The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin (Author), Noah Hayes (Illustrator)

A graphic novel about a basketball team that will endear even those who yell “yay sports”, The Avant-Guards is a charming, fun, beautifully illustrated story that will leave you wanting the next volume as soon as you close the back cover!



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indiebound

Published: 3 September 2019

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Genre(s): Graphic Novel | LGBT+ | Sports

When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.

As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

From Carly Usdin (Heavy Vinyl) and artist Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer, Goldie Vance) comes an ensemble comedy series that understands that it’s the person you are off the court that matters most.




Representation: sapphic relationships (past/present); non-binary character (Jay); transgender character (Nicole); casual racial diversity



content warnings - Copy


Panic attacks


what i enjoyed


The dual point of view, from Charlie the new transfer to Olivia the leader of the Avant-guards, played out well. As the strongest personalities in this volume, their points of view set up the framework the brought the reader to the others, who brought a lot of joy and variety to the group.

I thought there was so much energy that played off one another. Tiffany, Ashley, Nicole, and Jay were separate entities that were still something of a family in this story. There were some “rough” edges, such as the romantic history between Olivia and Nicole, but these edges were still good in a way because it made for interesting interactions.

The basketball aspect is easy enough to follow for someone who isn’t a huge sports fan (i.e. me lol) and whatsmore it’s still enjoyable. The first game between the Avant-guards and their league opponent was fun and sportsmanlike. I actually look forward to seeing more action when generally I’m a “go sports” type person.

The cliffhanger is tricky because I thought it was good in terms of being what it was, but also I didn’t enjoy it because now I have to wait until next February for the answer to that email? How am I supposed to do that? *weep for me*


what i didn't enjoy - Copy


There’s not a lot to not enjoy about this! I suppose it was rather short, so there’s that? 😦 I can’t wait for the next volume, especially with that ending.




I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.


RetellingAThon Prompts & Team Announcement


Thank you to everyone that has signed up for the first Retelling-A-Thon. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun and it wouldn’t be that without all of you.

A special thanks, of course, to Tay from Frayed Books for creating Retelling-A-Thon and a shoutout to Jen from jm_bibliolater for creating the banner you see above. 🙂

Now, on to the important things you’ve come here for today!

Team Shakespeare!


There are a lot of Shakespearean works from which to draw inspiration for retellings. For the RetellingAThon prompts, I chose these five plays specifically: Macbeth, Hamlet, Twelfth Night,, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo & Juliet.

Two spots are left available for Reader’s Choice. You can choose two more titles based on the prompts or ANY Shakespeare retellings you can think of!

Over the next couple weeks before the readathon starts I’ll be sharing some title recommendations that will fit these prompts, but don’t think they’re to restrain you! As long as it fits the prompt, no matter the genre/format, it’s fair!

Do Not Say the Name: A retelling of Macbeth

Talk to the Skull: A retelling of Hamlet

Witty Fool or Foolish Wit?: A retelling of Twelfth Night

Foolish Mortals and Faeries: A retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Star Crossed Lovers: A retelling of Romeo & Juliet

Readers Choice x2

Retelling-A-Thon Week 2 Prompts

A brief reminder: RetellingAThon runs from August 1-31st. Each week is dedicated to reading retellings in the theme of the week. Please see the schedule below for each week’s theme and host. 🙂

August 1st-8th

Host: Tay at Frayed Books


August 9th-16th

Host: Harker at The Hermit Librarian


August 17th-24th

Host: Umairah at Sereadipity

Fairy Tales

August 25th-31st

Host: Jennifer Mitchell at JM_Bibliolater


All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta (Author), Savanna Ganucheau (Illustrations) – Review

Baking, sweet boys, and a summer of slow burning romance. What will these months bring for Ari and Hector? There’s only one way to find out.

Step up to the counter at Krykos Family Bakery and say hello. 🙂



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indiebound

Published: 29 January 2019

Publisher: First Second

Genre(s): Graphic Novel/LGBT+/Young Adult/Romance

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.




Rep: Greek-American MC, Samoan MC, M/M relationships (ex/current)


content warnings - Copy


Mild ableist language, off screen death of a grandmother, ild assault mentioned, (spoiler – highlight between tags to display) fire & related loss of property (end spoiler)


what i enjoyed


The sheer enjoyment that Hector got from baking was sweet to watch. The way that it rubbed off on Ari and helped not only their relationship, but Ari’s inner turmoil was a benefit to the story.

Ari’s friends from high school who were in his band, the ones that he thought he’d be moving to Baltimore with, the evolution on their relationship was definitely an interesting one.  There was something to be said for the was the band’s friendships changed and some parts irrevocably so over the course of the story. It felt like an honest portrayal of real life relationships rather than an idealistic one that is seen a lot. However, Ari’s friendships did at times feel like more of a background plot line, taking a seat to Ari and Hector’s blooming relationship, so I wasn’t quite pleased with that handling of it.

Savanna Ganucheau’s art was a perfect choice to complement the Kevin Panetta’s text. The softness of the linework, the shading and the color choices, complemented the tender moments when Ari and Hector were the bakery, letting their guard down as they baked, or even in some of the harsher moments, when Ari was fighting against his father’s wishes for him or even his own confusion about the future (a familiar fear that many readers may identify with).


what i didn't enjoy - Copy
Ari’s bandmates were split between supportive and very not. Cameron for instance? Oh boy. Cameron was a jerk who didn’t much care about the other members of the band besides Lauren, with whom he had a more personal relationship. Not liking him, though, wasn’t the problem, exactly. It was that the band members took a backseat to the Ari/Hector plotline and their intermittent appearances felt awkward at times. Even though there were two that ended up being friendlier and more essential, Cameron and Lauren felt very underdeveloped aside from Cameron’s jerkiness.


to sum it up - Copy


The slow burn romance, the questioning of one’s future, the break up of friendships, and excellent art tying it call together…Bloom has a lot to recommend it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would suggest picking it up so y’all can watch Ari & Hector fall in love for yourselves.






I received a copy of this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.


#RetellingAThon Announcement Post

Tis the summer of Readathons in these here parts!

Apparently taking a break is only sort of taking a break for me. ^^; While I’m scaling back on some commitments in order to rest, I am trying to read more for enjoyment to scale back on stress (possibly the source of some of the trouble I’ve had recently).

What has that resulted in recently? Readathons up the wazoo! The most special of all being…


The RetellingAThon!


Created by Tay and Missy from Frayed Books, the ReTellingAThon is about reading books (retellings, of course) that fall under one of four categories: Classics, Fairy Tales, Mythology, or Shakespeare.

Each week we’ll be reading one kind of retelling, a host will be sharing their recommendations for the following week, and social media will be abuzz among the hosts with updates. It’s pretty laid back overall, but if you have any questions be sure to ask away. 🙂

Be sure to visit everyone’s blog and don’t forget to sign up and choose a team!


Sign Up Here!


I’ll be hosting Team Shakespeare and look forward to seeking out the different interpretations of the Bard’s work.





Tay at Frayed Books

Harker at The Hermit Librarian

Jennifer Mitchell at JM_Bibliolater

Umairah at Sereadipity



RetellingAThon Schedule



August 1st-8th

Host: Tay at Frayed Books



August 9th-16th

Host: Harker at The Hermit Librarian



August 17th-24th

Host: Umairah at Sereadipity

Fairy Tales


August 25th-31st

Host: Jennifer Mitchell at JM_Bibliolater




Need Retelling Reading Ideas?


Starting next week #RetellingAThon will be releasing prompts for each team to aide you in creating your TBRs. In the meantime, think about what kind of retellings you might like to read. What team would be right for you? Personally I hope you’ll join Team Shakespeare, but whatever feels best for you is what is right!

EpicReads did a Epic Chart of YA Retellings in 2014 that has some great ideas y’all can use as a jumping off point. There have been a lot since then and this readathon isn’t limited to one age group of books, so feel free to think outside of YA.






All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

The Hermit Librarian Hosts: Xpresso Book Tours & Zara West’s Under the Skin Blog Tour


A billionaire bridge builder

A gifted thief

A ruthless criminal

Can he save her before it’s too late?


Under the Skin by Zara West
Publication date: June 6th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller

Born poor and raised on the streets, celebrated bridge builder and billionaire, Mic Vargas is knee-deep in the construction of a trouble-plagued bridge from Manhattan to New Jersey. He really can’t afford to take in a stray thief and fall in love with her. But when a beautiful, snappy-tongued, illegal immigrant literally drops at his feet, he becomes consumed with saving her and her family from poverty.

Cat burglar, Lena Correr stopped trusting anyone long ago. Not even a rich, handsome billionaire with good intentions can break through her defenses. At least, not until an East Coast crime boss threatens her family and forces her to steal for him. Mic vows to help her and her family escape the hell they are in. But will the man Lena is coming to love succeed, or will he end up dead at the hands of an old enemy?



Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks



Excerpt from Under the Skin


Mic stopped to let a snowplow pass. Doing street art was taunting the authorities enough. Did his thief know what she was risking? Being caught making graffiti was a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. But stealing property was considered grand larceny and could land you in prison for the long haul.

He didn’t wish jail time on anyone.

What she had stolen from him alone would get her locked up for years, and he assumed he was not her only mark. If she kept it up long enough, she’d get caught. Everyone got caught eventually.

She’d been lucky it was he who’d rescued her. He didn’t want that beautiful girl to spend her life behind bars.



about the author - Copy



Zara West loves all things adventurous and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Zara spends winters in New York where the streets hum with life, summers in the Maritimes where the sea can be cruel, and the rest of the year anywhere inspiration for tales of suspense, mystery, and romance are plentiful.

An accomplished artist by training and passion, she brings a love of art to every book she writes. When not marooned on an island or chasing after Greek shepherds, Zara tends her organic herb garden, collects hats and cats, and whips up ethnic dishes for friends and family. Learn more at


Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram





$10 Amazon gift card & an e-copy of Under the Skin


A Rafflecopter Giveaway



Tour Schedule


July 1st

The Avid Reader – Interview
A Dream Within A Dream – Excerpt
diary of a wannabe writer – Review

July 2nd

Turning Pages – Review
The Hermit Librarian – Excerpt
From the TBR Pile – Review
The Magic of Wor(l)ds – Interview

July 3rd

Reviews by Jaye  – Review
Viviana MacKade – Guest post
Live Through Books Blog – Review

July 4th

Book Reviews by Steph – Guest post
Read with Me – Excerpt
crazy kalm – Review

July 5th

Books and Life – Review
Don’t Judge, Read – Interview
A British Bookworm’s Blog – Review
Book Lovers 4Ever – Excerpt






All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.