Review: Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 3 by Erika Moen & Matthew Nolan

It's all positive! (5 stars)

This was my introduction to Oh Joy Sex Toy and I am totally a fan now. This isn't a fiction graphic novel, but rather, a sex-positive collection of reviews, essays, and comics. It's not porn or even intended to be titillating. Instead, it's very straight forward discussions of gender, sexual identity, inclusivity, and health. 

As someone who grew up in a very repressive home where sexuality was presented as a very negative thing I found this a refreshing way to explore ideas I hadn't before. I didn't find the reviews particularly helpful but as a fellow reviewer I really appreciated the candid nature of them. If you find yourself screaming "TMI!" when friends or family discuss sex this probably is not the book for you.

What I loved most about OJSTv.3 is the art. It's unapologetic, erotic, and extremely inclusive. Seeing couplings/groupings representing extremely diverse sexualities, races, abilities, and body types made me very happy. If you want to support comics with sex positive themes and diversity I much recommend OJST!

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 3 by Erika Moen & Matthew Nolan
Graphic Novel, LGBTQ, Educational
Digital/Print (312 pages, ONI PRESS)
Erika & Matthew think the world of sex is pretty rad.
Using humor and research, their awesome comics are about everything that relates to sex. They review sex toys, share sex education, interview sex workers, and crack horrible, horrible puns, all in the name of promoting sex positivity.
In this third volume they visit a swingers’ house party, a queer porn set and cover all sorts of topics like HPV, foreskins and UTIs, in addition to the newest and oddest sex toys. Each volume is a unique dive into the world of sex, making this book a great standalone addition to your shelf whether you’re already read the rest of the series or this is your introduction.


Review: Crafting with Feminism by Bonnie Burton

Unapologetic & Clever (3 stars)

Though I found the overall tone of the book a fun, tongue-in-cheek presentation of flaunt-your-feminism, I just didn't find the majority of the crafts particularly interesting. Others just didn't feel really feminist (ie. the Nope Necklace, High Heels are a Pain Planters) or could have easily been sourced off of Pinterest (ie. Male Chauvinist Tears Coffee Mug, Next-Gen Feminist Onesie).

While I wouldn't buy it because I didn't find enough of the content worthy of adding it to my crafting shelf, I did like a few of the ideas a lot. The Huggable Uterus Body Pillow, Monster Week Tampon/Pad Case, and the Strong Female Character Prayer Candle crafts were all awesome ideas that I'd actually want to make.

If you're not much of a crafter and want to find some new ways to grow your skills while flaunting your feminist flag this might be a good fit for you. Experienced crafters, I'd call this a library selection if it interests you.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Crafting with Feminism by Bonnie Burton

Crafting, Humor, Feminism
Digital/Print (112 pages, QUIRK BOOKS)
Grab a handful of glitter and get your girl power on with 25 subversive and easy-to-make projects.
This is what a feminist crafter looks like! Crafting with Feminism features 25 irreverent and easy-to-make projects that celebrate everything that rocks about girls, gals, and badass women. Wear your ideology on your sleeve by creating fierce custom merit badges. Prove that the political is personal with DIY power panties. Get cozy with a handmade Huggable Uterus Body Pillow, or craft heroine finger puppets to honor great women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, and bell hooks. Featuring tips on everything from beginner sewing stitches to building a kickin’ party playlist, and a totally empowering forward from “Queen of Geeks” Felicia Day, this book has everything you need for an awesome crafternoon.


Book Review: Dark Spirits: A Man Terrorized by the Supernatural by Stephen Lancaster

Lacks emotive qualities. (3 stars)

While I am most definitely a skeptic, I have always enjoyed tales of supernatural encounters. Lancaster has clearly spent much of his life in pursuit of answers to his own experiences with the paranormal. Unfortunately, I found most of Dark Spirits tediously slow and oft times quite repetitive. I'd dare even go so far as to note it as highly predictable. 

If you're interested in the group dynamics of ghost hunting groups and less in having your spine tingled this might be just your cup of tea. Those wanting a read that will leave them afraid to turn off the lights this just isn't it.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Dark Spirits: A Man Terrorized by the Supernaturalby Stephen Lancaster

Supernatural, Paranormal, Ghosts
Ebook/Print (216 pages, LLEWELLYN)
Driven to the brink of insanity by some of the darkest encounters with the supernatural you can possibly imagine, paranormal investigator Stephen Lancaster has made the afterlife his life. Dark Spirits chronicles his most terrifying investigations over the last fifteen years, highlighting how those cases have affected him and the ghost-hunting field as a whole.
Explore the mysterious hotel room that drives occupants mad. Discover the abandoned plantation that made heavily armed investigators fight for their lives. Learn about the dark entity that followed Stephen home and made his life a living hell. These frightening stories and much more await you in Dark Spirits, a compilation of haunting cases no one can explain or forget.


Book Review: Baba Yaga by An Leysen

Not my favorite. (3 stars)

I've always enjoyed tales of Baba Yaga so I was eager to pick this one up and enjoy the beautiful illustrations of An Leysen. As expected Leysen's illustrations were stunning! But I found the writing rather lackluster. I'm not sure the art makes up for it either. That said, if you have a child who you would like to share the tale of Baba Yaga with I found this version fairly tame so it might be a very good option.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Baba Yaga by An Leysen

Children's, Folk Tales
Print (56 pages, CLAVIS)
Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, lived a girl named Olga. Olga lived with her father in a beautiful house, and they were very happy together. Until Olga’s father one day fell in love again … His new wife was cruel and mean. And her sister Baba Yaga, who lived in a dark forest, was even meaner. Baba Yaga was a real witch! There was a rumor she was fond of children … on her plate! One day Olga’s stepmother sent her to Baba Yaga. What was she supposed to do now?
Baba Yaga, the witch from Slavonic mythology is coming alive in this fairy tale. An Leysen takes you on a journey in an imaginative story about a wicked witch and a sweet and brave little girl.


Book Review: Bird Magic: Wisdom of the Ancient Goddess for Pagans & Wiccans by Sandra Kynes

The Magic of Birds (4 stars)

I've always had a strange connection to certain animals but none more so than birds. They've always played a mysterious role in my life. From rescuing baby birds and holding funerals for those found mauled by cats to unusual sightings, they just can't seem to stop passing through my life. So I picked up Bird Magic hoping to gain some insight into their presence.

I found Bird Magic to be an interesting, unexpected resource. I'm neither pagan nor Wiccan, though both speak to me spiritually, but I found it a very useful book anyway.

If you find yourself frequently visited by blackbirds, ravens, owls, and birds of prey as I am I think you'll really enjoy this book.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Bird Magic: Wisdom of the Ancient Goddess for Pagans & Wiccans by Sandra Kynes

New Age, Spirituality, Occult
Print/Ebook (312 pages, LLEWELLYN)
Connect to the Great Goddess through the Magic of Birds
Birds have been symbolic of the Great Goddess for millennia, representing her power and connection to the mysteries of life, death, and spirit. Bird Magic teaches you how to commune with the Goddess, incorporating her into your magical life through exercises, crafts, meditations, and more.
Working with bird magic helps awaken your intuition, tap into subtle energies around you, and strengthen your bond with the natural world. Providing an encyclopedic listing of more than sixty bird species―highlighting each one’s history, folklore, location, appearance, and magical wisdom―Bird Magic shows how they can enhance your spiritual and personal life. With in-depth information, helpful illustrations, and hands-on guidance, this book will be your go-to reference for years to come.


Book Review: Wynonna Earp Volume 1: Homecoming

A rare DNF for me. (2 stars)

While I loved the idea of this graphic novel and tried really hard to get into it I just found it wanting. There was a definite feel to it that you needed to be a watcher of the show to have enough back story and characterization to enjoy it. I don't usually complain about the art in comics but I also wasn't digging that part. After giving it through the first issue I just had to put it down.

If you're already a fan of the show I might suggest you pick it up, otherwise it's a pass.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Wynonna Earp Volume 1: Homecoming by Beau Smith (Author), Lora Innes (Artist), Chris Evenhuis (Artist)

Comics, Paranormal, Horror, Law Enforcement
Print (136 pages, IDW)
The US Marshals Black Badge division has been fighting back against supernatural threats for decades. But even the toughest werewolf, most bloodthirsty vampire, or grisliest zombie knows there’s one agent to avoid at all cost: Wynonna Earp. Descended from the legendary Wyatt Earp, Wynonna is dead set on bringing the unnatural to justice! Collects issues #1–6.


Book Review: Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality

Useful and inspiring. (4 stars)

One of my biggest challenges to clean eating has been my love of soups. Most of my soup recipes are far from clean eating friendly in spite of their deliciousness. If you've found yourself in a similar conundrum I think you will find this book very inspiring and useful. The broth recipes that make up the bases are especially handy to have if you want to get creative while eating clean. With recipes like salmon coconut chowder, ruby red beet soup, and springtime asparagus and leek soup, you're sure to find both classic comforts reworked and new favorites. 

Keep in mind these are clean eating recipes, not just vegetarian or vegan, so there are some with yogurt, chicken, and other meats. I much recommend this as a resource for clean eaters who need their warm, nourishing soups during the cold months!

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality

by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson
Cooking, Clean Eating, Nutrition
Ebook/Print (# pages, TEN SPEED PRESS)
Soup has a unique ability to nourish and heal the body. In Clean Soups, author Rebecca Katz shows you how to use wholesome stocks and soups to naturally detox and stay energized year-round. She also explains the building blocks for creating deliciously balanced soups, such as Moroccan carrot soup, kale soup with coconut and lime, and simplest chicken pho. With foundational broths, blended soups, and traditional healing soups, as well as a two-day cleanse, Clean Soups shows how one simple bowl can make a huge difference in how you feel.


Book Review: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Things that make you go d'awwww... (5 stars)

As a parent and paraeducator I am always on the lookout for cute, clever reads that are fun while sneaking in a lesson. Narwhal is one of the best I've read recently and my 7-year-old absolutely loved it. The adventures of Narwhal and Jelly are sure to bring plenty of giggles and smiles to kids who are just becoming independent readers. The optimism and kindness of Narwhal might feel a little cloying to some adults but I found it sweet and encouraging.

I would recommend this for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade readers. It can be read alone but is also an enjoyable partner read with a parent.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Comics, Friendship, Animals
Print (64 pages, TUNDRA)
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever -- even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!

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