Book Reviews, diverse books, LGBTQIA+, YA

History is All You Left Me Review

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silver is the second book chosen for The Rainbow Library.A landslide in the voting. A lot of members were excited about the book release.I’m really glad it was chosen as well. I was a big fan of More Happy Than Not and had the History Is All You Left Me book pre-ordered. I was going to wait a bit longer to dive into but I’m glad this group gave me the push to do it now.Apologizing now if this review gets too scattered. I took lots of notes.

This story intrigued me right away with the setup. You jump into the story and realize that the chapters will alternate between the present and the past.History and Today. We have a main character that is flawed in some ways too. I’m  talking about the way he handles a lot of the relationships in his life. I could see that it wasn’t the best right away. Especially after seeing how great Griffin’s relationship with Wade and Theo is in the first few history chapters. It’s so interesting trying to connect the history Griff gives us to his present. I was always looking for the clues to see how things came to be this way. Trying to figure out who is at fault for things before history could catch up with the present more.

I have to say I was surprised by how much I loved the history chapters. They start the day that Theo and Griffin admit their feelings for each other,  goes through their relationship and ends on the day that Theo dies. There were so many beautiful moments in their relationship and it really was bittersweet to read knowing that they eventually break up and that Theo dies. The first few history chapters really drew me in and I was excited that I was going to really enjoy those flashbacks.

Early on I wondered how reliable Griffin was as a narrator for not only the history sections. It was a small moment during the funeral of Theo that made me think it. It was just a perspective thing. The way he saw Jackson and how I could tell he blamed Jackson for Theo’s death to some extent. It made him think that other people might see Jackson similarly when that wasn’t the case. It was the first point where I realized there would definitely be some bias with anything revolving Jackson in the history or today part.

One really interesting thing about Griffin as a narrator is that he’s talking to Theo. The whole story is Griffin going over his history with Theo and also telling Theo the things he didn’t know. The things he wanted to but didn’t get a chance to. The “you” he references in the today sections is Theo.He models his actions toward Jackson based on what Theo would want him to do. If Theo would be disappointed in him. I saw it as another way for him to process Theo’s death. Believing that somehow Theo might be out there listening to him. A little odd considering that it’s pointed out that Griffin isn’t religious like Jackson.

Griffin has OCD. I really can’t comment much on the way it’s written besides that it feels accurate. I have a family member that has OCD and I grew up watching them deal with their compulsions. Compulsions that are very different from what Griffin’s are, though.His compulsions dealt with counting and even numbers. He always had to walk on one side of people or he became anxious. I liked the way it was shown throughout the story.I liked the way the people in his life reacted differently to it as well.

This story had what I call the January problem now. It’s where you only see a character through flashback and don’t always get the info you want. January from Last Seen Leaving was a character I had this kind of issue with. Theo can’t tell his story. Griffin has to tell it for him. Jackson and others can share stories of him but they can’t tell us what Theo was thinking. I really just wished I could get in his head. I got to the point in the history chapters where I had some questions. Theo, what are you doing? Do you really think you can stay friends with Griffin and be with Jackson? Do you not see how messy this situation is? Why are you a mess? Plus so many more questions as I realize things that Theo did or said. It’s not a problem that takes anything away from the story for me. I just will have those questions forever.

The last sixty or eighty pages I would read a page. Then stop to process because I needed to before reading another page.It was a long process. Sometimes I would lean against a wall or pace. Adam Silvera takes you on these really emotional roller coasters in his work. The situation between this group of guys was so messy and that was before Theo died. It really just gets worse. There were definitely some cringe moments because I didn’t want to think about how I’d handle the situations they were going through.  Pg 225 I for sure wasn’t ready for. I could not. I still cannot.I didn’t even know how I kept going toward the end right after that.

I really can’t knock this story rating down for anything that happens. There are things that were frustrating but it wasn’t frustrations that would affect the rating I’d give the book.If the situation was different these things would. I’m never a fan of people doing things to emotionally hurt people. Griff definitely does that at points in this story and I feel like Jackson does as well.Griff makes some bad decisions in his History with Theo that might make him unlikeable for people. Theo might be unlikeable for you.However, this was a story about people grieving over the death of someone they loved. It’s completely true that there were moments where I definitely have a problem with things done. Especially by the main character Griffin but all his emotions and actions were valid.This form of grieving was valid. Not right necessarily but it was valid. He’s in a rough spot and you see that throughout the entire book. I went along on this journey with Griffin knowing that he was going to possibly make some bad decisions.

There were chapters early on where I wished we could see more of Wade. I think it’s because I loved Wade in the chapters in the past. He was a great friend and added something to those scenes before Theo and Griffin start pushing him out a little unintentionally.I also wondered why he became more distant. What did Theo do or say to push his best friend away? Another question I had. Later in the story, we do finally get to see what’s going on with Wade. I have to say that there are things about Wade that I related to in a this is hurting my soul kind of way. I really wish we could have seen more of his character. Jackson and Griffin get to m0urn together for a big portion of this story. Wade mourns his friend alone and that is really rough.

I have to applaud Silvera on somehow throwing in a subtle twist that was just as jarring as the twist in More Happy Than Not even if on a smaller scale. More Happy Than Not had a sci-fi element.The thing that shocked me there was a big deal. History is All You left Me is just all real and still had these emotionally jarring moments that are so brilliant and unexpected. Adam Silvera is really becoming one of my favorite authors really quickly.I’m excited for his next book They Both Die At The End.I know I will likely be a complete emotional wreck after that one but I don’t mind that when it’s an Adam Silvera book. This story comes out to a 5-star read for me.

Comics, LGBTQIA+

Shades of A Webcomic Review

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This is a story about a guy named Anwar who is asexual. His friend drags him to a kink party. He’s uncomfortable and doesn’t want to be there but meets a crossdresser (Vixen/Chris) there who he befriends. Anwar keeps running into Chris after that night and it slowly builds a relationship between the two guys.

The story does a pretty good job of accurately showing the certain aspects of the BDSM/kink community unlike some things out there. The members of the community are shown in such a wonderful way. There is a variety with the members shown apart of that community.They aren’t all the same at all. It’s so well done. Plus the story overall shows a large variety of characters from all different backgrounds in this story.

Wish we could see more moments between Anwar and his mother in this story. Anwar’s mom loves quoting star wars. She’s so supportive. We see her for a few panels and loved her immediately. Anwar’s father is dead but you can see that he still thinks of his father a lot when making certain decisions. Especially decisions about school and what he wants to do with his life.

I loved the conversations Anwar has with Chris in this story. Communication is such an important part of a relationship. They understand they care about each other and have a big romantic attraction but need completely different things sexually. I love that they talk about it and come up with a plan that works for them. The trust that is there by the end of this story is good.

Best side comments ever. I haven’t read 50 Shades of Gray and don’t plan on it.In some of the comments under the comic pages, the author would point out if a scene was a direct parody of something in that novel. Sometimes they would call out the inaccuracies 50 Shades of Gray presented about BDSM at the bottom as well.I also read over some people’s opinions in the comments for each page. It’s cool to see what people thought who were waiting for the comic to come out page by page. I love that stuff with webcomics.

At the point that this ends I had a very ‘that’s it’ feeling. I felt like more needed to happen. Anwar is kind of irritating for a lot of this story. He’s hung up an ex. I’ve been there. I feel that. The problem was he is pretty focused on his self and his problems throughout this. I felt like I wanted to see him caring for Chris and see him thinking about that relationship more. I don’t know how far apart the end of this first comic and the release of Shades After, the sequel. I’ve gotta be honest and say that if it just ended with this first one I’d be disappointed because I don’t feel like Anwar has made enough progress in this one. Excited to read Shades After and I’ll definitely be talking about it right here. Go check out this comic at the link below if you’re interested.

http://www.discordcomics.com/comic/shades-cover/

Comics, LGBTQIA+, YA

Lumberjanes Comic Review | Volume 1

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I liked Lumberjanes more than I thought I would.I’d heard bits and pieces about the series but never decided to pick it up. After reading Nimona which is also by Noelle Stevenson I thought it might be time to pick this up from my local library. I love Nimona. It was one of my favorite reads of last year so I hoped this would be something I enjoy.

It’s a group of girls off at summer camp trying to earn their badges and solve the mystery of this crazy place.There are three eyed things lurking in the woods, water monsters, yetis, and a lot more. It’s pretty wild from start to finish. Lumberjanes starts with some of the troop lost in the woods a page before encountering three-eyed foxes.

If I wasn’t looking at a picture with the characters names on it right now I would not be able to refer to any of the characters by name in this review.I still won’t probably. About midway through I tried to go back and see if I could figure out who was who but still was confused honestly. The only ones I was sure on was Rosie the Camp Counselor we only see once in this volume.I think she knows things. Then Jen the Roanoke cabin’s scout leader. Jen yells at the girls a lot for disappearing and breaking rules.She probably should have taken an internship at space camp instead of being stuck in the woods as a scout leader.Too late Jen. Too late.

I did like a lot of the main cast of girls. I loved their friendship. They build each other up. They each have different skills they bring to the table and work well together to get out of the situations they get stuck in. They are great friends and a great team. I love girls supporting each other in books.

Lumberjanes is tagged as LGBT  but no one was completely pointed out as queer in the story. There are hints of a possible relationship between some characters or at least feelings, though.Mal and Molly are the characters names I’m pretty sure. There is also sort of a kiss in the story but extenuating circumstances so I don’t know.The queer subtext is there and I hope it is explored more in the following volumes. Especially if that is with Mal and Molly. I ship it.

The sign for the camp has “Hardcore lady types” stapled onto it. It was pretty cool to see that for sure. I also liked the way they did the oath and the girls would say things like “What the Joan Jett?” It was cute.Really enhanced that girl power message but let you know if was for all girls too. I appreciate this comic a lot.

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I liked the artwork. The creatures they encountered look really cool and there is a lot going on in each page. I love the pace of the story. It’s a quick paced comic and was great for when I was stranded waiting for my boyfriend’s car to get fixed. I just wish there was more going on with the character development to keep me invested. I still want to get the next volume, though and have already put a hold on it at my library.

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews, Comics

El Deafo by Cece Bell

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I really enjoyed this book. Read it all in one go. It’s a cool middle-grade graphic novel that talks about the experience of one little girl that becomes deaf before they start school. It’s also based on the experiences of the authors. So it’s semi-autobiographical. I didn’t know that going into the book but it was really good.

Cece becomes deaf after having meningitis. This story is about Cece moving to a new place, going to a new school, and trying to make new friends. Cece has many challenges over the book as she gets used to the Phonic Ear she uses to help her hear in classes. Cece has many struggles while trying to make friends.I felt like Cece’s interactions with different kids around her age throughout the book were some of the most interesting moments for sure.

I absolutely loved that this is a story from a kid’s perspective. Cece seeing herself as a superhero was really great. Applying all the real life situations to her superhero self.It helps us learn about Cece and helps Cece try to figure out the people around her. It was really nice. I definitely recommend this book.

 

 

Book Reviews

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

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Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

I did not expect this book to make me cry. It did. it happened more than once. I really felt like Amanda Palmer let us into her life with this book. I cried. I laughed.Amanda Palmer has always had a great relationship with her fans and I feel like this book continued that.Amanda treats her fans like they are her friends and this felt like she was having an intimate conversation with all her friends about her life. About the choices she’s made and how she got where she is now. The stories she tells in this are so interesting to me. I was so pulled into every single one.

The stories she tells in this are so interesting to me.The writing was wonderful as well. I was so pulled into every single one. The entire message about asking for things that we need. Being able to take help when it’s offered. It was really beautiful and necessary for a lot of people. Including me. If you haven’t seen Amanda’s TED Talk then you should go watch it. Then pick up this book.

I feel like I’ve been lucky to find amazing memoirs like this in the last year. I wasn’t a memoir fan before then at all. This was utterly amazing. I highly recommend it.

Comics, LGBTQIA+

Midnighter, Vol. 1 : Out

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Overall I felt the story was a little chaotic but still loved it. Midnighter is a really great character to follow. He has a different moral compass than some other heroes you might read but the compass is still ticking. There was a situation in the book that I felt would go really badly but Midnighter handled it really well. Like a superhero should handle it I think. He also just likes to fight and help people who deserve it. He’s a good guy. Violent but good. I appreciate that.

I think everything happening in his personal life was really interesting. Midnighter is gay. He’s trying to get over his ex-boyfriend Apollo. I never read the two of them together but even from this comic, I could see how great their relationship was.

Loved how realistic his dating life seemed to me. He’s going on dates kind of casually. He’s hooking up with guys. Sometimes the relationships don’t go anywhere even if he definitely wants more. Sometimes those dates are interrupted by gunfire. It’s the life of a protagonist in a comic book. What ya gonna do? Midnighter is a relationship kind of guy who has a hard time in relationships. I felt that was something people could relate to.

I’m really excited to get the next volume of this when I can. I need to read more about this Midnighter and see how he progresses after everything he goes through in this volume.

 

Book Reviews

The Cat In The Cradle Book Review

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Dueling with mad magicians, battling possessed beasts, and surviving endless hostile landscapes? Easy. Loving someone you weren’t supposed to? That was hard. A faceless killer terrorizes the five lands, extinguishing from great distances the lives of even the most powerful men. It is from this murderer that Dylan is forced to flee. Only Tyjinn, a brash and unpredictable bodyguard, stands between Dylan and certain death. Rather than play it safe, Tyjinn makes an unusual proposal; to hunt the hunter. This isn’t the only unorthodox idea he puts forth as an attraction blooms between the two young men. In the midst of uncountable obstacles and unforgiving odds, can Dylan really afford to recognize his own feelings?

This book has a really interesting magic system. Ten different kinds of magic recognized by color. All with two components. I was very happy that we were able to find out what each color did and meet the oligarchs that control the colors to get a sense of all the magic in this world by the end.Of course, we definitely don’t see all that they can do, though.I’m sure we will see more of it actively in the second book. I really loved how different and eccentric the Oligarchs were. It makes me wonder how each of them became Oligarchs.

This book is so fast for the majority of the first a hundred or so pages. It’s action, action, action. Dylan does not really get a moment to rest for long without something happening. The pace evens out a bit around midway through the book I’d say. As more and more about what’s happening to the Oligarchs is revealed and about who the villain is. You get some time to process things along with Dylan and try to figure out how the group will be able to survive all this. At the end, I definitely thought things sped up again. Really right around Lali’s last chapter focusing on her.

I liked the romance in this book. I kind of ship it,but that might just be because it’s queer and magical. For the majority of the book you really can’t tell how things could work out between them and I liked that. Dylan’s fear of coming out because of his past experience has him push Tyjinn away. Then when he might be ready to stop doing that Tyjinn kind of flips the switch on him and the readers. Definitely didn’t expect that kind of story arc for Tyjinn. I think I wasn’t super invested because of my opinions on Tyjinn shifting so much throughout the book. There also isn’t a lot of time devoted to their relationship growth because so much is happening plot-wise, which I really was fine with.

Dylan’s reaction to a certain death wasn’t explored enough for me. I knew the character had a connection and major past experiences with Dylan and it didn’t seem like it affected him as much as it should. It may be because of the circumstances of the death and the way that Dylan learned of the death or just how much else was going on. Still, felt it should have been more.I don’t know.

Lali’s character is a badass no doubt about that and there are definitely some interesting layers to her.I really actually liked the first chapter we were given focusing on her. At first, it seemed random to me. It’s pretty focused on Dylan entirely before that. I just wanted more since we were getting her perspective in these little bursts throughout the book. There are big periods between things happening for her. It could be a little disorienting. To be for her last solo point in the book for her is also pretty disorienting for her as well honesty. I definitely loved seeing Lali’s application of orange magic as the book went on. Orange magic interest me from the first time it was mentioned in the book. I wanted to know what it was and how it was used.

Excited to see where things go in the second book. Really not sure where they will go after thisJust hoping everyone survives.