Everything is The Worst. [PINNED POST]

August 17th, 2017 4:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-05-26

May 27th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 26th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 24th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 23rd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Spectacle, Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (2018)

May 22nd, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Engaging premise and setting, but a deeply unsatisfying ending.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley. Trigger warning for ableist language directed at the circus “freaks”.)

Twin sisters Anna and Kat are performers in the Samson Brothers Circus: Anna tells fortunes, while Kat is a knife-thrower. Whereas Kat’s talents are all too real, Anna is a fraud. Well, kind of: while Anna tells the rubes what they want to hear, she can predict the future and decipher the past with the help of her self-made conjecture engine. It’s kind of slow and not very flashy, so – like Anna – it mostly stays in the background.

When the circus’s train is stalled out in the middle of the desert, Kat turns up dead, stabbed in the back with her own knives. Not wanting to alarm the other performs, circus owner Jebediah Tetanus (how’s that for an evocative name?) tasks Anna with solving the murder in secret. But things go from bad to worse when a series of tragedies beset the circus, including Tetanus’s own arrest at the hands of the corrupt deputy sheriff. Not to mention Kat’s lingering spirit, which flits in and out of Anna’s body to hide from pursuing demons.

So I really wanted to love Spectacle – and some of the elements here are great – but there’s a lot going on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that very little is resolved by the end of chapter five. Usually I expect that a TPB has a self-contained story arc, but Book One of Spectacle feels more like the first two-thirds of a story. The ending – in which one of the roustabouts suddenly sprouts a rhino horn – is deeply unsatisfying, to say the least.

The art wasn’t initially my favorite – so many blockheads! – but it grew on me pretty quickly. I enjoyed the setting, which is some time in the mid (?) 1800s (?). This makes for some great old timey humor, such as when the circus doc diagnoses Anna with hysteria and prescribes coffee. With a side of heroin.

The story features a cast of pretty fascinating women characters, from Flora the would-be fat lady/current snake charmer to Lucy Chen, a clown who did it all for love. I really hope that my suspicions about the source of the weirdness between Anna and the bearded lady pan out; a cute F/F romance makes every story better, okay. I wish that we’d seen more of Eve and Lynn, the conjoined twins; there’s a lot of ableist yet era-appropriate language thrown their way, and I want desperately for the story challenges this as the plot unfolds. The collision between science and the supernatural also holds some promise going forward.

P.S. WHAT GIVES WITH THE PICKLES!?!

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-05-21

May 22nd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 21st, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 19th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 17th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 16th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Year of the Introvert: A Journal of Daily Inspiration for the Inwardly Inclined by Michaela Chung (2018)

May 15th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Not a daily journal per se.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received an e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

I picked The Year of the Introvert up expecting to find a guided journal, but what I got is a little different. While there are some journal prompts here, they typically come at the end of a week or so of inspirational passages. In addition to these “Reflection Questions,” each month features a “Monthly Gratitude Moment” and themed “Celebration.” The result is an eclectic mashup of diary, self-help, and inspo calendar. Which is awesome if that’s what you’re looking for, but I wanted something with a little less text and a little more white space to explore my own thoughts and feelings.

One of the things that really rubbed me the wrong way is the author’s propensity to talk about herself. A LOT. Like, I thought a journal was supposed to be about me, and not someone else, right? Looking at her body of work, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; Chung has made a career out of her introversion – which is great! – but one thing self-help gurus like to do is pontificate about themselves and how awesome they’re doing, so.

Some of her advice is kind of eye-rollingly obnoxious, too. If I had extra cash on hand, I wouldn’t go hiding it in places I might never find it again. Putting a five in my coat pocket is a good way to turn it into wet scrap paper, okay. I need it in my checking account anyhow because BILLS. (Yes, I am rolling my eyes as I write this.)

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-05-14

May 15th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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May 12th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: I Really Didn’t Think This Through: Tales from My So-Called Adult Life by Beth Evans (2018)

May 11th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Needs more illustrations!

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for mental health issues, including self-harm.)

I hadn’t heard of Instagram artist Beth Evans before picking up a copy of her new book, I Really Didn’t Think This Through: Tales from My So-Called Adult Life – but now I’m seriously considering creating an Instagram account, just so I can follow her.

In the vein of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and the Sarah’s Scribbles series by Sarah Andersen, Evans pokes fun at what it means to be an “adult” in the modern era. Unlike Brosh and Andersen, Evans’s book is heavy on text and light on illustrations. Equal parts self-help and humorous confessional, with a few illustrations peppered throughout to drive certain points home, Evans explores the travails and (occasional) triumphs of everyday existence, from her struggles with anxiety, depression, and self-harm, to the weird world of casual dating and the challenges of self-love and body positivity. Somehow Evans manages to stay positive even through the tears. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh while crying. There’s a lot of relatable stuff in here.

That said, I thought the illustrations were by far the book’s strongest point, and there just aren’t enough of them! The anecdotes were amusing enough; the advice, solid of not ground-breaking – but art is truly where Evans shines. Can we get an honest-to-goodness graphic novel or comic book please?

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-05-10

May 11th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato