International Blog Tour: Bloom (Review + Playlist)

Before Reading:

The graphic novels in my pantheon are at a staggering all time low. While I am a manga person, I never seem to have that spark of a connection with the illustrated novels out in the market. All of that changed in 2018 though. I was lucky enough to be able to read not one, but two graphic novels with LGBT themes. This novel was one of them. I was drawn to the calm exterior and the blue-green undertones, but I truly did not know what to expect with this book. It is becoming an ‘inside joke’ here that I really like judging books based on their covers, and in all honesty, this book became a subject of that partial indecisiveness.

Lucky for me, I was proven wrong and I found the perfect book to read on a hot November day.

29225589Title: Bloom

Author: Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau

Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBT, Sequential Art

ISBN: 1626726418

Date Published: 12th of February 2019

Series: None

Publisher: First Second

Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Add this book on Goodreads

Summary:

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.

After Reading:

~ I’m a case of emotions ~ and again, it is unlikely for someone like me to finish a book within a day. I could have finished this book within a day, but I reckoned that it is also a book that I need to slowly dance through.

As a part of the tour, I received a physical ARC of this book. Huge thanks to Macmillan International for providing copies for the tour. This does not affect my review and all of the opinions and thoughts reflected here are my own.

Bloom made me realize that I am missing out on young adult graphic novels out on the market. In the literal sense, it is a refreshing read – a palette cleanser from the usual heavy books in the contemporary genre. Simply put, it is extremely easy to fall in love summery read.

Let me tell you of the tale of how I fell in love with a book. This story is simply one of the best as it satisfies my love for slow-burn romances, angst, family dynamics, and character development. The art style and the flow of the story can easily get you hooked, but it’s the self-discovery and the character interactions that makes you want to stay.

Our main characters Ari and Hector are easy to root for. There is that glimmer in their eyes when they do what they love. Ari is harder to grasp in general because of his stubbornness, but I loved him more than Hector (who I will get to in a minute). Probably due to my bias of his character, but Ari had more room to grow. He was lost, questioning if he really wants to pursue music or continue with the norm of baking for the family business. He’s lashing out like a normal teenager who makes incredulous decisions, which makes him relatable and dynamic. I don’t know if it’s a preference, but characters like Ari are the ones I usually resonate with the most. I can see why people may not like him as much as his love interest, but Ari being one realistic bean is just the cherry on top. He’s complex, he has a lot of emotions, and he has semi-horrible taste in friends. Yet what’s not to love? Hector on the other hand, is the lucky one who knows what he wants. But underneath that soft exterior is still a guy also discovering himself. It is so darn easy to live for the passion displayed by Hector’s eagerness and happy-go-lucky nature. Together, they make a wonderful team. The contrast and comparison in their personalities is what makes this book burst with life. The sequences where they are together can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. What started out as a beautiful friendship turned out to be something more.

The art style is simply magnetic and mesmerizing, truthfully living up to the summer love contained in this book. I love the utilization of color to convey emotions. It is still evident when there’s a prominent reaction or feeling, which makes the art so much more powerful in connecting with its readers. I am honestly head-over-heels with the background, the little details, and its dialogue.

Bloom is not your ordinary graphic novel. It’s so much more. It’s not just a love story. It’s about family, friendship, exes, moving, and looking forward to what the future holds. It’s amazing how something so heartfelt can be considered cute and adorable. Props to both authors for creating an inspiring story.

Overall, Bloom is a fantastic story. It has heart and soul, key elements to note when reading a contemporary novel that will latch itself onto you. Delighfully charming on its own right, and with equally amazing style and art – the one book that you have to put on your radar in 2019. If you’re intrigued to read about two boys baking, exploring relationship dynamics with family and friends, and an amazing story set in the summer, this one’s for you.

Pro tip though: you may get a slight (or massive) craving for that delectable sour dough bread. Trust me, I was lucky enough to live near a bakery.

Know more about my rating system here.

Want a playlist to remind you about those hues? I made a playlist specifically for Bloom. Album art design included, as I made it prior to curating the playlist. Happy listening!

kevin_

Connect with Kevin!

Website || Twitter

Kevin Panetta is a Washington, DC based comic book and graphic novel writer. He has written licensed children’s comics from Boom! Studios. His first creator-owned series, Zodiac Starforce, debuted from Dark Horse Comics in August 2015.

200057865

Connect with Savanna!

Twitter || Instagram || Tumblr

Savanna Ganucheau is a comic artist from New Orleans, Louisiana with a BFA in Film from The University of New Orleans. She made her start in comics by self-publishing and selling her work in small comic book shops around New Orleans. Alongside creating the popular webcomic George and Johnny, Savanna’s artwork has appeared in notable publications including Jem and the Holograms, Adventure Time Comics, and Lumberjanes. Her first graphic novel Bloom is published by First Second.

A big thank you to JM at Book Freak Revelations for hosting this wonderful tour and Macmillan International for providing us with galleys.

Follow the rest of the tour here (list will be updated once the tour stops are posted):

Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books

Anna at Reading Peaches

Bianca at The Ultimate Fangirl (hey, you’re here)

JM at Book Freak Revelations

Kate at Your Tita Kate

Jessica at Endless Chapters

Kate at Reading Through Infinity

Jessica at Endless Chapters

 

Are you excited to read Bloom? Do you live for food in books? What are some of your favorite tropes to see in books?

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#Project14Lists: Best Books I Read In 2018

Welcome to another list! Wow, I actually continued posting. Yes, I’m aware that no amount of catching up can change the fact that I am failing this challenge. I’ve been a busy adult (huhu no I am not comfortable saying it) for the past few days. I had a hurricane of a Christmas, and I was basically depended on to do chores the entire weekend. Let me tell you, cleaning up dishes on Christmas is not fun especially when everyone seemed to just want to stuff themselves silly. Then after a long day, you just want to lie down and sleep. I just want to discuss about my favorite books gosh darn it. Where do I get the energy??

Anyways, rant over. It’s time to talk about books again, hooray! Since it’s already the 31st here in the PH, I decided that I will be posting two lists today for Project 14 Lists created by Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch. The goal is to blog about lists, but I’m kinda failing here haha. Though I digress, I think this project made me think out of the box. Hence, I have a lot prepared for the next year without hopefully burning out and I received a lot of positive feedback with the posts I put up in participation of this event. While I was not able to share the posts I planned to put up, I’m optimistic that those will kickstart 2019 with a bang. Now, where were we? Right, of course it’s going to be all about the books and I am genuinely excited to be talking about my favorites for this year.

Analyzing it real quick, I love that this list is generally diverse and each book is quite unique. According to my stats, I rated 5 books with a will-save-from-a-fire status this year. One of them is a read that I’m not comfortable in sharing my feels on… yet, so I will only be tackling four specific titles today. Also, since I’m so extra, I have some graphics prepared! I thought, “Hey, why not design CD covers inspired by these books?” Because when a book inspires you so much, it’s easy to shower it with love. Plus, it’s cool to think about the possible songs that can be associated with these titles. Here are the best books that I read in 2018:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

33294200Have you ever read a book so powerful and capable of delivering such a beautiful story in the form most endearing to you? That was The Poet X for me. Not only was it written in verse, but it exuded a driving and riveting story that speaks magnitude. Xiomara’s hauntingly beautiful story about finding her voice amidst the chaos of tradition, rules, and conventions easily made this novel a personal favorite of mine. With the writing bursting with the raw and purest emotions, it’s groundbreaking and deserving of all the awards that it has received. Never have I ever felt so strongly connected to a book like this one. It just spoke to me on a personal level and at the right moment. This book has inspired me so much that I decided to write my review in verse as well. Check out my full raving here.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

What If It's UsI still end up in a puddle of feels whenever I see or hear about this book. I’ve been itching to reread it since I was done reading it. (Count how many times Bianca says read.) That’s how good this book is for me. Nothing like magnetic and unputdownable writing to save me from the abyss of craving for a book I want to save from a fire. 2018 was a better year when it came to reading romance, and I was thankful for the type of relationship that Arrhur and Ben had. For one, it’s not picture perfect with the montage and everything. Two, they leave room to grow for each other. Finally, the ending that made my heart swell. It’s ridiculously rare for me to finish a book in a day – let alone a love story that’s 400+ pages long. Yet here we are and this book definitely surpassed all of my expectations and doubts. Read my full review here, and maybe have some earbuds at hand because this one’s accompanied with actual playlists.

Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu

375345772018 really affirmed what I already knew about myself: I’m trash for stories as unique as Check, Please. It’s not common knowledge here on the blog, but I also love reading webcomics. They’re easy to read depending on the flow of the story, and you have a visual representation of what the characters look like. So when I heard that it was available online, I immediately jumped on the chance to read it. Now a public service reminder: Go do yourself a favor and update yourself with Ngozi’s fantastic work. Not only does it tackle hockey, but it also navigates through the topics of friendship, teamwork, and self-acceptance. Bitty’s pie-loving adorable self deserves all that is good in this world, and the slow burn romance makes you wonder if you should have been listening to Beyonce more. You’ll definitely fall in love with these characters faster than you can say “I can see your ha- YAAAAAAS THIS BOOK!” 😍😍😍

Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau

29225589Yet another graphic novel about boys falling in love, this one easily got me hooked because of the gorgeous art style and the color scheme. Little did I know that I was breezing through it, and in every turn I fell in love. Honestly, what more can I say? It’s lightheartedly heartbreaking because for me, I felt for Ari as a teen discovering themselves. At the same time, I’m falling for Hector’s charm and perseverance. It’s a one-of-a-kind slowburn summer romance that can make readers giddy with the feels. Not only that, but all the talk about the family working and earning their keep from making bread is both a joy and a treat to read about, and the friendship dynamics ring true. Readers are in for a feast come 2019, because this will definitely be that one graphic novel that will send everyone in a frenzied hook.

There you have it! I had a blast making those covers and it definitely added to the overall feels that I have for these books. 2018, you’ve been a good reading year. The books on this list are definitely for keeps, and I truly hope you’ll have a blast reading should you pick up one of these reads.

What are some of your favorite reads for 2018?

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