Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

Great slice of life graphic novel that provides a glimpse into everyday life in the region during that time. The story is told through a child's eyes making the political fervor surrounding them seem somewhat muted but still present, often in the background via the stunning visuals. Riad's parents are well-developed characters with complexities that are captured subtlety and artfully. Full of humor and a poignant memoir of family and place. A great read-alike for fans of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (especially if you enjoyed the family dynamics more than the politics), or anyone who enjoys memoirs and/or glimpses of life in this region. Four out of five stars. Back to Book Reviews  

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

This book was clever, original, surprising, and all-around awesome. The art is manga-style and the story reflects many manga elements while also playfully mocking them. Katy is a likable but seriously flawed character whose bound toward disaster when she discovers she can "erase" yesterday's mistakes. As you might guess, things get out of hand as she erases mistake after mistake and weird stuff starts happening. Though a somewhat cliche premise, the humor is spot-on and Katy proves to be an irresistible protagonist as she rushes headfirst into something she doesn't understand. I couldn't put it down. Five out of five stars. Back to Book Reviews

Goop Clean Beauty by the Editors of Goop

There is some great information in here and then other information that is either nonsense or just didn't land with me. The chapter on cosmetics was really strong in terms of providing a straightforward and concise breakdown of ingredients to avoid in beauty products; however, there's a lot of emphasis on the Goop line of beauty products, so it's definitely also a vehicle to market those products. I looked into the prices of the Goop line and it's something like $100 for a bottle of face moisturizer, so it's beauty for rich ladies as far as I'm concerned. At the same time, they recommended other brands and it didn't necessarily feel like they were shoving their products in your face. This chapter does give you the knowledge and know-how to identify safe products meaning you can use what you learn to find cheaper, natural products. The chapter on nutrition and food had misinformation and seemed like a cursory, shallow intro to the concept of digestive health; for example, it discussed alkaline v acidic diets despite that being an erroneous concept. It has a list of foods to avoid, but then no information about why they are to be avoided. Many of the editors preach colonics, which I've been told you really should not do on a regular basis (every GI ever has told me this is a bad idea). Another thing I just don't get is why they all love Tracy Anderson's exercise so much. I've tried her videos and the movements are odd and make me feel like I'm going to pull something accidentally. I don't feel very challenged by her workouts. The last chapter were the editors demoing hair and makeup

Stiff by Mary Roach

I listened to the audiobook and it was fascinating. She got me interested in topics I hadn't ever considered and I'm completely sold on donating my body to science now. The ethics involved in using cadavers for research was eye opening. The attempts at head transplants and the research done on heads after decapitation was so nuts and so riveting. This book got me thinking about the wild world of medical research and how much I'd probably enjoy a book about that as long as it had Roach's humor in it. That was definitely the highlight of Stiff; Roach's humor throughout kept things light and engaging despite a somewhat gruesome topic. Four out of five stars. Back to Book Reviews  

Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb

If you're looking for motivation and inspiration to pursue something you've always wanted to, this is an excellent book to read. The author, Steve Kamb, is the man behind the website NerdFitness.com and the book utilizes strategies known to assist with habit formation and life change, while challenging people to live their dreams. The emphasis on imagining your best life and then assessing the practical measures needed to get there was eye-opening and gave me a game plan that is realistic and achievable. He does have a chapter discussing the Paleo diet and CrossFit as he is a follower of both. But, mostly, he's not preaching you do exactly as he does; rather he's providing examples that help illustrate the road map he used to go from a nerdy, skinny homebody to an adventure-seeking, muscled man of the world. There is a huge emphasis on gaming and superheroes, so, if that's not your thing, this book might get on your nerves. But, the tie-in there is that his system for establishing the habits that can help you reach your goals is a gamification of sorts. Four out of fives stars. Back to Book Reviews Save Save Save

Paper Girls, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

I figured I'd love this title because it is by Vaughan (author of personal favorites such as Y: The Last Man and Saga), but I have mixed feelings about it. The plot is bizarre and a little confusing, however, I get the feeling you are supposed to hang in there as more will slowly be revealed. A young girl on her paper route encounters some teenage boys that threaten her. A group of paper girls that travel together come to her rescue and then things really start to get weird. People in costumes (though Halloween has just ended), disappearing neighbors, and attacks from unknown foes against the girls ensue. The artwork had a perfect retro vibe (the story is set in 1988) and I paused a lot to appreciate it. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars. Appropriate for about 9th grade and older; there is frequent use of mature language. Back to Book Reviews Save

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is a graphic novel about a spunky, hard core evil villain's sidekick of the same name. In the world Stevenson has created there are villains and good guys; everyone seems to know their role and how to play it to often silly, comical effect. The villain Blackheart finds Nimona show up on his door step one day ready to work with him to destroy the hero Goldenloin. Blackheart is alarmed by Nimona's tactics and her shapeshifting powers, but finds in her a loyal friend. This irreverent tale is hilarious, heartwarming, and shows comic genius you just don't usually see in an author as young as Stevenson - she's definitely a talent to watch! Back to Book Reviews

Descender, Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

Really solid sci-fi comic/graphic novel from one of my favorite comic writers, Jeff Lemire. Massive robots called Harvesters have killed the majority of the population of the planets united by the United Galactic Council (UGC). A young boy companion robot may be the link to understanding what the Harvesters are and where they came from. Many different groups are in pursuit of this companion robot, named Tim-21, and the first volume mostly focuses on his journey from his original mining planet where all of the inhabitants were killed. The set up of this world and the action-packed plot have made me very excited for volume 2: Descender, Machine Moon. Check Catalog

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Tucholke

This book was beautiful, terrifying, enchanting, and awful. I could not put it down! It's told in three voices by teens living in a rural mountain town not unlike Bend, Oregon. Wink is a mysterious, pixie-like girl with a head for stories. Poppy is a cruel, popular beauty queen used to getting what she wants. And Midnight is the nice guy stuck between them. None of them are perfect, all of them make bad choices, all of them want to be loved. It's the story of one summer and many mysteries. April Tucholke is an Oregon author, which I always like! If you read and liked Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver or anything by Nova Ren Suma, then you may love Wink Poppy Midnight! Check Catalog