Book Review: Pilu of the Woods – Mai K. Nguyen

Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods.

There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.

This is one of the sweetest and most beautiful graphic novels I have ever read. Initially drawn to the art this gave so much more, including lyrical prose. Ultimately this is a story of family, friendship and dealing with grief. While Willow and Pilu come from different worlds, they are such a sweet pair and I can’t say no to a doggie sidekick!

The art style itself is unique and while it will appeal to a younger reader as a woman in her mid-twenties I was enchanted by the illustration. Additionally, the use of colour to show the woods felt real to me. I read this at a point where I needed something to fall into and escape – something I was easily able to do.

I will warn you going in that you might get a little emotional reading. I wanted to reach in and give Willow the biggest hug. The way that Nguyen has shown emotion and the complicated feelings that are being experienced from the perspective of a child is nothing short of incredible.

It’s no surprise that I gave this 5 stars. This really touched my heart, it’s not a complicated story, however, it can speak volumes. I really hope that there is a follow-up because I can see the relationship and story really growing and evolving. This is a wonderful book, I can’t stress enough how much I adore it.

A huge thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for giving me a chance to read this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities – Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

We live in an incredibly diverse world, one that should be celebrated. That said, to celebrate it we must first understand the people in it. The LGBTQ+ community are, in my experience, wonderful people but often people don’t know or understand much past the L (Lesbian) and G (Gay) parts of the spectrum. That’s where this graphic novel comes in.

When searching through Netgalley, I came across this graphic novel and was curious as to how educational it would be. It covers such a wide spectrum to help people understand the way that people identify. Importantly, this also covers the difference between sexuality and gender – something many get confused.

I’ll admit, when I was younger I didn’t know much about Transgender people and the variations of gender before I was 18. It wasn’t something that myself or anyone close to me had gone through. Of course, I understood about identifying as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual but beyond that, I had a lot to learn.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about complicated topics without being bogged down in history and politics. While those things are incredibly important, they can seem very overwhelming. This is a good place to start and is easy to digest for a beginner.

I gave this a huge 5 stars. This is a really accessible graphic novel that could educate a lot of people. The fact that this is a little different and has fantastic art style adds to the experience of reading. Being taught about gender and sexuality by snails? Why not. Honestly, why not? This would be a great gift for someone who wants to learn more but doesn’t know where to start.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

What I Read in April!

Another month, another stack of books I’ve devoured. This month I wanted things I could get through because I was struggling to concentrate but I still managed 8 books and almost all of them were incredible.

First up was Red Clocks which I have been waiting to read forever and it was so worth it. This is set in a future USA, abortion is banned, IVF is banned and so is single parenthood. We follow four women as their lives are impacted by these laws. It was a 4.5 star read and review to come soon. #MeToo is a collection of poetry that just felt so real to me, these were incredible poems and got 4 stars from me. And another collection of poetry the second from Amanda Lovelace, the witch doesn’t burn in this one. This is the second in a serious about the magic of women, a 4 star read, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first but it’s still a brilliant read.

 

Next up I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell this was a strange but brilliant non-fiction book look at the 17 brushes with death, it’s absolutely fascinating and got a well earned 4 stars. The next one I’d seen spoken about on Youtube and it had such a huge impact on me, Everywoman is about feminism, UK politics and is a rallying cry which means it got 5 stars from me. I also read my advance copy of Holly Bourne’s new adult novel How Do You Like Me Now which, in total honesty disappointed me and only got 3 stars.

 

 

And finally, Saga. I could have picked this up years ago and I’m kicking myself. This series is amazing we have some brilliant characters and interesting plot and beautiful art. So far, so amazing and 5 stars for volume 1 and volume 2.

What were you reading in April? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday Seven: My To Be Read Pile

Now it’s getting colder and days curled up in blankets are more acceptable I thought I’d share some of the books on my To Be Read (TBR) pile. There’s a lot more than this, but these are some I’m planning to finish in the next few weeks.

A Clash of Kings – George R.R. Martin 

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It’s been a while since I finished the first Game of Thrones book so I thought it was time I should get stuck into the next one in the series. After all, Winter is coming.

Shrill – Lindy West 

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A fab feminist read, because I always need a good book from a kick-ass woman on the go.

The Wicked and The Divine: Rising Action – Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator), Matt Wilson (Illustrator)

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This is one of the weirdest graphic novel series’s that I read and I’m SO excited, can’t wait to get this read!

Hello Me, It’s You –  Anonymous, edited by Hannah Todd 

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I requested this from the publisher, mostly because I’m interested in what other people would say to their younger selves. I really hope this is as good as I think it’s going to be.

Belzhar – Meg Wolitzer

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A young adult novel that has something to do with Sylvia Plath? Sign me up!

In Order to Live – Yeonmi Park 

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I don’t know a lot about North Korea. I’m hoping that Yeonmi’s account, which I’ve heard only good things about, can teach me about what it’s like for the people.

Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan

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I’m always interested in reading other people’s accounts of their lives with mental illness. Susannah’s book was recommended to me on Goodreads.

What’s on your reading list? Let me know in the comments below!

Forbidden Planet Haul

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When working in London yesterday I was only about 20 minutes away from one of my favourite shops and I had my fellow comic and pop hunter not far away so I put two and two together and headed for a good old Forbidden Planet Haul. Now, I know that I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to Forbidden Planet, so I only let myself in there every now and again for a haul. Enjoy!

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Cedric Diggory Funko Pop 

I’ve been after Cedric for a while now, people have been selling him for silly prices because of the Underground Toys sticker (stickers are a big deal in the pop collecting world), but I managed to pick him up in a very beautiful Harry Potter section. IMG_8563

Maz with Lightsaber 

I knew I wanted to get a Maz figure, I didn’t know there was one with a lightsaber. This one is a little different and because I’d never seen it before I popped it in my basket.

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Stark Direwolf and Jon Snow Funko Pop 

If you’re friends with me on Goodreads, you’ll know that I am currently making my way through the Game of Thrones series. I’m loving so many characters, particularly Jon, Arya and Tyrion. I’m only on the first book so I’m excited to see what happens (even though I do know that secret from the end of season six) but I do have a soft spot for Jon and the Stark’s.

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Spider Gwen, Mockingbird, Harley Quinn SS April Fools, Archie IMG_8566

Suicide Squad (Harley Quinn one off), Spider-man Deadpool, Steve Rodgers Captain America (Variant), Black Widow

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Nemi and Star Trek trades. 

Nemi reminded me of the comic book strip from Kerrang magazine growing up and as it was in the sale I thought I’d give it a go. I also saw the latest Star Trek movie on Monday after seeing the other two and so I’m getting into Star Trek and wanted to take a look at the graphic novels that are being produced.

My Top 10 Graphic Novels

For the past year or so I’ve fallen in love with comic books and graphic novels. In particular I like reading about badass women, alongside the classic superheroes like Superman, Captain America and Spiderman. It’s nice to read these books that have the amazing story with the bonus of incredible art. My friend Joe introduces me to so many amazing comic books and I’m in the shop every weekend seeing what’s in my subscription box. Mostly I like to collect trades, which are usually 6 issues of a series in a volume, known to everyone as a graphic novel or a trade for those who collect. I thought I’d share with you 10 trades that I absolutely love at the moment and it was so hard to just try and pick 10!

 

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Captain America: Civil War comes out in cinema’s later this year and so it was only right that I read this beforehand. My friend Lucy got my this for christmas and I really enjoyed seeing all these amazing superheroes as well as the angle of the plot. Now, I don’t know how much of this is going to stay in the film but I’m hoping it’s close because this really was a great book.

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I’m a huge Star Wars fan, watching the trilogy last year changed my life. So when I found out there was going to be a six part mini-series featuring my favourite princess I had to own it. It shows Leia as we all love her, smart, clever and not taking crap from anyone. Ther artwork and storyline was fantastic and I recommend it to all my friends who like Star Wars. I’ve read a few Star Wars based ones and this was definitely my favourite.

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This was the first trade I bought and so far the goriest. Lady Killer is about a 1950s housewife who is also a killer, but when the tables are turned she needs to protect herself. A really different and imaginative story and great artwork, waiting for the next installment is driving me mad.

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I picked this up after browsing. I wanted to read some more Captain America and I was told this was good. It’s written after 9/11 and kind of looks at how Captain America reacts to what has happened and how it affected the everyday people. Really enjoyed it and it was well done especially because of the subject matter was handled.

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This started my obsession with Harley Quinn. I know a lot of people who don’t like this comic and don’t really like Harley as a character but I absolutely loved her. The first one I read so quickly and just admired how Harley came to life, I don’t think it was as well done in the second and I’m get to read the third but I’m definitely a Harley fan for life, whether or not Suicide Squad does a good job with her is yet to be seen.

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The first comic book I bought when I was 11 was of a variant of Spider Girl (different to what she is now) so Joe recommended me Spider Gwen, it was the first time I subscribed to anything. I don’t know what it is about her but I can’t get enough (and she’s getting her own Funko Pop this year!!). It’s set in an alternate universe where Gwen Stacey has Spider Powers and is trying to get over the death of Peter Parker, a great spin on Spider Man.

 

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I’m putting these two together because they have the same Author, whom I absolutely love. These are different series’ but similar in the way they deal with Gods and Godesses mixed in with the real world. The Wicked and The Divine focuses on a group of Gods who are bought back to earth every 90 years, they set the tone and popular culture for the world, but in two years they are dead. Phonogram is a musicians dream, focusing on Britpop in the 90s, Goddesses and mentions brilliant music. Seriously have worship vibes towards Kieron Gillen.

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Codename Baboushka is about a Russian Spy, it’s fairly new at the moment having only just completed its first 6 issues but the first part was brilliantly done and left on an interesting ending. Baboushka isn’t my favourite but I did really enjoy it, hence why it’s here.

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Again Black Magick is just starting out. It’s really hard to explain without someone reading it, not because of spoilers but because it’s so early in that I’m not even 100% sure that I know what’s going on. There is dark magic that is returning that seems to be after Rowan, who’s also a police officer. I think there’s still a lot to be explained but even with the little knowledge I have I’m really keen to keep reading, meaning it’s definitely a keeper.

I hope you enjoyed these and as always I’d love your comments below and any recommendations!

Sunday Seven: This Weeks Favourites

Hello and welcome back to Sunday Seven because I’m now well enough to sit and think of seven things without getting confused and stressed. Ah the wonders of the human body. For the majority of Sunday Seven’s in the future it’ll be a round of up my favourite things or things that have interested me this week, so here we go!

1. H&M’s Compact Foundation in Soft Sand 

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As you all know I’m not a beauty blogger, although my Twitter followers were very enthusiastic about the thought of me doing a what’s in my make up bag post. I got into make-up very late and foundation has always been something I worried about, then I found this beauty. It’s light, stays on and gives a good coverage, particularly covering up my bad skin where I’ve been ill and dehydrated. The best thing is that it also only costs £7.99, you can find it here.

2. Sunshine this week! 

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I finally got to see some sun this week, this was taken yesterday when it was pretty faint but today I actually got warm because it was sunny, hooray! Winter is nearly over! Winter is way too miserable when Christmas is over.

3. Celebrating the great people I go to uni with 

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You might have seen my instagram (@chloemetz_ if you want to follow each other) or my post about the KU Talent Awards this week. It may be my third time attending but I’m constantly amazed at the incredible people I go to uni with and that I’ve been considered one of them multiple times. If you want to read about what I got up to have a look over here.

4. Positive quotes at home

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I’m a sucker for positive quotes around my home. Or positive quotes in general, I mean I even have one tattooed on me. I already have a few postcards like this but when I saw these in my local Paperchase I had to buy them because they’re just little pick me ups for when I’m feeling down. There are loads of different ones in store but they also have some online.

5. The Wicked and The Divine Vol. 2.

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I’m a big comic book and graphic novel fan and so after reading the first in the series I was desperate for the second and now after finishing the second in one sitting I’m desperate to read the third. The series can be a little confusing at times but I love it and I’m seriously in love with the artwork too.

6. Creme Egg McFlurry

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According to my online research they are back THIS WEDNESDAY get excited. Creme eggs in general are my weakness at this point in the year, probably because they are only available for a certain period of time and mixing that with a McFlurry is heaven to me. So you’ll know where to find me Wednesday afternoon.

7. Playing shows with the boys. 

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For the first time in a long time I got to play a show with the boys. Not only did I have a great time performing, I also got commented on how much better I’m looking!