1. Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
Boy meets Boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. I literally smiled ear to ear the entire time reading this. I love a graphic novel and I love a good 'Boy Meets Boy' love story, so I was here for this! Nick and Charlie were just what I needed during quarantine. The illustrations are adorable, the story is relatable, and the dialogue is fantastic. I flew through it in one sitting and I did the same with the next two volumes. Alice Oseman where have you been all my life? Keep these coming, please!
2. Heartstopper Volume 2 by Alice Oseman
And the cuteness continues. Seriously, this series can brighten the dullest of days. Equally as charming and addictive as the first. We get to know Nick a lot more in this volume. As things intensify between him and Charlie, we get an insight into his home-life and friendships. Unfortunately, I had to wait until lock-down ended to get my paws on volume 3! But it was well worth the wait.
3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3: The Titans Curse by Rick Riordan
"Five shall go west to the goddess in chains, One shall be lost in the land without rain, The bane of Olympus shows the trail, Campers and Hunters combined prevail, The Titan's curse must one withstand, And one shall perish by a parent's hand." - Rick Riordan. In the third installment of the Olympians series, Percy and the gang face their deadliest challenge to date... the prophecy of the Titan's curse. I love how this world and these mythic characters expand in each book. This series just keeps getting bigger and better. Side note: It was revealed recently that Rick Riordan will be collaborating with Disney+ to create a Percy series. Hallelujah! Those movies did not do this series justice. Better yet, each book is set to get its own season!
4. Wonder Woman and Justice League America Volume 1
In 1993, Wonder Woman finally got her turn as leader of the JLA, whether some of her male peers liked it or not. Women in power and the ridicule they often face are strong themes throughout. In my opinion, Diana is the most equipped to lead. She is the embodiment of truth, justice & equality. This awesome volume explodes onto the page as the team go up against the Extremists while responding to a human rights crisis in a remote African nation. It also features the captivating mystery of the two Guy Gardners! The 90s artwork is everything! And I love that this iteration of the league featured more obscure characters like Bloodwynd and Maxima. It's a politically charged rollercoaster, packed with twists, murder and mayhem. I can't wait to dig into Volume 2. *This volume collects 10 issues: Justice League America #78-85, Guy Gardner #15 & Justice League America Annual #7
5. Wonder Woman and Justice League America Volume 2
The action and drama continue in Volume 2 of Wonder Woman and Justice League America, as the team face a threat so powerful, they must combine forces with Justice League International and Justice League Task Force to save humanity. But with victory comes a deadly price. This epic battle ends in the funeral of a beloved hero. My only critique of these volumes is that they are surprisingly light on Wonder Woman considering she’s the title character. These large ensemble comics feature so many characters, it must be a nightmare trying to juggle and balance them all. So, I can cut it some slack.
6. The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs, PHD
My Feelings about The Velvet Rage are as complicated as it's subject matter. It was a fascinating read, and while I agree that it holds a lot of truth, it also makes sweeping generalizations which I found quite polarizing. It aims to portray each stage of a gay man's life and to help him navigate his way out of shame and self-destructive behaviors by offering practical advice and strategies. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It certainly evokes strong feelings and opinions. I may not have related to all of the material, but I found it interesting. You can also read my full review for this title in My Life in Books.
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Book Of Fours by Nancy Holder
I needed a comfort read during quarantine, and Buffy has always been my security blanket. In trying times, I simply ask WWBD? (What would Buffy do?) The Book of Fours was written by Nancy Holder and first published in 2001. This story is set during Buffy's third season. When an ancient evil known as the Gatherer is manifested through a quartet of disasters using the four elements, earth, wind, water and fire, Buffy and Faith join forces with their deceased predecessors, Kendra and India, in order to defeat it. My favorite aspect of this novel was the inclusion of Buffy's immediate predecessor, India Cohen. This is something that was never explored on the show. Also, I love Kendra, so I was here for any extra scrap of backstory I could get my hands on. I wish this story had focused more on Whedon's exceptional ensemble of existing characters, and less on newly introduced minor characters and villains. However, if you're a BTVS fan in need of a little nostalgia nuzzle, this blast from the past should hit the spot.
Pick of the Month: The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs, PHD
(Even though my feelings about it were complicated, it challenged me, and I appreciate that.)