 by Kristin Kemper (illus.)
A sweet YA fantasy webcomic about three sisters who are tree witches. The star witches are seeking volunteers to help them terraform Mars and one of the sisters volunteer for the trip. I liked the story. It has a slow start, but it kept me interested and I liked the art. I hope the artist continues with it. It seems that they’ve been on a break from it for about a year now. You can read the webcomic here.
I took a break from the bookshelf tour last week because I was unprepared (Monday crept up on me), but I’m back with it now because…
I have more comics to you! 😀
I kind of jumped headlong into comics once I started getting into them. The format really appeals to me and, shortly after getting into comics, I began to give in to my love of picture books as well and started to collect them (that’s coming up on the next shelf).
With comics, I’ve realized that I tend to lean toward fantasy stories (no surprise there) and stray away from superhero comics, which is a bit weird since I enjoy the Marvel movies. But I just prefer stories that aren’t about superheroes, and I enjoy seeing what creators do with the comic book format. So far, I keep collecting and not reading, so I really need to schedule a time where I focus on nothing but comics.
Anyway, the second bookcase:
We’re on the second row of the comics shelf, which is the fifth shelf from the bottom or the first one from the top. Let’s check it out:
Isn’t it beautiful? (Takes a guess at how many comics I managed to fit in this row.) Look at all those comics waiting for us to explore them, lol!
I got the square of polka-dots on the right from one of my favorite art exhibits, which was of Yayoi Kusuma’s work at the Hirshhorn museum. It was such a wonderful exhibit but, man, tickets were hard to come by. The event was free, but tickets would go in a matter of seconds when they dropped. I counted myself lucky to see the exhibit.
The square of polka-dots (I don’t know what these things are called. It looks different depending on how you turn it) is of Kusuma’s iconic giant pumpkin sculpture, see below.
SITTING ON TOP
Illegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin, illus. by Giovanni Rigano
Your Black Friend and Other Strangers by Ben Passmore (illus.)
STACKED: LEFT TO RIGHT
Ajala by Robert Garrett, illus. by N. Steven Harris & Walt Msonza Barna
Rivers of London, Vol. 1: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel, illus. by Lee Sullivan
The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes, illus. by D.J. Kirkland
Black, Vol. 1 by Kwanza Osajyefo, illus. by Jamal Igle
1602: Witch Hunter Angela, Vol. 1 by Marguerite Bennett, illus. by Stephanie Hans
These were the only comics I used to read when I was younger. The New Riverdale updates it some. This volume introduces us to the characters. The story is about what led to Archie and Betty breaking up. I was bored by it but loved Staples’s illustrations (of course). Wu and Fish did a good job too. I’m tempted to unhaul it since I didn’t like the story, but… this is the first Archie comic I’ve owned that’s not the usual small ones so… I don’t know.
Mystery Society by Steve Niles, illus. by Fiona Staples
A horror comic about a family that relocates to New England following a tragic incident. They take up residence in a very interesting mansion. But despite their move, it seems that their past is still haunting them. I really enjoyed the story and liked the art. I intend to continue with the series (both the comics and the TV show).
Locke & Key, Vol. 2: Head Games by Joe Hill, illus. by Gabriel Rodriguez
Afar by Leila del Duca, illus. by Kit Seaton
The Autumnlands, Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw by Kurt Busiek, illus. by Benjamin Dewey
A fantasy comic about a boy named Mikey who disappeared into the woods, which rips his family apart. A year later, a man pops up claiming to be Mikey, a hero returned from a world called Terrenos. I really enjoyed this story, liked the art. I intended to continue with it too.
Birthright, Vol. 2: Call to Adventure by Joshua Williamson, illus. by Andrei Bressan
The Black Monday Murders, Vol. 1: All Hail, God Mammon by Jonathan Hickman, illus. by Tomm Coker
A sci-fi, Western comic set on a backwater planet that gets a new sheriff — Clara Bronson, who’s a single mom. This volume is about Clara getting used to the town and its the citizens. I liked the story. The underlying tension between the aliens and humans appealed to me: humans colonizing planets, displacing aliens and discriminating against them. An interesting story, but I wasn’t a big fan of the art. I intend to continue with it and have already gotten volume 2.
Curse Words, Vol. 1: The Devil’s Devil by Charles Soule, illus. by Ryan Browne
Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth by Rick Remender, illus. by Wes Craig
East of West, Vol. 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman, illus. by Nick Dragotta
Fantasy comic book about a 40-year-old woman stuck in a 6-year-old’s body in fairyland. It’s a fun, silly story that appealed to everyone except me, and I wasn’t a fan of the bright, cartoony illustrations. I was considering to unhaul this, but I’ll reread it first. I think the hype around this one spoiled it for me when I first read it.
Isola, Vol. 1 by Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl, illus. by Karl Kerschl & M.Sassy.K
Kabuki, Vol. 2: Dreams by David Mack (illus.)
Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender, illus. by Greg Tocchini
The Monstress comic book series are among my favorites. It’s a fantasy series with some horror elements about a young woman named Maika Halfwolf who has a monster instead her. Maika is trying to find out more about the monster as well as her mom. I love the story. It’s like an epic fantasy. It’s very detailed and has a slow build. I also love the illustrations, which are beautiful and have a lot of art deco influences in them. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The fifth volume was recently published, so I’ll get caught up on this soon.
This one is based in the Marvel universe and is about Lunella Lafayette, a preteen genius who befriends a dinosaur that was sent through time to protect an orb that Lunella calls an Omni-Wave Projector from prehistoric savages. I got this because the protagonist is Black and wanted to read some comics with a protagonist who’s not White, but I was bored by it. The only thing I liked was the art. I will unhaul this.
A fantasy comic book set in a college town populated by fantasy creatures (like werewolves, centaurs, etc.) as well as humans. The protagonist, a werewolf barista named Julie, has a disastrous first date with Selena when a magician casts a spell on Julie’s friend Chet, a centaur. The story is about the characters trying to reverse the spell. I liked certain parts of the story, but I think it suffers from pacing issues. I LOVE the art, so despite the low rating I gave it, I will hold onto this and might even read the next one in the series. It has some fun moments, and I like the diverse and positive LGBT representation in it.
Motor Crush, Vol. 1 by Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr (illus.), & Cameron Stewart (illus.)
Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughan, illus. by Cliff Chiang
A historical fiction, paranormal comic about the historical figure Rasputin. The first volume mixes Russian folklore with some historical facts to give quite a supernatural background for Rasputin. I didn’t like the art much, but the story certainly caught and held my interest.
Rasputin, Vol. 2: The Road to the White House by Alex Grecian, illus. by Riley Rossmo
Rat Queens is one of my favorite comic book series. I absolutely loved the first volume. It’s a fantasy comic about a group of female mercenaries of diverse backgrounds: “a hippy smidgen thief” (a gnome, I guess — now that I know some DnD stuff, lol!), a “hipster dwarven fighter,” a “rockabilly elven mage,” and an “Atheist human cleric” (lol!). The story is humorous, and the illustrations in the first volume are great. The illustration style changes about halfway through the second volume, I think.
Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe, illus. by Tess Fowler
Saga 🙂 It’s another of my favorite comics and it’s so popular that almost everyone has heard about it. It’s a sci-fi-fantasy mashup about a couple on the run from their respective governments that are at war against each other. The couple have a child together, but both governments do not want this news to be known. Both the story and art are great. HIGHLY recommend.
Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples ★★★★★
Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples ★★★★★
Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples ★★★★★
Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples ★★★★★
Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples ★★★★☆ ½
Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples ★★★★☆
Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples
Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples
The Tithe, Vol. 1 by Matt Hawkins, illus. by Rahsan Ekedal
Velvet is another favorite. It’s a historical fiction, mystery comic about a woman named Velvet who works at a spy agency as a secretary. One day, she’s framed for a murder. The story is about her trying to find out who the killer is. I loved it. I was easily hooked on the story and quickly liked Velvet. I didn’t care much for the art.
Velvet, Vol. 3: The Man Who Stole the World by Ed Brubaker, illus. by Steve Epting
A horror comic about a family that moves to Litchfield, N.H., after a traumatic event and learn that there’s something evil in the woods outside the town. I liked the story and loved the father-daughter relationship in it because we hardly get stories about great dads. I wasn’t a big fan of the art, but I love the colors used. I wonder if there’s a volume 2 of this comic. I’d like to continue with it.
A steampunk comic about a young woman who runs a printing press and uses it to publish a newspaper that exposes the corruption in her flying city, Amperstam. I liked the story but didn’t like the art.
New Spring by Robert Jordan & Chuck Dixon, illus. by Mike Miller, Harvey Tolibao, & Joseph Cooper ★★☆☆☆
This is the comic book version of the prequel to Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, Wheel of Time. In New Spring we learn what set Moiraine and Lan on their quest to find the Dragon Reborn that eventually led them to Emond’s Field. I gave the novel the same rating. I wouldn’t recommend this comic book version. The story, art, and typography are all inconsistent. I’ll unhaul this. I don’t know why I even got it.
The Valiant by Jeff Lemire & Matt Kindt, illus. by Paolo Rivera & Joe Rivera
Harbinger, Vol. 2: Renegades by Joshua Dysart, illus. by Phil Briones, Barry Kitson, Lee Garbett, Khari Evans, Pere Pérez, Matthew Clark, Alvaro Martínez, Dimi Macheras, & Brian Thies
Harbinger, Vol. 1: Omega Rising by Joshua Dysart, illus. by Khari Evans, Lewis LaRosa, Matthew Clark, Jim Muniz
Faith, Vol. 1: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser, illus. by Francis Portela
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, Vol. 1: Risen by Robert Venditti, illus. by Raúl Allén & Patricia Martín
The Delinquents by James Asmus & Fred Van Lente, illus. by Kano
Daytripper by Fábio Moon (illus.) & Gabriel Bá (illus.)
Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham, illus. by Lan Medina
The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, & Malcolm Jones III
Is’nana: The Were-Spider by Gregory Anderson-Elysee, illus. by Walter Ostlie & Lee Milewski
Fullmetal Alchemist is my favorite manga. I watched the anime first and loved it and decided to read the manga to get familiar with that form. It’s a YA sci-fi-fantasy story about the Elric brothers who are trying to regain their original bodies after an experiment backfired resulting in the older brother, Ed, losing an arm and a leg and the younger brother, Alphonse, losing his entire body. Luckily, Ed was able to attach Alphonse’s spirit to a suit of armor. The story and art are fantastic and the characters are all great. I HIGHLY recommend it.
I learned about this book from an Unbound Worlds post recommending sci-fi and fantasy books for Christmas. I’d link it, but Penguin Random House removed that website and now all blog posts, no matter the genre, appear on the main website… something like that. Anyway, that Unbound Worlds post convinced me that I NEEDED Klaus: How Santa Claus Began with this statement:
“And really, who doesn’t love a Santa who crafts all of his toys during an extended drug trip brought about by a hallucinogenic stew?”
Lol! I mean, yo! After reading that I had to find out what’s up with this Santa. So I bought the book (back in 2017) and waited 3 years to read it, lol!
Klaus: How Santa Claus Beganby Grant Morrison, illus. by Dan Mora
I love the cover of this book. The girls on it look ready for a battle. I like the fierce expression on their faces and, once I’d gotten my hands on a copy of the book, I liked the silver foil used for the title and the faint water snake flowing through it.
When I saw the book at the Lion Forge booth at the 2019 ALA Conference, I knew I had to get it because of the cover, so I did and recently read it.
Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval (illus.), transl. from the French by Lucas Marangon
YA Fantasy; Horror
Mila is a solitary teenager ready to put another boring summer vacation behind her until she meets Agnes, an adventurous girl who turns out to be a ghost. And not just a regular ghost, but one carrying the essence of an ancient fallen king and a mouth full of teeth that used to be his guardian warriors.
What are your favourite books that either have ghosts or talk about ghosts?
I don’t consider all these as favorites, but the following are books I’ve read that have ghosts in them.
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (illus.)
A YA paranormal comic book about a girl named Anya who’s struggling with her cultural identity and body image. She encounters a ghost one day when she fell down a well and is haunted by it, which was fun at first until she realizes that the ghost is not as nice as it initially seemed.
I wasn’t swept away by the story, but it’s a decent read that’s perfect for this time of year.
I picked up Sobek on a whim. I was at Small Press Expo (back in 2019 when we could still attend such events in person) and was checking out the artists and publishers’ booths while desperately trying not to buy everything in sight. Then I saw the cover of Sobek and could not look away. That giant crocodile lured me over as well as the glint of gold winking at me from the cover.
Since then, the comic book has sat on my shelves, but I recently read it and am glad to report that this cover-buy paid off. I enjoyed it.
Sobek by James Stokoe (illus.)
Life is pretty good being a gigantic crocodile god: spend your days lazing on the riverbeds of the Nile while your devotees shower praise and juicy offerings upon you. But Sobek’s idyll is broken and he must limber into action when a distraught priest relays news of affront and vandalism from the followers of Set. An all-new, unmissable stunner from James Stokoe. (Goodreads)
Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend. However, for this post I’ll instead discuss the final chapters of Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. SPOILERSbelow.
Here we are at the end of this group read for Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. It was hosted by Imyril of the Wyrd & Wonder crew. However, each week, a different blogger would post discussion questions for participants to answer. For this week (the final week of the readalong), Lisa at Dear Geek Place is our host. Check out my thoughts on chapters 80 to the end below!
Phèdre risks everything yet again on a chance to finish what she started, and keep her word to Ysandre. Joscelin does the same trying to thwart Selig, if not stop him. What were your thoughts about their last confrontation with the Skaldi warlord, and what it means for their relationship?
It’s been a while since I’ve made a TBR because I never follow them; but fall is here!! It’s one of my favorite seasons and since I’m in a good mood and have already had two pumpkin spice lattes since October started, I thought I’d do one of my favorite blogging things — make a TBR!!
For me, fall is from October to about mid-December, so I’ll try to focus on these books for that time. I’ve already started a few, so I’m optimistic that I’ll complete at least 2 of the books on this list.
I’ll also participate in Spooktastic Reads, which is a laid-back reading and blogging event hosted by the Wyrd & Wonder crew over the 13 days leading up to Halloween, and will read some of these for that event too.