Tag Archives: Netgalley

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.

Book Review – Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection by Bill Harrington, Jaume Rumeu (ARC)

The Jaume Rumeu Collection includes four terrifying tales from the pages of the legendary Misty, the late ’70s supernatural horror comic book marketed for girls, which will bring us back to the past. Even though I wasn’t born yet when these came out, the Misty comics somehow found their way to my ever-wandering curiosity growing up in the ’90s. For those of you who are not very familiar, Misty was a weekly British comic magazine for girls published by Fleetway in the late 1970s.

The whole thing is very nostalgic as the artwork is way different than what we have now—comics, mangas, and the entire digital world integrated into it. The dated feel of the ‘graphics’ adds enjoyment to these stories. I wasn’t expecting it to be more academic, with fascinating insights into what goes on behind these works. It is a short read with only 128 pages, which really isn’t much of a chore.

This book would be a fantastic read for any fan of Jaume Rumeu and would be a great addition to your horror comics collections.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Paperback, 128 pages
Expected publication: November 11th 2021 by 2000 AD

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

About the Author
Jaume Rumeu Perera was born in 1930 in Catalonia. He began drawing comics in 1952 when he signed to the art agency Creaciones Editorial, under the name Romeo, and debuting on the comic Johnny el Temerario (Johnny the Daredevil). A master of multiple genres, he drew science fiction, adventure, espionage, sports and romance comics and during his forty year comics career his work was published across Europe. In the UK he worked primarily romance and girls’ comics, adopting the pseudonym Homero in the late 1960s. For DC Thomson he drew Susette for Cherie and Juliette for Romeo, and for IPC, he drew comics for Tammy, Jinty and Misty. His work for Misty includes such iconic stories as The Black Widow, Spider Woman and The Loneliest Girl in the World. As the comics market shrank in the 1980s, he continued to draw comics across the continent, such as football comics for DC Thomson and horse comics for the Swedish and Dutch market. He retired from drawing comics in 1992, and died in 2003.

Book Review: It’s Owl Good (The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea) by Renée Treml (ARC)

This review will be short, and I want to tell you that I loved this book and would read this story to my little nieces and nephews.

It’s Owl Good by Renée Treml is an adorable story about an Owl named Ollie who wears glasses and is insecure about how others see him. With the help of Bea, a super-nice bunny, who has her struggles, they help each other accept their differences and what makes them unique and beautiful.

It is a beautiful little book that sends a good message and is great for kids to read. I finished it in 15 minutes, and it’s just all kinds of adorable and funny. The dialogues are simple, full of cute puns and the illustration is just as good as the story. It is absolutely delightful!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Capstone, Picture Window Books via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review
Expected publication: January 1st 2022 by Capstone (first published August 1st 2021)

About the Author
Renée Treml was born and raised in the United States and now lives on the beautiful Surf Coast in Australia. Her stories and illustrations are inspired by nature and influenced by her background in environmental science. When Renée is not writing or illustrating, she can be found walking in the bush or on the beach, and exploring museums, zoos, and aquariums with her family and superenthusiastic little dog.

Book Review: World Class by Jay Sandlin (ARC)

World Class is a Young Adult graphic novel by Jay Sandlin, which centers on Adrian Molina, the Colombian Cannon, who received a scholarship to play football for an elite school. Then he meets the rich, powerful, and star of the school’s soccer team, Titan Evans, who immediately sees Adrian as a rival. After numerous bullying incidents from Titan, Adrian suffered anxiety attacks that may derail his scholarship and spot on the team.

Can we talk about that phenomenal cover first? The color, the drawing, the symbolism—just stunning! If you’re like me, who’s absolutely in love with this cover, then you’d love what is inside even more. The colors are popping; they’re vibrant in continuous panels and just a feast to the eye.

Story-wise, the novel doesn’t feel as fresh, but that did not diminish my enjoyment from reading it. I loved Adrian as a character. I loved that he is from Colombia because we don’t get to see many POC main characters.

I also loved that the author tackled important topics such as bullying, racism, and diversity. I think these aspects of the novel are where the author succeeded, making these topics the story’s focus and associating them with what’s happening in the current events.

I wished we got more of Adrian and his friendship with Luciano, I am personally rooting for them, but I loved how the author handled this relationship. The bullying part, which also relates to racism, was uncomfortable to read. As a person of color myself, I was horrified for Adrian. It felt a bit too much, with the supposed adult in the story not doing anything about it.

Overall, the novel is very entertaining. It is evocative in a way, and I wouldn’t mind reading a continuation of Adrian’s story. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Expected publication: February 22nd 2022

A copy of this graphic novel was provided by the publisher, Diamond Book Distributors, Maverick, Mad Cave Studios via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Artists: Patrick Mulholland, Rebecca Nalty

Pre-order your copy now:

About the Author
Jay is an author and host of his podcast, GeekOPedia. In addition to World Class, he’s written Hellfighter Quin and Over the Ropes for mad cave studios. Find more on his other books and comics at JaySandlin.com

Book Release Day: The Sound of Violet by Allen Wolf

Desperate to find a soulmate, Shawn goes on one awkward date after another until he encounters the alluring Violet. He starts dating her, but his autism keeps him from realizing that she’s actually a prostitute.

Shawn thinks he’s found a potential wife while Violet thinks she’s found her ticket to a brand new life. This hilarious and dramatic award-winning story has been adapted into a major motion picture.

PRAISE FOR THE SOUND OF VIOLET:

“Wolf, an award-winning filmmaker, has adapted this first novel from his own original screenplay, and its cinematic potential clearly shows. The high-concept narrative is entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual … It’s a charming, humorous, and hopeful tale. A quirky, touching love story that offers insights into autism, religion, and personal tragedy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderfully well-written, funny, romantic love story. Unique and inspirational. The Sound of Violet is not your average romance. Rarely do I find myself so captivated by a book that I cannot put it down for nearly two hours. Pick up this book and get lost in the beauty of their relationship. My only complaint would be that the story had an ending, as all stories do, and I did so want to keep reading on. Most highly recommended. The Sound of Violet is simply remarkable.” – Readers’ Favorite

“By turning conventions of contemporary romance on its stilettos and swapping out the typical sassy, fashion-obsessed female protagonist for an autistic male who reads jokes from index cards, Wolf puts a fresh spin on the genre. Adapted from his award-winning screenplay, The Sound of Violet shows signs of its origins with snappy dialogue and humorous, well-staged scenes … A sweet and entertaining romantic comedy, The Sound of Violet touches on autism and the power of faith. It will appeal to any reader who enjoys a blend of quirky characters, humor, and drama.” – Blue Ink Review

“Heartfelt, out-of-the-ordinary romance … This warm, witty story does not shy away from serious themes like exploitation, redemption, and true love. The Sound of Violet explores heavy issues with a light touch. It’s easy to see this being adapted into an enjoyable movie …” – Foreword Reviews

You can also read my full review HERE.

GET YOUR COPY NOW!

About the Author
Allen Wolf is an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and game creator. He is also the host of the popular Navigating Hollywood podcast.

His debut novel “The Sound of Violet” has won multiple accolades and is described as “Entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual” by Kirkus Reviews. It is now a major motion picture. (www.TheSoundOfViolet.com)

He has won 39 awards for his games that are available as books, including You’re Pulling My Leg! and You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior. They’ve brought smiles to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

As a filmmaker, Allen wrote, directed, and produced “In My Sleep,” which was released worldwide, won multiple film festivals, and is available on iTunes and Amazon Prime. Hollywood Reporter raved, “In My Sleep never rests, a credit to the tight, psychologically astute pacing of filmmaker Wolf.”

Allen graduated from New York University’s film school. He married his Persian princess, and they are raising two kids together. He enjoys traveling around the world and hearing other people’s life stories. Allen also cherishes spending time with his family, eating chocolate, and visiting Disneyland. See more at http://www.allenwolf.com.

Manga Review: Would You Like To Be A Family by Koyama (ARC)

“Would You Like To Be a Family?” is a collection of three one-shot BL stories. The first story is about coworkers Takemura and Natsui – opposite in personality but very similar in some ways. While Take likes to keep to himself due to a high school trauma, Natsui is loud, cheerful, and well-liked by his colleagues. Natsui is a single father too. After an invitation for dinner, their relationship blossoms into something neither of them expected.

story and art by Koyama

I did enjoy it. It was sweet, short, and generally feel good. I loved that Natsui is sensitive to Take’s feelings and doesn’t make him feel out of place. I loved the single dad aspect of the story. It brings something different to the table.

The other two stories are way shorter than the first, which are both set in school — an angsty story about Kuma and Yagi and Harada and Kodama. These two short stories tackle the concept of navigating young love and exploring their identity. Both are fun and quick read though not as impactful as the main story. 

Overall, I’ve enjoyed reading these stories. I love me some happy endings, so this collection is a total win for me. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback, 176 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by LOVE x LOVE

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

Book Review: Cynthia Starts a Band by Oliva Swindler (ARC)

Cynthia Starts a Band tells the story of Eleanor Quinn, lead singer of the highly successful band Kittanning. She is also dating her bandmate, who happens to be the most beautiful man in America. Despite her success in her career and ‘love life,’ she decided to walk away from it all. Eleanor’s life is in turmoil behind the scenes, and she knew that she had to leave while she can. 

Free from her band and’ fiance,’ Eleanor decided to change her name to Cynthia, moves in with her cousin in Seattle, and enrolls in a local university’s writing class. Everything seems to be going well until her past started to creep its way into her new life.

This novel was a quick read for me. I thought it has a great concept and a fantastic protagonist in Eleanor/Cynthia. She’s likable enough for someone who’s 27, naive, and just literally based everything on what she’d seen in films. Usually, that would annoy the living crap out of me, but I liked her personally.

The book reads like a YA novel, or maybe many instances show Cynthia’s immaturity and naivety. I feel that that aspect of the story will be a hit or miss for the readers. I don’t mind it that much, but I wished it was more realistic rather than a mere copycat of the movie scenes she’s been referencing throughout the story.

I liked that the author talked about something relevant now but has been taboo in the past. It has the #MeToo movement, the #FreeBritney movement aspect, and just the ugly side of fame that we know but don’t usually get talked about more often. I love the whole narrative of claiming your power, claiming your voice, and I think it is an important topic discussed in the book but is glossed over by the hasty pacing of the storytelling. 

The book really has great potential, and I could even see it as a film in maybe, Hallmark Channel or, I don’t know – Disney adult version if there is one. That being said, I would be happy to read more stories from Olivia Swindler in the future. 

 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 268 pages
Expected publication: October 19th 2021 by Morgan James Publishing

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

About the Author
Olivia Swindler was raised in Spokane, Washington but resides currently in Grenoble, France, where she eats approximately a baguette a day. Cynthia Starts a Band is her first book.

Book Review: A Light in the Sky (Clashing Skies #1) by Shina Reynolds (ARC)

A Light in the Sky is an epic young adult fantasy novel and a coming-of-age journey of its protagonist, Aluma Banks, thrusts into the world of politics within their kingdom ruled by an oppressive king and his slew of disciples.

Each year, Rider hopefuls across the kingdom of Eirelannia compete in the Autumn tournament for a chance to join the ranks of the aerial warriors known as the Empyrean Cavalry. The victors of the competition get to earn wings for their stead, given that they pass their subsequent training.

My favorite thing about this story is its very detailed world-building. I loved the combination of this old and modern society ambiance, and it’s vividly different for each ‘kingdom.’ I thought this is where the author excelled the most. 

On to the story itself, the early part of the novel was so fast-paced that it almost feels like I’m missing many details. I know that this is just the first book, but for most of the story’s first half, several characters were introduced but did not get to play significant roles in the second half. I’m probably just impatient for its next installment, but I thought some characters should’ve gotten more “page” time. I’d loved for the secondary characters to get their characters developed fully in the long run, along with the main protagonist.

There is also the inevitable love triangle which I find a bit problematic. I was like, girl, you’re in the midst of war, your father’s life is in peril, and a few days after meeting the guy who saved you, you thought that you’re already in love. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Aluma’s character, and she’s supposed to be smart and all, but she lacked focus most of the time, and it could get frustrating.

As I’ve said earlier, I loved the picturesque and vivid setting of the story. Hopefully, the pacing will settle a bit as we get more character development in the second installment. I won’t delve much deeper into the story because the official synopsis was already a dead giveaway, but I’d say that this is still a fantastic effort from the author.  

Overall, I found this story to be very engaging and entertaining. The characters may not remain with you, but they’re generally likable. I’m looking forward to its second installment!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Hardbound, 401 pages
Expected publication: November 9th 2021 by Wink Road Press

Pre-order your copy now:

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

About the Author
SHINA REYNOLDS grew up in Nebraska, riding horses through wide-open fields. She wrote her first two books in her sixth-grade English class, the second of which went on to win an award at the Nebraska Young Author’s Conference. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating with honors in art history and with a minor in anthropology. Before writing her debut novel, A Light in the Sky , she worked in film, music, and modeling. Shina currently resides in Texas, where she spends the majority of the year trying to stay cool and imagining she lives in Ireland. When she’s not writing
, she can be found painting abstractly, exploring the outdoors with her husband, and entertaining her mostly cuddly cat.

***

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Book Review: Hugh by David Lawrence (ARC)

I often find historical novels quite heavy, but this one was entirely unexpected. It’s a coming-of-age story of Hugh Entwistle as he steps into the world of the wealthy and a society bounded by rules, with secret dalliances on the side that must always remain secret.

At first, I didn’t feel that involved with the story, but when Hugh meets his three relationships – the beautiful, the sublime, and the indifferent. Yep, from Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautifulthe story’s narrative just flowed smoothly.

I loved Hugh. I loved his sassy and captivating persona. His internal monologues are also so much fun to read. I also loved the secondary characters, which seems to fall right out of those old renaissance-themed movies. 

I liked that the romance wasn’t as dragged out, although I thought the narrative suffers a bit on the second half of the book because it feels like there’s a lot of telling more than showing.

The author also has an excellent grasp of the language of the time, which I appreciate here. Each character has a distinct vibe. His humor is on point; I find myself chuckling now and then.

Overall, I found this to be really sweet, humorous, and very interesting. It’s quite a different take from the usual queer historicals I’ve read before and is well worth my time.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, The Book Whisperer via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Date of Publication: September 21, 2021

About the Author
A native of the American Southwest, David Lawrence has spent much of his life in Great Britain, France, and Finland. He now lives in a the American Northwest – Helena, Montana – with his Finnish partner.

By day he loves hiking under the Big Sky of his beautiful adopted state.
By night, however, he prefers editing lost manuscripts and wandering the byways of 18th century London…

You can learn more about David Lawrence and his penned works by visiting his website: https://www.aherowithoutanovel.com/ and subscribing to his newsletter.

Book Review: The Sound of Violet by Allen Wolf (ARC)

The Sound of Violet centers on Shawn, a young male adult with high functioning autism looking for his one true love. At a company party, he meets Violet, whom he invited for a date without realizing that she is working as a prostitute. And through Shawn, Violet saw a glimpse of a hopeful future.

I loved how Shawn and Violet’s relationship develops over time; it’s heart-achingly sweet, and their dynamic is just engaging. There are moments in the book that are very emotional but are not dramatic if you know what I mean. I also adore Shawn’s brother, Collin. I loved his ever-supportive nature towards Shawn. The grandma’s character confused me a bit because she was very likable initially but had a 180 degrees character change that I didn’t get.

Overall, I find this book highly compelling and very enlightening, even though the writing was very simplistic. It talks about such heavy topics – autism and human trafficking. It gives its readers a front-row seat into these worlds that we don’t usually see mixed together. It was in-depth but done with sensitivity. The scenes were fast-paced and read like a screenplay. I truly enjoyed this quick read. Now, I’m excited about the film!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, Morning Star Publishing via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Paperback, 226 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Morning Star Publishing
Pre-order your copy below:

About the Author
Allen Wolf is an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and game creator. He is also the host of the popular Navigating Hollywood podcast.

His debut novel “The Sound of Violet” has won multiple accolades and is described as “Entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual” by Kirkus Reviews. It is now a major motion picture. (www.TheSoundOfViolet.com)

He has won 39 awards for his games that are available as books, including You’re Pulling My Leg! and You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior. They’ve brought smiles to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

As a filmmaker, Allen wrote, directed, and produced “In My Sleep,” which was released worldwide, won multiple film festivals, and is available on iTunes and Amazon Prime. Hollywood Reporter raved, “In My Sleep never rests, a credit to the tight, psychologically astute pacing of filmmaker Wolf.”

Allen graduated from New York University’s film school. He married his Persian princess, and they are raising two kids together. He enjoys traveling around the world and hearing other people’s life stories. Allen also cherishes spending time with his family, eating chocolate, and visiting Disneyland. See more at http://www.allenwolf.com.