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Treasure and dragons, Scales & Scoundrels! by Sebastian Girner & Galaad (book review)

book cover of Into the Dragon's Maw (Scales & Scoundrels v. 1) by Sebastian Girner & Galaad. Published by Image Comics | recommended on BooksYALove.com Magic, mystery, peril,
bandits, allies, dwarfs,
elves, dragons, mermaids…

Luvander reluctantly joins forces with three other adventurers also heading for the fabled treasure hidden deep within the Dragon’s Maw caverns.

Hmm… why does she love roast meat and riddles so much?

Who’s the guy stalking them, with that Wanted Dead or Alive poster in hand?

Elves in battle, creatures of water, and beings of fire – time and again, Luvander is asked “Who are you?”

We join her story in volume 1 as the team journeys “Into the Dragon’s Maw,” then go further afield on land and sea with “Treasurehearts” (each volume collects 5 issues of the continuing comic).

Any adventurous blood singing in your veins?
**kmm

Book info: Into the Dragon’s Maw (Scales & Scoundrels, vol.1), Treasurehearts (Scales & Scoundrels, vol. 2) / Sebastian Girner, art by Galaad, lettering by Jeff Powell. Image Comics, 2018.   [author site]  [artist Tumblr] [publisher site] Review copies and cover images courtesy of the publisher.
book cover of Treasurehearts (Scales & Scoundrels v. 2) by Sebastian Girner & Galaad. Published by Image Comics | recommended on BooksYALove.com

My book talk: Meet one who hunts treasure, another seeking a lost brother, a prince looking for adventure, and the bodyguard sworn to protect him on the quest in this graphic novel series set in a medieval world of magic and no little mayhem.

Luvander bows to no one during her ongoing treasure hunt, Dorma brings her dwarven guiding talents to the team, the prince wants to see beyond his kingdom while completing his adulthood challenge, and Koro must stand between him and excessive folly to get him home in one piece.

They traverse a land where dragons fiercely guard their treasure, misfortune takes many a peasant from their family, and bandits eagerly take hostage any well-to-do travelers crossing their territory.

Finding the legendary hidden treasure cave called The Dragon’s Maw is much easier than successfully avoiding its traps and perils – not even a bespelled dragon gives up one bit of its hoard without a fight!

Can Dorma find her brother who also sought to go “Into the Dragon’s Maw”?

What is the strange language Luvander speaks to statues down there?

If they escape with treasures, what curse might the team set loose on the world?

Surprises and secrets continue in volume 2 “Treasurehearts” as more of Luvander’s true self is revealed, the treasure hunters are hunted, and fire battles against the balance of power.

On ghosts, in the laundry – Sheets, by Brenna Thummler (book review)

book cover of Sheets, by Brenna Thummler. Published by Cub House/Lion Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com Mom’s gone forever,
Dad’s drifting…
where did this ghost come from?

Junior high has enough challenges, but now Marjorie has to make sure her little brother eats (not just junk food) and run the laundry business by herself.

Maybe having a ghost around is better than dealing with the local man trying to cheat her out of their house/laundromat!

Find this August 2018 book at your local library or independent bookstore or comic shop.

Any ghosts you’d like to meet?
**kmm

Book info: Sheets / Brenna Thummler. Cub House/Lion Forge, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A schoolgirl in mourning and a tale-telling new ghost unexpectedly meet in this graphic novel that explores endings and beginnings.

Marjorie keeps the family laundry going when her father cannot cope. Never mind that she should be concentrating on her junior high assignments instead of “no starch, get that spot out, I need it today” customers – or Mr. Saubertuck’s demands that she sell out so he can build a yoga spa in their small Pennsylvania town.

Wendell brings a new story to every DYE meeting, but still isn’t ready to share with the other ghosts how he died. Never mind that it’s forbidden to even walk near the train connecting the worlds of living and dead – or to sneak a ride and arrive wind-blown in Marjorie’s laundry.

Ghosts aren’t real! If they were, Marjorie’s mother would have drifted by to comfort her little brother and dad, of course.

So how can Marjorie see little-boy-ghost Wendell?

Why could Wendell get back to the living world?

Why can’t he remember what’s important about this lakeside town?

As Halloween approaches and Mr. Saubertuck pressures Marjorie to sell their home and business, maybe a young ghost with holes in his memory and a young woman with a huge hole in her heart can find a way to heal together.

Can her Sleepless knight find the assassin? by Sarah Vaughn & Leila Del Duca (book review)

book cover of Sleepless, by Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Duca. Published by Image Comics. | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer father dead, a new king crowned.
Her destiny unclear, her life in peril!
O, that she could read the stars as her mother does, so far away!

As a royal daughter, Lady Pyppenia (Poppy to her friends) knows she has little control over her future, but she hadn’t imagined falling in love with her protector!

See the first few pages here (thank you, artist preview service) to meet Lady Poppy, her late father, and the Sleepless knight Cyrenic who swore to protect her by staying ever-awake (burning the candle of his own life at both ends). Her adorable long-eared animal friend Bini has an important role in this multicultural story, too.

If healing now would take away time from the end of your life, would you do it?
**kmm

Book info: Sleepless / Sarah Vaughn, illustrated by Leila Del Duca, with Alissa Sallah and Deron Bennett. Image Comics, 2018. [artist Twitter] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Shadows deepen in Harbeny as assassins target Lady Pyppenia, teen daughter of the late king and Mrebeshi star-reader Amena, under the protection of a magically Sleepless knight.

Each minute that Cyrenic is Sleepless removes time from his life; the strength of his bond to Lady Poppy may weaken his hold on the present as well, just as three attempts are made to kill her!

The new king orders lovely dark Poppy as companion to his pale daughter just arrived from Etland, but can the cousins ever become friends?

Princess Rellen will someday become queen, while Lady Poppy never could – why is Lord Helder wooing them both?

Poppy just wants to leave Harbeny and go back to her mother’s country – what reason does King Surno have for keeping her here?

May the Stars watch over Lady Poppy amid court intrigue, and Time keep her Sleepless knight Cyrenic in the present as his increasing drifts into the past could rob him of full attention to the dangers of now in this richly colored graphic novel collecting volumes 1-6 of the ongoing comic series.

Far from shore on A Sea of Love, by Wilfrid Lupano & Gregory Panaccione (book review)

book cover of A Sea of Love by Wilfrid Lupano, illustrated by Gregory Panaccione. Published by Lion Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com Snatched from his fishing waters by a factory-fishing-ship,
Adrift on the wide ocean in such a small boat,
the old man sees land ahead – but which land?

When he doesn’t return that night to their small coastal town, the fisherman’s wife goes searching for him, consulting the marine authorities, a soothsayer, and her own heart.

Join them on this wordless adventure/voyage/love story with scary and hilarious sidetrips!

Are you ready to travel to recover someone or something that you love?
**kmm

Book info: The Sea of Love / Wilfrid Lupano; illustrated by Gregory Panaccione. Lion Forge, 2018.  [artist site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A Breton fisherman’s daily routine goes awry when his small boat is entangled by a mega-trawler, sending him on a trans-oceanic adventure far beyond his familiar French coastal waters in this near-wordless graphic novel.

Paddling the life raft to their village, the first mate tells the fisherman’s distraught wife that the huge ship Goldfish has taken the old man away!

How will he survive stormy seas and angry seagulls?
Can she get word to the captain of Goldfish to help her husband?
If the vision in the pancake is correct, he is safe, but how to get there?

Love and devotion, Brittany’s traditional lacemaking, tropical island and revolution, cans of sardines (oh, how he loathes sardines…) – over 200 pages of mishaps, persistence, and waves for miles make this story a keeper.

Teen tales of Love & Profanity, bullying, friendship, and more (book review)

hardback book cover of Love & Profanity, edited by Nick Healy et al. Published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comTeen angst and adoration,
family, friends, love, work –
40 true stories from authors you know and authors you’ll want to meet.

The book’s subtitle explains it all: “a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life” and its subject index includes Stories about… Authority Figures, Being Sneaky, Friends-Bad, Friends-Good, and much more.

You can find this eclectic book at your local library or independent bookstore as the 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback (2 different covers).

What personal story would you be bold enough to share?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Profanity: a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life / edited by Nick Healy, with Kristen Mohn, Nate LeBoutillier, and Lindsy O’Brien. Switch Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Writers share vignettes from their teen years in this collection of autobiographical short stories, ranging from mild to wild, mundane to life-altering, divided into four “Love and” sections – profanity, physics, madness, and apologies.

By including YA authors we recognize like Kwame Alexander, Carrie Mesrobian, and Jon Scieszka alongside new-to-us writers like essayist Joey Franklin and science writer Esther Porter, we see a wide range of teen experiences from different genders and sexualities, regions of the US, economic and social conditions, and family configurations.

The subject index itself portrays teenage life, noting Stories About… Being Helpful (or Not), Bullying, Cars, Crushes, Romance Gone Wrong, Siblings, Struggling to Fit In, Working, and much more.

Geology trek with Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, by Raul the Third & Cathy Camper (book review)

book cover of Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper, art by Raul the Third, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comEarthquake! ¡Terremoto!
It’s all shaking!
…and their cat is missing!

Time to travel again with Lupe, Elirio, Flappy, as the Lowriders follow their friend Genie deep into the earth, down into the realm of Mictlantehcutli, Lord of the Dead.

The same author-artist team brought us Lowriders in Space, which I recommended here. Check out the book trailer videos for both books, too!

How far have you traveled to help a friend?
**kmm

Book info: Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Lowriders, book 2) / Cathy Camper; illustrated by Raul the Third. Chronicle Books, 2016. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When an earthquake frightens Genie cat away from the garage, the Lowriders race to find him, right into a volcano filled with mythic creatures of Central America!

Trickster Coyote tries to keep the friends trapped in a corn maze with his outrageous puns, but they follow Genie’s terrified meows toward territory of legends.

Can impala master mechanic Lupe steer the lowrider safely through Earth’s Outer Core?
How can octopus Flappy distract La Llorona so they can sneak into the Realm of the Dead?
Will Mictlan’s love of bones keep them there forever?

This graphic novel is the Southwest itself, with Spanish words jumping into every sentence like Elirio the mosquito zings around every danger, footnotes and endnotes explaining all like Lupe keeps the Lowriders team working together, and Raul the Third’s art bringing details from the oldest of stories to today’s wrestling and dip-drop lowrider cars.

Oh, such critters in this sketchbook! If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel (book review)

book cover of If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel, by Elise Gravel. Published by Drawn & Quarterly 2017  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWant to become an illustrator?
Ready to step up your drawing style?
Elise says “let out all the ideas” in your sketchbook!

Monsters and microbes and funny mushrooms are some of the “complete nonsense” that this Quebecoise author/illustrator allows herself to draw in her plain black notebook, only later revising them or adding funny stories or spinning them off into her many books for kids.

Her top advice for illustrators-in-training? “Draw all the time!”

Enjoy this sample of Elise’s unique creatures and drawing style here, courtesy of the publisher, then visit your local library or independent bookstore to get your own copy.

What creatures might your doodling reveal?
**kmm

Book info: If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel / Elise Gravel, translated by Shira Adriance. Drawn & Quarterly, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Creatures large, small, and all whimsical fill this notebook by Canadian illustrator and children’s author Elise Gravel, as inspiration for us to draw, draw, draw!

Draw in spare moments, like Elise does – practice and more practice is the way to improve, as you find your own drawing style.
You can imitate illustrations for practice or create crazy ideas and doodles. Some may inspire a story, so write it.

Look at her Floofs and foxes, bunnies dressed in punk rock t-shirts, and “the Incredible Hulk presents his favourite recipes for a romantic dinner” – mashing up ideas can make really funny pictures!

To become a better illustrator, just grab your notebook (any color, says Elise) and keep on drawing!

L is Laurent Linn’s novel about art & self, Draw the Line (book review)

book cover of Draw the Line by Laurent Linn published by Margaret K McElderry Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comStay quiet.
Avoid the bullies.
If it’s only words…

Adrian cannot escape reality with video games and his graphic novel art any longer! He must stand up to Doug and the other thugs whose gay-bashing has gone from talk to violence or he won’t be able to live with himself…if he survives their wrath, that is.

Visit the book’s website here to meet all the characters who’ve moved from Adrian’s real world into the graphic novel that he’d rather live in.

The paperback of Draw the Line releases in May 2017, but grab it now to see how this epic superhero battle on paper turns out in real life.

Standing up for what’s right – who’s next?
**kmm

Book info: Draw the Line / Laurent Linn; illustrations by Laurent Linn. Margaret K McElderry Books, 2016. [book website] [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Adrian escapes from his homophobic rural Texas high school by creating the detailed Renaissance world of gay superhero Graphite in graphic novel art, until violence demands action.

He finally has a date with super-sweet Lev (‘Teen Drag Queen Bingo’ in Dallas – who knew?), when a hate crime shocks their town, and Adrian knows that he must finally speak out and come out – at home and at school – regardless of the consequences.

Can the support of best friends Audrey and Trent keep him strong?
How can the school and town turn a blind eye to Doug’s attacks?
When will Adrian being himself be good enough for everyone else?

Chapters of his graphic novel with Graphite, Sultry, Willow, Oasis, and villainous Thug punctuate this story of becoming true to yourself and standing up for everyone’s rights.

Manga Classics : Emma, by Jane Austen (book review) – matchmaking & secrets

book cover of Emma by Jane Austen & Manga Classics published by Udon Entertainment | recommended on BooksYALove.comMatchmaking – so satisfying!
Seeing friends happy – so delightful!
Her own future so dull – oh, dear…

Emma is sure that her matchmaking will result in happy marriages for everyone in her social circle, but she will care for her elderly father instead of ever marrying. Of course, love has other plans, and secrets, too!

Enjoy the first chapter of this lively manga here free, courtesy of the publisher, then get your own copy at your favorite local library or independent bookstore.

Especially interesting are the information sections about adapting the classic text (available in full here) for use with this graphic format and creating these manga characters as reflections of each personality.

Another in Udon Entertainment’s great Manga Classics series, like Pride and Prejudice (my review here) and The Scarlet Letter (my review here), that will help first-time readers and long-time fans alike become more familiar with the characters and plots of classic stories while reading each author’s original words – back to front, of course.

So, what matchmaking have you witnessed lately?
**kmm

Book info: Emma / Jane Austen; adapted by Stacy King; art by Po Tse. Udon Entertainment, 2015.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Ensuring the happiness of her friends through matchmaking leaves Emma Woodhouse little time for dreaming of her own future through marriage, but secrets and changes add to the complexities of her social circle in the English countryside.

Why is Mr. Fairfax so changeable around Emma?
Who sent Jane a piano as a gift?
What if Emma’s friends all marry and leave her alone?

Jane Austen’s 1815 tale of matchmaking and misunderstandings gains graphic form through Po Tse’s manga art, while Stacy King selects just the right passages from the classic text as each character speaks and thinks.

Birth of Kitaro, by Shigeru Mizuki (book review) – Japanese supernatural Yokai!

book cover of Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki published by Drawn & Quarterly | recommended on BooksYALove.com Last of the ghost tribe yokai,
helped by his magic hair (and dead eyeball dad),
fighting evil beings in Japan!

While I didn’t meet any (obvious) supernatural beings during my recent trip to Japan, I am delighted to share this first volume in a new English translation of Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro series. The Japanese manga master died in December 2015, leaving a legacy of yokai tales and other graphic novels, which Drawn & Quarterly is bringing to western readers.

Visit the publisher’s page here to download a free excerpt of Kitaro’s adventures. Next book in the series arrives soon!

Any supernatural folk in your neck of the woods?
**kmm

Book info: The Birth of Kitaro (Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro) / Shigeru Mizuki; text translated by Zack Davisson. Drawn & Quarterly, 2016. [artist’s obituary]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting evil creatures is Kitaro’s specialty, but the one-eyed spirit boy and his eyeball-father aren’t always sure that the people of Japan are worth battling monstrous beings of legend.

Single-eyed newborn Kitaro digs out of his mother’s grave and quickly finds himself embroiled in struggles with malicious yokai who want to overrun modern Japan.

Can half-cat, half-girl Neko Mutsume help him outwit greedy Nezumi Otoko?
How long will his late father’s spirit animate the eyeball?
What’s the best way to banish a frightful buru-buru haunting the mountain highway?

Kitaro’s wooden geta sandals clip-clop away from each supernatural encounter, and a letter in just the right forest postbox will always bring him back, as these 7 episodes from his earliest manga appearances show. First in a series, with new English text by Zack Davisson complementing manga master Shigeru Mizuki’s well-loved illustrations.

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