The Midwinter Witch Review

The Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

The acclaimed graphic novel world of The Witch Boy and The Hidden Witch comes to a thrilling conclusion in this story of friendship, family, and finding your true power.
Magic has a dark side . . .

Aster always looks forward to the Midwinter Festival, a reunion of the entire Vanissen family that includes competitions in witchery and shapeshifting. This year, he’s especially excited to compete in the annual Jolrun tournament-as a witch. He’s determined to show everyone that he’s proud of who he is and what he’s learned, but he knows it won’t be easy to defy tradition.

Ariel has darker things on her mind than the Festival-like the mysterious witch who’s been visiting her dreams, claiming to know the truth about Ariel’s past. She appreciates everything the Vanissens have done for her. But Ariel still craves a place where she truly belongs.

The Festival is a whirlwind of excitement and activity, but for Aster and Ariel, nothing goes according to plan. When a powerful and sinister force invades the reunion, threatening to destroy everything the young witches have fought for, can they find the courage to fight it together? Or will dark magic tear them apart?

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I was very excited to read this and had it on preorder. The two previous books had me hooked and I wondered where this one was going to take us and what interesting adventures were coming.

The focus of it is Ariel, and the internal fight she has on being a good with rather than just evil and ruining everything. I wanted to enjoy it as much as the other two, but there was a lot of making the adults do things that didn’t go very well with their characters for the sake of making the plot a bit more intense and more confusing. I didn’t want to try to rethink my whole view of a character that I thought was good for the last two books and is now giving bad vibes (worse part, the reason for the shifty behaviour is silly, something a child might do not an adult and not the character that does). So I guess, that made it less good to me.

I still liked seeing their friendship finding new spaces and figuring out what is best and how to go along with having a new witch that is adept next to Aster. Good competition. There is still a lot of Aster having to prove himself which detracted a little from Ariel’s story. I can see the reason behind wanting to explore that part, but it meant you split the story too much between Ariel and Aster and their conflicts and tried to pack it all one book. Maybe it would’ve been better to have it be a set of four books rather than a trilogy. That way there’ll be more space to explore both things, including Ariel’s past and family and all that.

The big reveal about Ariel’s family is too short and rushed, which felt like a shame. However, their friendship between the three of them is still strong and they’re a good team of friends.

The art is still good, the world was nice to go back to, I just wished it had been done a little better, as it left me feeling like “oh, it finished already? This is the end of this story/trilogy? Really? That’s it?” rather than with a bang or at the very least some internal satisfaction of seieng htem grow into themselves (which they kinda do, but it is rushed and it feels a little forced).

Still, the trilogy itself is fun, I enjoyed it and it was an interesting concept. Wish there were more to come.

The Okay Witch Review

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

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This book that I sadly haven’t seen anyone raving about is a hidden gem. It’s a graphic novel with cute artwork, and lots of coming into your magic, plus small town vibes and school shenanigans!

Moth loves everything that is magical and witchy, but that means she’s a little out of the main circle in school. However as she makes a new friend because she is friendly, she accidentally comes into magic powers. And boy, they are interesting and scary and also, magic is hard!

Not to spoil anythign but Moth lives in a small town that was really against witches, there is a talking cat, and there is a school play, Moth’s friend trying to impress his father (mysterious character that the father is), and then Moth’s own mother is keeping some really interesting secrets of her own.

But none of that will stop Moth from trying to learn how to do magic and use it better than by accident! She is one determined girl and this is a fun read full of joy, adventure, crazy stuff and bucketfuls of magic and history.

Highly recommended if you like empowering books about preteens/teens coming of age and finding powers, if you like magic, and friendship and family. It’s a really lovely book.

Black Canary Ignite Review

Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee

Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants, who she is, and where she’s going. First, she’ll win the battle of the bands with her two best friends, then she’ll join the Gotham City Junior Police Academy so she can solve crimes just like her dad. Who knows, her rock star group of friends may even save the world, but first they’ll need to agree on a band name.

When a mysterious figure keeps getting in the way of Dinah’s goals and threatens her friends and family, she’ll learn more about herself, her mother’s secret past, and navigating the various power chords of life.

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This was an impulse buy because the superhero name sounded familiar but I couldn’t remember much and it looked cute.

We meet Dinah as she is singing for a band rehearsal, she and her two friends know they want to win and are ready to rock the world! However there is this weirdo mysterious person who keeps appearing at ood moments and that seems very interested in Dinah.

Things progress quite fast in the story but it was easy to read, didn’t feel like I was missing much even if there was a lot of dumping of mum’s past (wish it had been done a bit better). The artwork felt very fitting to the story and like it captured Dinah and her family and Gotham’s feel well, there wasn’t a mismatch between art and story and it didn’t feel like one was carrying the other but rather complimenting each other nicely and to me that is always a really nice ting and sometimes missing in other graphic novels.

I enjoyed this graphic novel, had fun, wanted to know more about Dinah after the story ended (would read another one of them) and felt satisfied with it, which is a good thing and kinda what I want of this type of book. It only doesn’t get 5 stars because it didn’t blow me away. But definitely enjoyable and fun to read.

Cheshire Crossing Review

Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir and Sarah Andersen

The three meet here, at Cheshire Crossing–a boarding school where girls like them learn how to cope with their supernatural experiences and harness their magical world-crossing powers.

But the trio–now teenagers, who’ve had their fill of meddling authority figures–aren’t content to sit still in a classroom. Soon they’re dashing from one universe to the next, leaving havoc in their wake–and, inadvertently, bringing the Wicked Witch and Hook together in a deadly supervillain love match.

To stop them, the girls will have to draw on all of their powers . . . and marshal a team of unlikely allies from across the magical multiverse.

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I was intrigued by the fact that this was written by Andy Weir, and then it is illustrated by sarah Andersen, so I bought it and decided to plunge in. Review are mixed so I went in carefully.

For starters, it is a graphic novel and it appears to be directed to younger teens. Alice, Dorothy and Wendy have been “dumped” into this boarding school due to their odd behaviours. They have been labeled many things, so it is is a slightly refreshing take to find that this school is more lenient even if it involves a “nanny” that is on the ball.

The Alice of this book reminded me a lot of the Alice in American McGees games. She is dark and Wonderland is a friend and foe, all in her head in a way. Wendy and Dorothy are a lot less familiar to me, not that I haven’t read the books but rather I have less fondness for a “beyond the original story” version of them.

However, they didn’t seem too out of character, just a “now what do we do with ourselves?”. There’s a lot of shenanigans and Alice definitely doesn’t help much make it easier, but regardless, I found it a relatively easy read.

If you haven’t read the stories behind the three girls, then you miss a lot of the “nuance” of the story, which adds references to their original stories over and over (the red poppy field from Oz, the melting “witches”, all of Neverland, Tinkerbell, Cheshire cat, etc) I don’t want to say all of them as some are subtle and some not so much, and I enjoyed the subtle ones.

At some point I read The Martian but that’s all I remember and so I didn’t have expectations exactly for this book. I think this helped me enjoy it more, it is a simple tale in that it jumps, does a lot of plot holes and continuity but it is all about the fun, the adventure and adding as much as possible into it as I think there wasn’t really a “sure, there will be more” but more of a “one and if we’re super ultra lucky, more?”

Still, it is enjoyable, fun references. Quick read of a graphic novel and probably ticks a lot of boxes for readathons.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Review

Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ben Clanton

Narwhal’s obsession with his new favorite food leads him into hijinks and hilarity in the third book of this all-star early graphic novel series!

Narwhal and Jelly are back and Narwhal has a new obsession . . . peanut butter! He’s so obsessed he even wants to change his name to . . . that’s right . . . Peanut Butter! Ever-sensible Jelly isn’t so sure that’s the best idea, but is all for Narwhal trying new things (instead of just eating waffles all the time, no matter how delicious waffles are).

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This is the third book in the series and though you don’t need to have read the previous ones, they definitely help! You can see my reviews for the first one and the second one.

As per the previous books, this is ultra cute and sweet. Jelly is trying to find out if Narwhal has tried peanut butter (or several other foods) but Narwhal is in for a surprise and so is Jelly!

Charming, fun, very positive and just overall cute, this book wins and made me giggle and smile as I read it, so I highly recommend it.

Plus it has a narwhal and a jellyfish and they’re friends and there’s loads of waffles, and in this particular one, even some peanut butter cookies and peanut butter in a jar! Yum, now I am getting hungry, so I will finish the review here saying you should buy them all and have them around to give yoursefl a soft smile and some warm feelings when needed. Meanwhile I am off to find a jar of peanut butter…

Grimoire Noir Review

Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch

It tells the story of a town where every woman is a witch, and what happens when one of them goes missing.

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With a name like that, it ewas hard to resist and the artwork caught my eye even further. This was a preorder and it cameon a grey day so it was the perfect read.

The book is a witchy mystery in a town full of secrets where every female (girls at a certain age and women) has some kind fo magic power, but they can’t leave the town or they will lose their powers and may not survive the “barrier” that keeps them in.

It is an interesting world, and it made me wonder if it was worth having magic if you’re stuck to a small town and area? I guess it’d depend on what the people in town are.

The story follows a young man, who’s sister has disappeared, and she was a very powerful witch even if a little bit young. He thinks it is foul play and something is going on, but the police aren’t really helping so he decides to investigate on his own.

As he investigates you get to see more and more fo the inhabitants of the town and the town itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it had a tiny bit of scary but mostly it was trying to solve the mystery of what happened to his sister and why.

The ending is interesting as it can be the end but there could be another book. I hope there’s another but if there isn’t, I am happy a is.

If you like graphic novels, witchy stuff or magic, and/or mysteries in small towns and close knit communities, this is a great one to read.

Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom

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

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?

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Cucumber Quest was one of my birthday gifts I had on my wishlist. One of those I am randomly looking at related to this item things and stumbled upon it.

The main thing about it is that it is cute, it has a nerdy bunny who doesn’t want to be a hero and his little sister that does. Cucumber Quest pokes fun at the cliches. Starting with “you are given this quest, you are the chosen one”, which Cucumber (the nerdy bunny) definitely doesn’t think he is. All he wants is to go to school of magic.

We also have an evil queen bent on world domination! And her lackeys, who are amusing and very much useless, but they made me laugh a lot. There is a princess that is kept captive (and that Cucumber has zero interest in).

And Almond, his sister is super awesome and ballsy. She’s studying to be a knight, and training to do so, but she’s the little sister, so she can’t be the hero, obviously (but Almond will fight you on that, trust me).

It is a fun easy read with lots of food related things and a lot of poking fun at cliches and quests. It made me laugh and also it is adorably cute! I am curious to read the next one.