Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Stevenson, Ellis, Watters, and Allen — A Review

lumberjanesLumberjanes Vol. 1 by Stevenson, Ellis, Watters, and Allen

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

“Friendship to the max!”

Normally I read superhero comics. I love Thor (female version) and Ms. Marvel, but I also like anything with Thor (male version), Hulk, or X-Men. Pretty much anything from the Marvel universe (so when they started making those movies a few years back I was pretty much in heaven). But, for the Read Harder Challenge 2016 I was instructed to read a “non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years”. So I picked Lumberjanes.

Now, I’m betting a lot of my readers don’t know much about comics, and I rarely post reviews of them so let me take a moment to explain some things.

This comic series we’re looking at is called Lumberjanes. It’s full of awesomesauce and lady jams! What I read, specifically, is known as a Trade Paperback or (TPB) or, if you’re into shortening things (and I am) just, a Trade.

Trades collect between 4 and 8 issues, the flimsy, 20-or-so page item you probably think of when you hear “comic”. In this case, my Trade, Lumberjanes Vol 1 (or #1), contains issues 1-4. Reading in Trades is usually cheaper than purchasing a new issue every time they come out, but in the case of Lumberjanes, it also means you get very far behind because it takes Boom! Studios for freaking ever to publish a new Trade. Okay, rant over 🙂

This was my official verdict as soon as I finished this volume:

MADE OF WIN!

Yep; as soon as I finished reading I felt compelled to make a graphic to commemorate my experience.

Here’s why.

Thematically, this comic deals with things that are right up my alley. It follows a group of girls (Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley) who are at a summer camp, and of course they go on adventures (I love adventures). What’s particularly cool about this group is that it is diverse. Take a look at this panel (one of the boxes on the page of a comic). You can see a variety of skin tones, hair colors, heights, weights, wardrobe styles, and even physical bearings.

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Saying the Lumberjanes pledge.

Two of the girls are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the way that is introduced — subtly, naturally — made me squeal with delight.

I also really love that the overall message in this comic is one of friendship. It gives me the warm fuzzies.

I loved the artwork — the colors are gorgeous, vibrant, and natural — just like the girls and the setting they’re in.

Okay, so.

Characters = win.

Themes = win.

Artwork/colouring = win.

Lettering (where the word bubbles are placed) = not always a win. I imagine some noobs (people new to comics) would have a hard time following the dialogue on some of these pages.

Story = pretty much a win. Slightly unbelievable turn of events, but heck we’re dealing with talking Sasquatches at one point so maybe I should just suspend all my disbelief.

Overall = a very satisfying, fun read (and super funny and riddled with amazeballs references), but probably a comic people who identify as female will enjoy more than those who identify as male. Maybe. I dunno. Definitely check it out.

This concludes my super informal review of Lumberjanes.

“Beware the kitten holy!”

 

Coffee Shop Hop — Sunday Review Series #5

Having recently moved back to Fayetteville, I had no idea where to get the best cup ‘o joe. I had in my mind a quaint and quirky joint with just the right amount of espresso flavored air, indie art, and cushy chairs to sit in while enjoying a cup of coffee and some local flair. For me, where I consume my coffee goes hand-in-hand with where I do my reading and writing. And so, my hunt ensued.

My fifth stop?

The Depot

RaeleighReads rating: 2 out of 5 coffee cups

The Depot seemed like it would be an interesting place. It’s located off of Dickson Street, in the heart of Funky Fayetteville. I always see people going in and out on weekday mornings when I’m on my way to work. I was delighted to see that their menu contained both coffee, alcohol, and a collection of tonics and teas.

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Initial impressions:

  • This is the most expensive place I’ve been yet, and tax is added to the price rather than included.
    • 16oz iced mocha is around $5
    • 16oz frappuccino is around $6
  • You have to pay for parking here — all the time. Some places on Dickson you can park for free before 2pm, but not at The Depot 😦
  • Customer service if you’re only getting coffee and not sitting down to have a meal is subpar.
    • The man that took my order was nice enough, but after that good luck getting your drink! I had to go back up to the register and ask for it, and the person that delivered my friend’s drink didn’t even know what she had ordered in the first place.
    • I guess communication is not very high up on their priorities list.
  • The space is adorable. The work of local artists is displayed along the walls; the tables, chairs, and overall display are lovely; and there are two outdoor seating areas that are very nice.

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  • Apparently the coffee-shop-that-is-really-a-restaurant is a common theme around Dickson Street. First Common Grounds and now The Depot.
  • There are a couple of outlets to plug a laptop into, and I did see one other writer toiling away while I was there, but this doesn’t feel like a spot I will use for writing.
  • My coffee was just okay. A little watery, not a whole lot of flavor.
  • My friend’s coffee was delicious! She ordered the Arsagaccino (basically a caramel frappuccino), and it was perfect!
  • My final complaint? It was really loud! My friend and I could hardly hear each other. I have no idea how my fellow writer managed to get anything done in here.

Verdict: I will not be coming here again. Subpar service and coffee, loud space, paid parking? No thanks.

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Coffee Shop Hop — Sunday Review Series #4

Having recently moved back to Fayetteville, I had no idea where to get the best cup ‘o joe. I had in my mind a quaint and quirky joint with just the right amount of espresso flavored air, indie art, and cushy chairs to sit in while enjoying a cup of coffee and some local flair. For me, where I consume my coffee goes hand-in-hand with where I do my reading and writing. And so, my hunt ensued.

My fourth stop?

Common Grounds

RaeleighReads rating 3.5 out of 5 coffee cups

I’ve known about Common Grounds for a long time, but today was only my second time to visit. It is most definitely a piece of Fayetteville’s Dickson Street history. More of a restaurant than a coffee shop per se, it’s moody, dark, and a little grungy. Take a look for yourself and see what I mean.

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Initial impressions:

  • This place has a unique odor — sort of old and musty, with a hint of sharpness. It’s not very pleasant.
  • The staff is incredibly friendly. I was greeted as soon as I walked in and I got to choose where I wanted to sit.
  • There is ample seating and the menu is HUGE — it’s a binder for crying out loud!
  • They have an endless coffee bar option, squee! I tried:
    • Kenya Grand Cru — a medium body coffee with a very light, smooth taste and zero bitterness.
    • French Vanilla — smells heavenly and sweet, tastes really mild, almost watery.
    • House Blend — bingo! a wonderful, full, dark flavor and no bitterness. I wanted to gobble down three or four cups of this.

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  • Okay…this place has alcohol. They open at 7am and stay open until 2am…every. day. *Does a happy dance.* You can get a Bloody Mary, a Mimosa, an Irish Coffee. At 7am! *Does the happy dance again.*
  • Food = yummy in my tummy! I took two people with me today. For their company obviously. And to taste their food *ahem*. We tried:
    • Parmesan and spinach scrambled eggs and uncommon potatoes — eggs were pretty blah, but those potatoes! Ohmigosh these things are the best thing to ever happen to potatoes. Ever. Rosemary, a little garlic, the perfect amount of crispy outside and squishy inside. Yum, yum, yum! Also, this dish looked really pretty.
    • Three Little Piggies — ham, bacon, and sausage with smoked cheese on an everything bagel and uncommon potatoes on the side. Another pretty plate. None of this is healthy, I realize that. But all of it is amazingly tasty! Smoking the cheese really pulls this breakfast sandwich together.
    • Breakfast casserole — eggs, sausage, spinach, onions, and mushrooms all served in a casserole log with fresh fruit on the side. This was the least appetizing breakfast plate I think I’ve ever seen. The log was gray and mushy looking, but I took a bite anyway, and then another bite, and then another bite, and then…well, you get the idea. The fruit (watermelon, honeydew, and pineapple) was a perfect pairing with this and tasted wonderfully fresh and ripe.

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Now then, you may be wondering why I’ve all the sudden started to review food. Well, Common Grounds is technically a coffee shop, and it could technically be a place where I set up to do my writing. But it’s also technically a restaurant. So, ya know, when in Rome.

You may also be wondering why the 3.5 coffee cups after a glowing review of the endless coffee bar and that orgasmic food. Well, here’s my big problem with Common Grounds. While they have a lot of tables (and coffee) and a lovely bar at the front with pub stools and outlets every couple of feet (and coffee), I could tell almost immediately that I did not want to write in this place. The back room is quieter, and that is where I sat this morning to take my notes and stuff my face with that nom nom breakfast food (and coffee), but between the general clamor of talking guests and the air conditioner, the slightly stinky smell, and the overall grunge that has accumulated through the years, I don’t think this is my place.

Full of funky Fayetteville flavor? Yes. Delicious food and coffee? Yes. My new writing destination? No, but I will absolutely be making this my new breakfast place. That food you guys! I’m still thinking about it.

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Coffee Shop Hop — Sunday Review Series #3

Having recently moved back to Fayetteville, I had no idea where to get the best cup ‘o joe. I had in my mind a quaint and quirky joint with just the right amount of espresso flavored air, indie art, and cushy chairs to sit in while enjoying a cup of coffee and some local flair. For me, where I consume my coffee goes hand-in-hand with where I do my reading and writing. And so, my hunt ensued.

My third stop?

Onyx Coffee Lab

RaeleighReads rating: 4 out of 5 coffee cups

Okay, this place definitely has some local flavor! When I entered Onyx I was greeted by the delightful twang of Ozarkian banjo music followed by the tuneful meanderings of a folk singer. It made me giggle. What a perfect accompaniment for a friendly establishment in the heart of Funky Fayetteville. And it is friendly! I was greeted with a big smile and a “how can I help you?” at the multi-colored wooden bar. Apparently customer service is not dead. Huge smiley face. Onyx boasts a simple menu of filtered coffee, espresso, a few specialty drinks, a few cold brewed coffees, and — get this — organic syrups!!! They also have some delightful looking pastries, yogurt, and a few bottled drinks. Oh, and BOXED water. If you’ve checked out my about page you know I’m a tree hugger. This place really speaks to that part of me.

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Initial thoughts:

  • The coffee is good. It isn’t what I was expecting. The brew is light and beany (if that makes any sense). It’s nice, but it isn’t my favorite.
  • I imagine coffee purists would love this place.

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  • Prices are on par with other places I’ve visited, but Onyx includes the tax in the list price so what you see is what you get. That’s really great!
  • There is ample seating, including a nice collection of chairs and stools outside.
  • Inside seating is community style (long tables with chairs or stools). There is even a stand up bar area. That’s pretty cool.
  • I love the idea of a community coffee space, but from a writing stand point, this set-up is not ideal. It’s not terrible. There are plenty of outlets to plug my laptop into, but I usually create better when I have a secluded spot to write from.
  • This place is busy! Holy moly — distraction central. But the coffee is good and the service is excellent, so it’s no wonder there is a steady stream of people in here.
  • The music is perfect for this area. It feels local, historical, and, well, funky! (Fayetteville’s motto is “Keep Fayetteville Funky!”)

Verdict:

  • I can definitely see myself coming here again, but I’ll probably order something other than black coffee.
  • If you’re looking for local flavor, you’ll find it here! Also if you’re looking for a coffee experience that is a little more organic, or natural, this is your place.

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Coffee Shop Hop — Sunday Review Series #2

Having recently moved back to Fayetteville, I had no idea where to get the best cup ‘o joe. I had in my mind a quaint and quirky joint with just the right amount of espresso flavored air, indie art, and cushy chairs to sit in while enjoying a cup of coffee and some local flair. For me, where I consume my coffee goes hand-in-hand with where I do my reading and writing. And so, my hunt ensued.

My second stop?

Mama Carmen’s (closed on Sundays, so I went Saturday morning)

RaeleighReads rating: 5 out of 5 coffee cups

Walking into Mama Carmen’s was like a breath of fresh air! Here I found that cute, indie coffee shop that I’ve been looking for. I was greeted with a background of grays, blacks, whites, and rich, natural wood colors. The bar where you order is right in front of the door, with the menu clearly displayed behind. You can order drip coffee, espresso drinks, cold brews, teas, and smoothies. They even have a delicious looking menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads! Score!

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I ordered a regular drip coffee, which smelled heavenly, and sat down in a little reading nook with gray, tweed chairs, a small wooden side table, and bookshelves (with books!!!). The delightful sounds of Passion Pit are playing in the background, the lighting is dim, but adequate (they’ve placed sun screens on the windows), and a few patrons dot the landscape.

Initial thoughts:

  • My coffee is yummy! It’s not your typical brew — the taste is sharp and a little tangy, but it is a welcome change from the burnt bean flavor of my usual cup ‘o joe (ahem * – bucks).
  • I tried my friend’s Caramel White Chocolate Mocha, and that was really good too. If you like really sweet, creamy drinks then you will probably like it too.

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  • Regular drip coffee is just the right price ($2), but some of the other drinks, like my friends Caramel White Chocolate Mocha, can get a little pricey. Sandwiches and salads are moderately priced, in the $6-$8 range.
  • The staff was polite but not overly helpful. If you’re shy, let that go and ask for what you need!
  • I am in love with the seating in this place. There are your more traditional wooden tables and chairs, there are little booths that block out the view on three sides, there is the reading nook I am in, and there is a whole separate room away from where you order filled with additional seating and a stage area that I’m guessing is used for live entertainment 🙂
  • Do you need to plug in your laptop? Well, you’ve come to the right place! There are plenty of outlets — that makes this writer’s heart happy.
  • Patronage seems a little slow today even though it is a Saturday. Fayetteville is a college town and most of the students are gone for the summer so I can only imagine what this place looks like when classes are in full swing.
  • Music choice is everything, and Mama Carmen’s seems to just “get me” if you know what I mean. Every song that has come through the speakers is something I listen to regularly.

Verdict:

  • I will definitely be coming here again. I can see this becoming my place — for writing, for reading, for hanging out with friends, and obviously for drinking coffee.
  • If you like a laid-back vibe, good coffee, a simple menu, plenty of seating and outlets, then you will like Mama Carmen’s. Go check it out!

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