Genre: Superhero Fiction

#WyrdAndWonder Middle Grade Graphic Novel Book Review | “Ultra Squad: Adventures under the Strangebow” (Book Two of the Ultra Squad series) by Julia Devillers, illustrated by Rafael Rosado

Posted Tuesday, 19 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Ultra Squad: Adventures under the Strangebow (Graphic Novel)” direct from the author Julia Devillers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I felt this would be a good series to showcase during #WyrdAndWonder:

I participated on my first Graphic Novel blog tour during #IndieApril – wherein I was first introduced to the Ultra Squad series. I felt the series had some positives going for it and a few choices within the context of the story which I felt were either irrelevant or missed the mark a bit for me. For instance – it has the marketing of being a diverse universe and thereby a diverse cast leads us into the stories themselves but there isn’t a lot of development within the characters (at least in book one) to where you can see those individualistic qualities and distinctions; each of the girls’ nearly collide into each other visually because their own voice wasn’t as strong as I had hoped they would become.

Also – there was a maze for the reader to solve in the middle of the story – which to me felt out of context with the overall vibe of the story itself. I hadn’t remembered those being inclusive of the previous graphic novels I’ve read in the past and how it was inserted just struck me as being rather odd. However, it did have a few strong points too – about friendship, finding leadership and living outside your comfort zones.

Part of hosting the original blog tour – I was given the option to read the sequel – which is why  I elected to run it during my #WyrdAndWonder showcases. The key reason is because this is a bit of a genre bender – it is part Science Fiction and part Fantasy; wherein I would deem this #SciFantasy as it has a few bits from both genres to give readers something to contemplate as their reading the series. It is also a perfect blend of ‘wyrd and wonder’ if you think about the origins of our event and why we started hosting it. It isn’t quite like what you’re expecting to find and it is in of itself a wholly new way of seeing a story come to life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What my takeaways were about the first Ultra Squad story:

There is definite cheeky humour – although also a few words I think had a few liberties taken with their usage – as studenting might have raised a few brows for me as a middle grade reader. The humour itself thought was how Devillers was referencing the danger imagery and how she was anchouring the foreshadowing into the action of the present within the series itself.

Ooh my dear ghouls – when the secretary requests the presence of the four girls’ in her office – this is when Ultra Squad meets Galaxy Quest! In such a stroke of genius really – as similar to what you love about the film transitioning seemingly regular and quite ordinary humans into outer space to counter-act against a reptilian terrorist – you now find yourself at the mercy of ULTRA and what this entails for the girls’ being recruited to aide in their missions!

The segue into meeting the girls’ families was lovely because you had the chance to see their different backgrounds – including how one of the girls’ has a military family. It also showed a bit of back-history of the Ultra Squad as it was implied this was a legacy appointment and not just a random bit of good news in the middle of an ordinary school day where your not expecting much except homework, class-time and a disappointing lunch!

There is a lot of verbiage in the storyline which is slightly more urban slang than contemporary cool – mostly as the context has to be understood before you proceed with reading it. I was never the kind of kid who was clued into contemporary slang or acronyms as they were difficult for me to process as a dyslexic reader and learner. Therefore as an adult dyslexic reader entering into this series – I’d have to say, if I were to give this to a middle grade reader I’d ask them a few questions about shortcuts in contemporary language patterns and if they knew shorthand for certain phrases as the wordplay is altered and is attempting to come across as ‘clued in’ to the language of younger children although for me, I felt it fell a bit short on that end of it. I almost thought the author was trying a bit too hard to pull that off and should have just kept the girls’ speaking in a language pattern which was more reflective of their own personalities than what would be considered the ‘best’ en-vogue collection of terms and phrases.

Where the story grows in empathy is showing how each of the girls’ have their own strengths and weaknesses – which proved to be a learning curve for their ‘sidekicks’ which were really quite the awkward collection of aliens! Their superhero strengths played off their own individual talents on Earth and thereby gave them superhuman qualities in space! I liked how the girls’ acted their actual age and showed how they still needed a bit of guidance to understand new situations and new experiences where they might have felt a bit overwhelmed by the circumstances.

The ending reminded me a heap of what happens in Back to the Future Part II – in fact, that was one of the films I loved watching at the age I would have naturally picked up this to read. There were some moments where I wish we could have understood more about the girls’ themselves – what made them unique and different from one another – I know the story focused on their individual talents and weaknesses, but I wanted a bit more back-story about the girls’ themselves. I would have preferred a lot less slang and shorthand as well – as again, even as an adult dyslexic reader I find half of that distracts from the story as I am constantly trying to sort out what the abbreviations are referencing and referring to whilst if the story just said what it had meant I would have been able to follow the story a bit easier.

Overall, the biggest surprise was really the unmasking of the villain which reminded me why we always looked forward to that reveal during an episode of Scooby Doo. I felt Ultra Squad borrowed a lot from other pop cultural stories and superheroes – wherein, it was struggling to have its own identity from the crowd. There are some good moments between the sidekicks and the girls’ but there was a bit of a downside in having them stay in-scene and not sound ridiculous too. I think this would be good for readers who might be even a bit younger than projected for the story itself as it is definitely geared towards newer readers who are not actively reading every week or month but might occasionally pick up a story.

-quoted from my review of Ultra Squad (Book One)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#WyrdAndWonder Middle Grade Graphic Novel Book Review | “Ultra Squad: Adventures under the Strangebow” (Book Two of the Ultra Squad series) by Julia Devillers, illustrated by Rafael RosadoUltra Squad
Subtitle: Adventures under the Strangebow
by Julia Devillers
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

An evil, strange rainbow! A former nemesis! And four girls who look exactly like the UltraSquad! It’s an epic battle on an alternate universe for the UltraSquad, a secret superhero team, with a mission to save the universe through teamwork, positivity, and justice. Can the girls and their sidekicks, the Pallies, once again save the world and make it a better place through teamwork, positivity, and unstoppable fierce girl power?

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Children's Literature, Graphic Novel, Illustrated Stories, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade, Superhero Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732703025

Also by this author: Ultra Squad

Also in this series: Ultra Squad


Published by Justice Studios

on 12th November, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 96

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Ultra Squad series:

Ultra Squad (Book One) by Julia DevillersUltra Squad Under the Strangebow by Julia Devillers

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Ultra Squad (book one) – (see also Review)

Ultra Squad: Adventures Under the Strangebow(book two)

Ultra Squad: Galaxy Dance Off (book three)
← *forthcoming 1st March, 2021

Ultra Squad: Time After Slime (book four)

Available formats: Trade Paperback

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #UltraSquad, #GraphicNovel & #SuperheroFiction
as well as #MiddleGrade, #MGLit and #diverselit or #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Divider

Posted Tuesday, 19 May, 2020 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Book Review (non-blog tour), Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Middle Grade Novel, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

#IndieApril Middle Grade Graphic Novel Book Review | “Ultra Squad” (Book One of the Ultra Squad series) by Julia Devillers, illustrated by Rafael Rosado

Posted Sunday, 26 April, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Ultra Squad (Graphic Novel)” direct from the author Julia Devillers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I wanted to read 2x Graphic Novels during #IndieApril:

I haven’t had the chance to read Graphic Novels in a long, long time – I felt this might be a good month to take a chance on a seemingly lovely series which showcases individuality & equality amongst girls who are striving to share not just friendship but adventures in life! I love series for Middle Grade readers which talk about collecting experiences & going on adventures because these are the roots of how all of us learn, grow and develop our understanding about the world round us. I love finding series which also talk about our uniqueness as individuals & how our differences do not need to become a dividing line to separate us – any story which features inclusivity and acceptance is a winner in my life!

When I was younger I would read Graphic Novels which were more like fan fiction narratives based on popular film franchises during the 1980s. I didn’t quite step into the full spectrum of Graphic Novels as I was a reader who was definitely a ‘mood reader’ as a child and young adult – as I would move in and out of both genres and areas of interest at the drop of a hat! My main mainstays though were the kind of genres I showcase through my Story Vault – Speculative Fiction played a strong role as did Mysteries & Suspense as well as INSPY narratives of Historical Fiction. When it comes to #HistRom & #HistFic alike – why it took becoming a book blogger to realise I’ve read more of those respective fields of literature than any Contemporary genre is still unknown to me!

I’ve researched Manga and other contemporary graphic novel styles – there are some artists & illustrators who truly gave my attention but overall, I haven’t truly found my niche in the Asian market of what is available. What I do enjoy are solid graphics, wicked illustrative plates which showcase dialogue & action sequences and of course, the layering of the story, the personality of the characters and how the story itself is tracking through the nature of how a graphic novel presents its subject and message. These are the areas I was looking at reviewing and using as talking points as I moved into reviewing this series for Lola’s Book Tours featured blog tour this April & May. (as my second review will be featured in May rather than the final week of April)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#IndieApril Middle Grade Graphic Novel Book Review | “Ultra Squad” (Book One of the Ultra Squad series) by Julia Devillers, illustrated by Rafael RosadoUltra Squad
by Julia Devillers
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

ULTRA-FIERCE
ULTRA-SMART
ULTRA-BRAVE
ULTRA-UNIQUE
ULTRA-UNSTOPPABLE
THEY ARE. . .THE ULTRASQUAD!

When an evil force from the far reaches of the galaxy threatens Earth, the UltraSquad, a secret superhero team, with a mission to save the universe through teamwork, positivity, and justice, is enlisted to battle the overly smug villain. Along with their bizarro-cute extra-terrestrial sidekicks the Pallies, the kick-butt girls employ their magical ultra-superpowers to save the universe! This first book in a new graphic novel series inspires girls to reach for their dreams, work together, and make a difference.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Children's Literature, Graphic Novel, Illustrated Stories, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade, Superhero Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732703001

Also by this author: Ultra Squad

Also in this series: Ultra Squad


Published by Justice Studios

on 12th November, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 96

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Ultra Squad series:

Ultra Squad (Book One) by Julia DevillersUltra Squad Under the Strangebow by Julia Devillers

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Ultra Squad (book one) 

Ultra Squad: Adventures Under the Strangebow(book two)

Ultra Squad: Galaxy Dance Off (book three)
← *forthcoming 1st March, 2021

Ultra Squad: Time After Slime (book four)

Available formats: Trade Paperback

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #UltraSquad, #GraphicNovel & #SuperheroFiction
as well as #MiddleGrade, #MGLit and #diverselit or #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Divider

Posted Sunday, 26 April, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Middle Grade Novel

#Blogmas | feat. #FantasyForChristmas19 showcases | happily celebrating another series by Melissa McShane!

Posted Monday, 9 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

When I saw Melissa McShane was being re-featured this #FantasyForChristmas19 – I admit, it felt a bit kismet! As this is an author I happily cheered for last year during the #FantasyForChristmas event with her Crown of Temontane series! It is lovely to become re-introduced to another layer of a writer’s collective works whilst recognising I have quite a few requests to put in at my local library next year strictly stemming from  my #FantasyForChristmas 2018 & 2019 selections! Reason being? I’ve been itching to read these lovely authors and although my intentions were to read them between both events – I never had the proper chance to focus on gathering the titles.

Next year, as I am finding my local library is receptive to the requests I am making regarding Indie Authors & Indie Press – I am going to be carry my requests forward into 2020! I am splitting my requests between my local library for print books & a regionally local library for audiobook requests. This way I can continue to seek out a better balance between reading both formats and continue to see the benefits of anchouring my readerly life in two formats which help offset my chronic migraines. It is also why I am striving towards hosting a more limited series of blog tours and focusing more on personal reads, library reads & / or showcasing authors I’ll be hosting via @SatBookChat as the past two years my health has had a few more afflictions attached to it than I’d consider healthy to juggle as a book blogger.

Thus, I’ll be honing in on authors I’ve previously showcased like Ms McShane and still haven’t had the chance to read whilst moving forward with select new titles and authors as well as previously read favourites throughout the coming year. I’d love to have a nice collection of Fantasy authors and series to discuss during our 3rd Wyrd and Wonder – outside of my focus of reading #dragonfiction as previously mentioned during my Dragons Risings series spotlight earlier in the week.

Here’s a special cheer to Melissa McShane & the lovely writers behind #WeWriteFantasy who help celebrate the fantastical each December during their #FantasyForChristmas events!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Burning Bright by Melissa McShane

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Night Harbour Publishing

Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas19, #SuperheroFiction and #HistoricalFantasy

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

add to LibraryThing

Published: 25th March, 2019 | ISBN: 978-1949663136

In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. As an Extraordinary, gifted with powerful magical talent, she is respected and feared, but her father intends to control her and her talent by forcing her to marry where he insists. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she joins the Royal Navy.

Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Extraordinaries series:

Burning Bright by Melissa McShaneWondering Sight by Melissa McShaneAbounding Might by Melissa McShane

Burning Bright (book one)

Wondering Sight (book two)

Abounding Might (book three)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Divider

Posted Monday, 9 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Heroic Fantasy, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours