Book Review: Glimmer by Marjorie B Kellogg

Glimmer by Marjorie B Kellogg is a pseudo-dystopian novel set in New York City in 2110, where climate change has altered the city’s landscape, mostly flooded and practically destroyed. Those who could escape from it did, and those left behind bonded and created some sort of faction – ala Water World – called dens. 

The titular character Glimmer is simply a name that she gave herself and who seemed to have lost her memory—narrating the grim situation of the city and the world entire, and her life in Unca Joe den. I do love Glimmer as a character. She’s very likable, smart, and very determined. She is a young adult that makes excellent choices.

The world-building created by the author here is a scenario that will make you realize that we humans are the most vulnerable on this planet, and we need to get our shit together before it’s too late. Some of the things mentioned here are happening now in some parts of the world. The most recent example is when the Covid19 pandemic started, and people drove in numbers and hoarded supplies. It’s selfishness that corrupted people. In Glimmer, it’s worse, so just imagine that.

It took me a while to finish Glimmer. The first half was sluggish and not as engaging, but the premise is interesting enough for me to push through with it. After the very slow beginning, the pacing started to pick up, and the story just bulldozed into something scary, exciting, and thought-provoking. There are a lot of great scenes here, particularly when the group got together to move into a new home – Uhm, within the city as well. It was heart-racing and heartwarming altogether. 

I do love the relevance of this book on what’s happening in the world now. I love the research that went into it because they are all realistic, and some are even happening now. You just have to persevere with its slow pacing initially, but I promised that it delivers a good and pretty solid story overall. The ending was a bit abrupt, but it really won’t matter by the time you finish it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Published October 19th 2021 by Daw Books

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Daw Books, via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About the Author
Writer and scenic designer Marjorie Bradley Kellogg lives in Franklin, NY, where she is the editor of The New Franklin Register. She is the author of Glimmer, A Rumor of Angels, Harmony, The Dragon Quartet, and Lear’s Daughters. She has designed scenery for Broadway, Off-Broadway, and for resident theatres across the country and in Europe, receiving many industry awards for her work. She taught at Princeton and Columbia and was Associate Professor of Theater at Colgate University from 1995 to 2017.

Spencer, Starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, opens November 17 in Philippine theaters!

Through their social media, Cinema Bravo announced that Spencer starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, would open in Philippines theaters on November 17, 2021.

Storyline of Spencer: 

The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. SPENCER is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.

Since its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival last September, the film has received positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for Stewart’s performance. Stewart is now touted to be the early frontrunner of next year’s Oscar for Best Actress. Spencer is a film by Pablo Larrain, who directed the 2016 Academy Awards nominated film Jackie. 

I am excited to watch it! I’ve been a big fan of Stewart for years now, and I am proud of what she’s accomplished over the years working within the indie film industry after her Twilight years. I wanted the film to succeed here, and I hope the cinemas get very strict regarding the number of audience per screening because I still get paranoid with crowds.

ICYMI: After closure for almost two years, select cinemas within the National Capital Region (NCR) and provincial areas are opening. NCR and most of the Philippines are under Alert Level 2 until November 30, which means an increased capacity for businesses and activities, including the opening of theaters! 

Book Review: A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske (ARC)

I had three days off last week, and I finally got the time to read this debut by Freya Marske. Billed as Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, A Marvellous Light features an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies. It was absolutely delightful!

Robin Blyth has just been named the new civil service liaison to a hidden magical society. He is assigned to work in a government office that liaises between magic users and the Prime Minister of Edwardian England. His new job suddenly turned dangerous when he was targeted for something involving his predecessor and had the misfortune to be under a curse. And it’s up to his official counterpart, Edwin Courcey, to help reverse the curse. 

The book touches on the social division between classes, race, sexuality, and magic-user over non-magic user (you get the drift). As a fantasy romance, You cannot ask for more. The author sure knows how to pack everything in this story! The whole premise of the book was just fantastic. It has impressive world-building, the entire magical system was engaging, and of course, the chemistry between Robin and Edwin – ugh. It was so much fun to read. I loved the adorable scenes between them, including the sexy times, which are totally off the charts! 

I guess my only qualm about this book is its misogynistic undertone. I am not sure if it’s just me or I’m reading too much into it, but there’s just some commentary that I’d rather ignore since I didn’t think that I would enjoy it as much as I did. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition, 377 pages
Published November 2nd 2021 by Tordotcom

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tordotcom, via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About The Author
Freya Marske lives in Australia, where she is yet to be killed by any form of wildlife. She writes stories full of magic, blood, and as much kissing as she can get away with, and she co-hosts the Hugo Award nominated podcast Be the Serpent. Her hobbies include figure skating and discovering new art galleries, and she is on a quest to try all the gin in the world. Her debut novel, the queer historical fantasy A MARVELLOUS LIGHT, is forthcoming from Tor.Com Publishing in 2021.

Book Review: Oddball by Sarah Andersen (ARC)

The topics in Oddball include social awkwardness, anxiety, the pandemic, pets, reading, being introverted, and more. Reading it reminds me so much of my younger self, when I easily get embarrassed to go out there, was unassertive, just wanting to be alone and read, and tends to overthink things. I’d like to think that I’ve already overcome some of those characteristics— at least to a degree.

This collection of scribbles is a laugh-out-loud read with scenario after scenario that would make you think that maybe, you’re taking your life too seriously. It would make you think of the things you’re not aware of doing, and perhaps that includes your pets, who are probably out for blood every time you forget their mealtime. Lol. Speaking of pets— there’s a ton of cat jokes here that are silly and just adorable! If you’re a cat person, in particular, you’d get a kick out of the charming cat jokes here.

Although I’ve seen half of what I’ve read here in memes online, I still find them funny because of the author’s way of writing, as it is very engaging and relatable. If you’re looking for some light reading that would make you laugh-out-loud, and get you out of your funk, then this could be the perfect read for you.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: December 7, 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Andrews McMeel Publishing, via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review

About the Author
Hello! I’m Sarah and I’m a cartoonist and illustrator. I graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2014 and currently live in Brooklyn. My comics are semi-autobiographical and follow the adventures of myself, my friends, and my beloved pets.

Book Review: A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash (ARC)

The Rowan siblings were born with powers – both a gift and a curse. Phillipa could charm anyone, Victoria could see through someone else’s deepest secrets and emotions, and Liam could read memories by touching an object. Their mother, Rachel, was abusive, and even after her death, she’s still terrorizing their waking hours.

I enjoyed reading this book so much that I had to read it twice. It’s fascinating and affecting because it has the elements of mystery, magic, and, most importantly, family drama. At first, I was under the impression that it would be a fantasy/magic kind of book, but it turns out to be more than that. The ‘magic’ element isn’t even that prominent in the book. It tackles more on how these siblings cope and grew together after enduring years of abuse from their mother.

I love the characterization of each character. I particularly adore the interaction of the siblings and the little romance in there. (And speaking of romance, you have got to watch out for Reed—I think we all need a person like Reed in our lives.) I also enjoyed the fact that it kept me guessing until the end about their mother’s death. I wished it did have some time skip or a future view of these characters because you’d absolutely root for them. I know I did.

I highly recommend this book and would explore other works from the author. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 26th 2021 by Rook and Castle Press

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Rook and Castle Press, via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review

About the Author
Spinning tales of subtle magic with unexpected twists, Byrd writes the book you need, not the one you expected.

As one reviewer wrote: “When I get a Byrd story, I know I’m in good hands.”

Whether it is a Doppelgänger who was once a medieval knight now working in college administration, or an updated Red Riding Hood escaping a post-WWI wolf pack, her characters all feel real.

That Celtic goddess at the pet store? She’s someone you know. A medieval queen fleeing an abusive marriage? You experience her pain and triumph.

With a B.A. in journalism, she’s worked in the writing field for over thirty-five years. Discover more about her, sign up to be a beta reader, or grab a free book at her website ByrdNash.com.

Book Review: Gone But Not Forgotten (TIN Book 1) by Charlie Cochet

Dexter and Sloane Daley have worked as TIN Operatives for three years now. Their next big assignment is to retrieve a virus that mutates a human’s gene to that of a Therian. And it may just be their most critical and dangerous mission to date.

I’m a big fan of the THIRDS series, and I’m glad that this first book from its spin-off series, TIN, has finally come out! Gone But Not Forgotten isn’t THIRDS. It’s very different from that series, even though the main protagonists are the same. This first book is more serious, way darker, and lacks the humor we’ve gotten used to, mainly from Dex’s character. I love that Dex and Sloane are very much in love, and their bond is stronger than ever. We’ve seen Dex’s evolution from the THIRDS series, and the manifestation of that is even more prominent here. I thought it was exciting to imagine what Dex’s final evolution/form would be.

I’ve some concerns about this book, though. There was a trigger warning at the beginning for kidnapping, sexual abuse, and trafficking, which are very much on-page. That surprised me. I mean, am I reading a Charlie Cochet novel? The sex scene with other Therians around just doesn’t feel right for me. It was too graphic and uncomfortable to read. Another thing is the whole undercover stuff. I mean, I shouldn’t be wondering where this and that guy came from, given the nature of what they do, but it’s unnerving for characters to just pop up out of nowhere.

Considering the issues I stated above, it’s still a good read, but I am not sure If I would be that keen to follow this series, the way I was so crazy about the THIRDS series. I understand that this is a different series, but this is still part of the THIRDS universe, so hopefully, there’s a way to incorporate that fun-ness of that series here.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Published September 16th 2021 by Charlie Cochet

About The Author
Charlie Cochet is the international bestselling author of the THIRDS series. Born in Cuba and raised in the US, Charlie enjoys the best of both worlds, from her daily Cuban latte to her passion for classic rock.

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found devouring a book, releasing her creativity through art, or binge watching a new TV series. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

I’m With Leni Robredo! #LabanLeni2022 #LetLeniLead2022

Vice President Leni Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy for president in the May 2022 elections. Robredo is running as an independent candidate, with incumbent Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as her Vice President.

Robredo with daughters Aika and Tricia.

Ngayong may malinaw na lider na ang oposisyon, nawa’y gawin po natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para masiguro ang tagumpay ng ating pambato sa pagkapangulo. Naniniwala po ako na may pag-asa pang makabangon ang Pilipinas at ito po ay sa pamamagitan ng paghalal ng mga lider na katulad ng ating butihing Bise-presidente Leni Robredo.

#LabanLeni2022

Kung kayo po ay maaari ng bumoto sa #Halalan2022 sa Mayo at kung hindi pa kayo nakakapagparehistro, extended po ang voter registration hanggang October 30, 2021.

Nananawagan po ako sa ating mga kababayan, na pag-aralan ng mabuti ang inyong gagawing pagpaili para sa magiging susunod ng pangulo ng ating bansa dahil hindi lamang po ang inyong kinabukasan ang nakataya dito, kung hindi na rin ang kinabukasan ng inyong mga anak, at ka apu-apuhan.

Lalaban po tayo. Dasal, tiwala at ang inyo pong boto ang kailangan natin para mapagtagumpayan ito.

Book Review: Marvin the Very Tall Bear Kindle Edition by T.A. Unwin

This little story is about a Bear named Marvin who wishes he wasn’t as tall as he is so that he could do what other bears could do—fit through doorways, sit at the dinner table, and play on the slide in the park. One night, he wishes he wouldn’t be so tall until he wakes up to find out that his wish just came true! It reminds me of the saying, “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it…”

This is an excellent short story to tell kids that it’s okay to be different and that they are unique and remarkable just the way they are. I’d love for the drawing to be more prominent, and colorful but overall, I thought it’s a great bedtime story.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 16 pages
Published October 19th 2015

You can download it for FREE via Kindle on Amazon.

About the Author
T.A. Unwin is a writer and artist from London, now living on the Hampshire coast in England. Her childhood revolved around animals; looking after pets and writing stories about them. A passion for the natural world led to a Zoology degree followed by a Masters in Animal Welfare. Writing then took a back seat as the young adventurer set off to gain experience of working with different animals around the world. She trailed after the macaque monkeys in Gibraltar, as well as their monkey cousins in India, studied birds in Scotland, researched vultures in Namibia and spent ten weeks monitoring marine mammals from a boat in the Mozambique Channel. Currently she works part-time in a zoo and has finally returned to her favourite hobby – writing stories about animals. She has two noisy budgies who do their best to put a stop to this.

Book Review: The Missing Rainbow (Lil Bub and Friends Presents Book 1) Kindle Edition by C. Hagerman

These past few days, during my break time at my day job, I’ve been reading these little short stories intended for the younger audience, which I find therapeutic because they’re just all so full of positivity talks about friendships, rainbows, butterflies, and whatnot. I thought it would keep me from stressing about this pandemic, politics, job-related incidents, and more. Some were cute, and some were nice. Others, I’m thinking of reading to my little nephews and nieces the next time I visit them—anyway, enough of my rambling. 

The Missing Rainbow by C. Hagerman, the first in the Lil Bub and Friends PresentsThe Missing Rainbow is about the friendship of a whale, a frog, and a bunny. They all loved watching the rainbow up in the sky until it went missing. I really like this book. It has colorful and cute illustrations; the words were simple but a bit repetitive. It is very engaging, and it teaches children a great lesson on conflict resolution. It’s 19 pages and is great for kids to learn about colors and those who are learning English as a second language. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

You can download it for free on Amazon.

Book Review – MonsterMind: Dealing With Anxiety & Self-Doubt by Alfonso Casas (ARC)

“This isn’t the triumphant tale of a hero who defeated his monster… it’s just the story of somebody…. who’s learning to live with them.”

In MonsterMind, Alfonso Casas introduces us to his monsters— past traumas, social anxiety, sadness, doubt, and fear that lives inside his head that manifest in his day-to-day life.  

I didn’t know that reading this graphic novel would hit me on an emotional level. The book reminded me so much of my early post-college days. After getting my degree and thinking I had everything under control, I was clueless about how the real world works, which led me to develop anxiety about my future. Like the main character here, I encountered a lot of struggles, suffered through depression, and the fear of not knowing what the future would hold for me. 

I loved how the author addressed things like that here – in an adorable, humorous way. Casas acknowledges that not everyone deals with anxiety and depression the same way and that it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to be alone. It is okay to feel these things. It is okay to ask for help and, it is okay to prioritize oneself.

Despite the serious subject matter of this graphic novel, I loved that it uses the beauty of art to get through its readers. It uses humor, not to make light of the subject but to bear the unbearable. I believe this book would resonate with many people, particularly now, with the pandemic ravaging not only our livelihood but our strength to remain resilient. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Harbound Copy, Expected publication: December 21, 2021

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Diamond Book Distributors, Ablaze via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review

About the Author
Desde que recuerda sabe que lo suyo es dibujar, no porque se le de excesivamente bien, sino porque lo demás se le da peor. Desde 2007 lleva colando sus ilustraciones en diferentes periódicos y revistas, hasta que en 2010 pone sus lápices al servicio de Julián Almazán para dibujar Marica tú, su primera incursión en el mundo cómic. Alfonso vive en Barcelona, continúa dibujando y espera que sus sueños sigan cumpliéndose. El último en hacerse realidad es lo que tiene en las manos. Amores minúsculos es su primer obra en solitario. Espera que no sea la última.