Tag Archives: Netgalley

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.

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: 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 – 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.


“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.


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.