Books · Reviews

Spoiler-Free Mini-Reviews: Stage Dreams and Check, Please! Book 1

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! Without Top 5 Tuesday, I have to get a little creative. For this week, I wanted to write some mini-reviews of the two graphic novels I read for the Olympic Games read-a-thon. While I originally only planned on reading Check, Please, my library had Stage Dreams so I deviated from my TBR a little bit.

With that being said, let’s get into the two books. Similar to my previous posts, I’m going to be featuring 2 things I liked about each and 1 thing I didn’t enjoy. Obviously, I’m aiming for short reviews so let’s get into it.

These are my spoiler-free mini-reviews of Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman and Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu.

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In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor—also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk—robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.

This was an unplanned addition to my Olympic Games TBR but I decided to use it as a book that you know will make you happy. I can use Bewilder for one of the advanced challenges as it fits almost all of them. Honestly, I heard Chandler from Chandler Ainsley talk about this and knew I had to pick it up.

For what I liked about Stage Dreams, I really loved the art style/color palette. The colors were so soft and pretty. I especially loved the design Gillman did for all the characters. It felt like the characters were soft if that makes sense. Looking on Goodreads, I saw that Gillman illustrated it in colored pencils and that explains why. Overall, I thought it was a unique choice and I loved it.

The other thing I liked was the friendship and eventual relationship between Grace and Flor. The two couldn’t have been more different but they connected. They were both so bad-ass in completely different ways. I especially liked how Flor used her hawk to get what she wanted. As for what I didn’t like, I wish this would have been longer. The story and their relationship deserved MUCH more time. Hopefully, Gillman writes a sequel or give us something else because this was a delight. Plus at just over 100 pages, it was a super quick read. 4/5 stars.

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Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

Let me start off by saying, I went into this book expecting to love it. Both Ally and Ellyn raved about it. They both gave it 5-stars and I thought…alright so it’s obvious I’m going to love it. Going in with that pretense, I was a little bit hesitant but had no reason to be as I did genuinely love this.

For the two things I loved about Check, Please! Book 1, I loved the hockey team’s brotherhood. Bitty fit in so easily with his new teammates and they really grew to love him. It was just so wholesome especially his friendship with Shitty. Almost every single character in this was so lovable and I just wanted to hug them all. I also loved that Bitty loved baking and had a Youtube channel about it. It made for a fun addition to the story and I think it really set him apart from the other characters in that right.

Honestly, I could go on all day about the things I love (Uh a Jonas Brothers reference!) but let’s get into one thing I didn’t like. As much as I loved this, I didn’t really enjoy how the author added Bitty’s tweets at the end. It felt like unnecessary filler and only served to add a few extra pages. I know some people probably enjoyed them but I didn’t think it really added anything to the story. Either way, I love this book and can’t wait to get into book 2 ASAP. 5/5 stars

Before you finish reading my post, please take time to look over these attached links to help with Black Lives Matter. Whether it be signing a petition, donating or simply re-sharing this same link, USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re a white person reading this, you have privilege and it is your duty as an ally to educate yourself, amplify Black voices and show that Black Lives Matter. 

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