Historic Female Friends in Bosom Buddies by Violet Zhang, Sally Nixon (Illustrator)

Historic Female Friends in Bosom Buddies by Violet Zhang, Sally Nixon (Illustrator)

Featuring 25 remarkable and inspiring female friendships throughout history, Bosom Buddies is an illustrated celebration of these empowering relationships between women. From the formidable Trung Sisters and friendly rivals Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf to powerhouse partners Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, writer Violet Zhang captures the love, challenges, encouragement, and adulation of female friendships across time. With winsome illustrations from illustrator Sally Nixon, Bosom Buddies is a tribute to gal pals everywhere. Great as a Galentine’s Day gift or to share with your best girlfriend, just because.

Bosom Buddies arrived in the mail as a saving grace for the coming Shabbat, since I didn’t have anything left to read (save for dipping in and out of my worn copy of Fangirl) with my local library going through renovations.

Also perfect timing for this book, on female friendships through the ages, to land in my hands, considering the movie I recently watched that expresses the tiny nuances of a friendship between Marlo and Tully, which I rave all about in my film review for Tully here.

The first thing I noticed upon picking up Bosom Buddies is the effort put into producing the book: the feel of the paper in your hands as you flip from page to page and the clear jacket bounding it make for timeless pieces. And I’m just grateful such a neat concept exists in the book world.

I do want to note that at the very start of my reading experience, the entries of the female friends come across a bit Wikipedia-esque, but since they were so quick to go through, I overlooked this tiny hindrance. The essays did provide many unknowns with a prompt speed.

However, since this is about the grandiosity of friendship, which is so personal, I would’ve enjoyed that aspect to be expanded by offering more intimate tales, like an inside joke or an experience the women shared together; something I couldn’t find on my own through googling their names. I wanted someone to write about them through extensive research so that I wouldn’t have to do it on my own.

I did then appreciate the end of each essay giving voice to the women by sharing their quotes. Though it sometimes felt like the entry beforehand and the quote shared after had no shared correlation.

So I was also glad to see that the more I read on, the more my requests were being answered. Featuring remarkable girlships such as:

  • Virginia Woolf & Katherine Mansfield (1910s)
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  • Oprah Winfrey & Gayle King (1970s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 3
  • Amy Poehler & Tina Fey (1990s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 1
  • Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson (2000s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 4Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

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Expected publication: August 14, 2018

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Review: Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

Review: Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

I read it for the art… and to satisfy my curiosity from a couple of years back regarding this book.Exquisite Corpse 3- bookspoils

Zoe isn’t exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn’t recognize world-famous author Thomas Rocher when she stumbles into his apartment…and into his life. It’s also why she doesn’t know that Rocher is supposed to be dead. Turns out, Rocher faked his death years ago to escape his critics, and has been making a killing releasing his new work as “lost manuscripts,” in cahoots with his editor/ex-wife Agathe. Neither of them would have invited a crass party girl like Zoe into their literary conspiracy of two, but now that she’s there anyway. . . . Zoe doesn’t know Balzac from Batman, but she’s going to have to wise up fast… because she’s sitting on the literary scandal of the century!

Exquisite Corpse is the epitome of a graphic novel set to feature gorgeous artwork with essentially no depth to the storyline. We have flat, unmotivated characters whose actions are never explored; it’s somehow a given that it’ll make sense for a complete stranger to let a girl into his apartment to pee simply because she rang his intercom…Exquisite Corpse 6- bookspoils
Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the max. No person, especially a stranger, talks like that. 

Exquisite Corpse perfectly embodies those clichéd French novels all about Oh, Love French sigh that I’ve been warned about. It checks pretty much every mark from the mistreating old boyfriend to the oh-so-romantic new love interest to the out-of-nowhere mature ex-wives to Lolita-esque relationships (literally have way too many examples of this I’ll share below). The warnings weren’t for naught. So it became quite humorous when the novel tried to take itself too seriously.

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This right here illustrates their imbalanced relationship. They don’t view each other as equals, and the writer dude (such a bland character I don’t even recall his name) is beyond patronizing.

The adults are having a conversation while sending the little girl off to bed:

Exquisite Corpse 8- bookspoils BLEH.

Exquisite Corpse 7- bookspoilsThis 22-year-old needs a therapist, not someone twice her age preying on her.

Also: The clear contrast established between her old boyfriend and this writer dude was so forced, and it made all the “good” the writer represented (listening to her, complimenting her, etc.) seem like he was reading from a script or something he read in a magazine. IT’S NOT REAL. The artificial interactions bothered me all too much for a book that’s supposed to be contemporary.

The ridiculously blown-out aspects of this book made it so I could never fully sink into the storyline. At one point I thought we were on the brink of a breakthrough when the main character finally realized what a douche the writer was and ran from him, but their relationship shouldn’t have happened in the first place so there wasn’t a lot of room for positive feelings. But then even that tiny revelation ruined itself at the very end with another lolita-esque relationship. S T O P.

I really wished the main character would’ve gotten some time alone to realize and reflect on what direction she wants her life to head into, instead of turning from one bad relationship to the other. I just felt sorry for this girl who clearly craves belonging, so she’s willing to settle with anybody who can provide even a tiny slice of it. Don’t settle, please.

I’ll end my review on a more positive note by featuring some of my favorite pieces: Exquisite Corpse 5- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse 2- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse !- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse 4- bookspoils

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Review: Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.

cucumber quest 1-- bookspoilsI nearly jumped with joy at the sight of this book on my library shelves, which made quite the show for my little sister accompanying me that day. This is just the perfect read to share with your younger sibling.

What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction?

World domination, obviously.

The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight.

Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour?

Sure, why not?

It didn’t take all too long for this book to impress me at once. Cucumber Quest is the perfect combination of featuring visually stunning art, hilarious one-liners, and fully-fleshed characters.cucumber quest 2-- bookspoils THAT LAST PANEL MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD.

I appreciated how this book veered from the usual “heroic” arc and tackles often-used (ridiculous) tropes* from fairytales with creative and playful jabs. Cucumber Quest not taking itself too serious was a highlight, for sure. Also, the self-empowerment in Almond, the little sister, impressed me, as well, because who said little sisters can’t be the hero of the story. Through her character, the idea of a knight in shining armor is spun on its head.

Again, I have to emphasize the rich, dreamy, and vibrant coloring which makes for quite the visual to hold in your hands. I mean:cucumber quest 3-- bookspoils

cucumber quest 6-- bookspoilscucumber quest 7-- bookspoilsAnd:

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*Tackled tropes include:

  • The villain making those long speeches before acting with his fists.cucumber quest 4-- bookspoilsFirst, that “instant replay” is epic. Second, Almond is a hero.
  • Making the mission harder for the sake of Drama.cucumber quest 7-- bookspoils

Her self-confidence is both aspiring and troubling because it costs them dearly.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55There’s more to the story than meets the eye, and I’m forevermore shocked that it left of such a cliffhanger. Essentially this first volume builds up the ground for the upcoming adventures awaiting this group, and I’m keen on diving in.

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Review: Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

Review: Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

Aquicorn Cove 1-- bookspoilsNot only does this book feature mind-bending gorgeous works of art, it holds so much meaning in its pages. Usually, books that evoke such truly beautiful pieces tend to not have an exciting storyline to tag along, but this is where Aquicorn Cove comes in to shake up the status quo.

I was already keen on the premise alone, courtesy my unshakeable love for the ocean, but the fact that Aquicorn Cove also addressed the harms in fishing ocean creatures and the dangers of plastic had me practically cheering out loud. WHOO!!Aquicorn Cove 7-- bookspoils

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This is one of those reviews were words needn’t be written because the art speaks for itself. I mean:
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Aquicorn Cove 5-- bookspoilsThis stilled my mind from all racing thoughts.Aquicorn Cove 2-bookspoils

Aquicorn Cove 6-- bookspoilsThe beauty and power of that first panel stopped me cold, for some reason.Aquicorn Cove-- bookspoils

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I zoomed through this short read without even trying because IT’S JUST THAT GOOD.

One last thing: Aquicorn Cove knows how to evoke real emotions, make characters feel completely real, and seamlessly captures intricate details that had a calming effect on me.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: October 16, 2018

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Review: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Review: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Real Friends 12-- bookspoilsI’ve had my eye on this graphic novel memoir set in the 80s for awhile now, so I was beyond keen on getting my reading on. I sped through this thrilling ride in one big whirlwind.

When best friends are not forever . . . 

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group―or out?

This book, to be honest, made me feel utterly frightened for my nine-year-old sister. Like, what kind of fresh hell is going on in the American education system where the amount of bullying Shannon went through in the fourth grade was completely overlooked to the point of oblivion.Real Friends 9-- bookspoils

This is frightening… The amount of pain and suffering school can bring to a child made me that feel sure about my decision to homeschool.

I was then also gobsmacked by the abuse Shannon experienced at the hands of her older sister, looking to alleviate her own pain by putting it all on this little girl. I mean, if it’s unacceptable to hit a nine-year-old stranger, then it sure as hell is unacceptable to hit your own sister.Real Friends 1-- bookspoilsI’m still shellshocked at this panel.Real Friends 10-- bookspoils This poor kid experienced utter terror in her own home. Shannon ran to hide just at the sound of Wendy’s voice and that had me nearly in tears.

Please, treat your younger siblings with all the love and respect you have.

Shannon’s perspective gave us a very keen look on her girlhood, and it made me understand certain outbursts kids might have with a more clear eye. Like, when she was “playing” with her siblings and starts crying when caught, not at her loss but at the overwhelming build-up of emotions from feeling left out. It made me remember that kids tearing up isn’t usually about the situation at hand but about something much deeper in their heads that only they have the knowledge about. And it’s our jobs to show them that they can trust us enough to share their thoughts.Real Friends 13-- bookspoils On a more uplifting note, Real Friends has some incredible art that I’d like to highlight by sharing a few favorite panels of mine:Real Friends 3-- bookspoilsReal Friends 4-- bookspoilsReal Friends 6-- bookspoilsReal Friends 7-- bookspoilsReal Friends 11-- bookspoils

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Local Friendly Ghosts, Grief, and Solitude

Local Friendly Ghosts, Grief, and Solitude

Sheets 2-- bookspoilsSheets illustrates the determination of a young girl to fight, even when all parts of her world seem to be conspiring against her. It proves that second chances are possible whether life feels over or life is over. But above all, it is a story of the forgiveness and unlikely friendship that can only transpire inside a haunted laundromat.

This book is also quite a looker; I only wish that the storyline would’ve managed to stir me just as much as the art did. I mean, just take a look at the below:

Sheets 4-- bookspoilsThe amount of dedication it takes to capture the intricate details in one page is mind-boggling.

The color pallets in here make for a visually stunning graphic novel, which means that I have to share my many, many favorites:
Sheets 6-- bookspoilsI seriously can’t get enough of the above. Every time I look, it stirs me anew.Sheets 7-- bookspoilsThere’s so much truth in the last panel.Sheets 8-- bookspoils

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Just your local friendly ghost telling ghost stories:Sheets 12-- bookspoils

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Sheets 17-- bookspoilsI think this last one might be my favorite. I can’t stop staring.

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Overall, I’d say that though the nonsensical plot felt a bit lacking, in comparison the art style had me wholeheartedly committed to the story. SO MUCH VISUAL INTRICACIES.

Also, fittingly, this song came on loop during my reading:

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: August 28th, 2018

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Sheetsjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

The Zionist Comic Book by Amram Prath, Amnon Danker

The Zionist Comic Book by Amram Prath, Amnon Danker

In honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day, it seemed right to venture into this massive anthology, set 20 years prior, made by Israeli cartoonists and comics, including Dudu Geva, Moshik Lin, Zeev Engelmir, Friedel Stern, Shlomo Cohen, Avner Katz and many others.This book’s massive scope is beyond what I was first expecting and branches off in so many directions as we follow this chronological bundle of history lessons that epitomize our nation.

I do have to note that, though, I enjoyed the majority of these stories, the ones leaning towards the end of the book had me aggravated because of the indifference (and utter disrespect) coming from the artists from a mile away.

Putting that aside, I’d like to highlight my favorite spreads, incorporating mixed medium illustrations that had me looking around the page at every detail for hours:

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55Lastly, Koolulam’s performance of “Chai” to commemorate Holocaust survivors and their families was on a loop in my mind during my reading: