Sunday, July 1, 2018

Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Jessica Kingsley Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Image result for phoenix goes to schoolAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children
Authors: Michelle Finch & Phoenix Finch
Upcoming Release Date: July 19, 2018

Synopsis: My Mommy tells me I'm perfect and to be brave.

"You know who you are," she says,

"Just be yourself and always listen to your heart."

With those words of encouragement from her Mom, Phoenix is preparing for her first day of school. She is excited but scared of being bullied because of her gender identity and expression. Yet when she arrives at school she finds help and support from teachers and friends, and finds she is brave enough to talk to other kids about her gender!

This is an empowering and brightly-illustrated children's book for children aged 3+ to help children engage with gender identity in a fun, uplifting way. It supports trans children who are worried about being bullied or misunderstood. 


Review: This picture book is a cute, short story about a girl being nervous about how people will react when she wears a dress to school. A young girl and her mother wrote this story together about their own personal experiences. In addition to the story, there are also resources included with the book. There are questions to use to initiate a conversation with children about gender. There are also resources for adults and parents about trans issues.

There is plenty of colorful artwork in this picture book. Phoenix is relatable to any child. The fact that this book was written by a daughter and her mother makes it even more adorable. I give this picture book a 5/5.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ice Cream Man Vol. 1: Rainbow Sprinkles (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comics via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

Ice Cream Man Vol. 1: Rainbow SprinklesAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Ice Cream Man Vol. 1: Rainbow Sprinkles
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artists: Martin Morazzo & Chris O'Halloran
Upcoming Release Date: June 26, 2018

Synopsis: Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, addiction, musical fantasy...there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery.

ICE CREAM MAN is a genre-defying comic book series, featuring disparate “one-shot” tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man—a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who with a snap of his fingers—lickety split!—can change the course of your life forever.


Review: I had no idea what to expect with this graphic novel. What I got was an adult Goosebumps comic, pretty much. There are four different stories in this book. They each involve the Ice Cream Man, but in different ways. The juxtaposition of the classic ice cream truck and the gruesome deaths gives the book a modern, creepy feel. 

The first story involves a boy and his pet spider. The second deals with drug addicts. The third focuses on a has-been one-hit-wonder and features a lot of trippy rock references. The last story is pretty creepy and involves a funeral.

I give this graphic novel a 3/5. The art was great, but the gory stories didn't have enough depth for me. It's definitely original, though.   


Thursday, June 14, 2018

It Will All Hurt, Vol. 1 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comics via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

It Will All Hurt, Vol. 1Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

It Will All Hurt, Vol. 1
Creator: Farel Dalrymple
Upcoming Release Date: June 19, 2018

Synopsis: A weird, sad, silly, sketchy, and dreamy watercolor fantasy action quest in which Alemendra Clementine and her crew of anti-social adventurers all come together on a psych-apocalyptic world to take down an evil wizard.

This Eisner Award-nominated webcomic began as a loose stream of consciousness exercise and exploration of the comic book medium and takes place in the same world as FAREL DALRYMPLE's The Wrenchies.


Review: This graphic novel is very artistic and stylized. And, I did not understand it. I was lost and confused while reading this book. There are sparse panels and a sketchy style of artwork. The story feels almost dreamlike with the physics. It's trippy and, at times, creepy. I was unsure what I was supposed to think or feel about the story as I read along. This book was just not for me. I give it a 2/5


Friday, June 8, 2018

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press and Limerence Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them PronounsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
Author: Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson
Upcoming Release Date: June 12, 2018

Synopsis: Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world. A quick and easy resource for people who use they/them pronouns, and people who want to learn more!


Review: I absolutely love that this is a comic! It's a comic that is made to educate and inform people on gender neutral pronouns, specifically they/them. The format is conversational with a few nice diagrams. This comic covers so many great topics including pronouns in general, misgendering, and gender neutral pronouns. It's told in a fun, and sometimes sarcastic way. The emphasis is on building empathy.

"Nothing is as cool as being an empathetic and respectful person."

I give this educational comic a 5/5. I HIGHLY recommend this. This comic would be a great gift for friends, family, AND co-workers.


Monday, June 4, 2018

The Wormworld Saga: The Journey Begins (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Lion Forge via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Wormworld Saga: The Journey Begins
Creator: Daniel Lieske 
Upcoming Release Date: June 5, 2018

Synopsis: Are you ready to enter the Wormworld?

Jonas is a dreamer. During his summer holidays he stays at his Grandmas house on the countryside. In the attic he discovers a strange painting, which turns out to be an entrance to the mysterious Wormworld. Jonas steps through the picture into the foreign world and loses connection to his home right at that moment. Completely left on his own, he has to face the biggest adventure of his young life... 


Review: A child finds a portal to another world over summer vacation when visiting a relative. Yes, this is cliche. But who doesn't love a good portal story? There were many aspects of this story that reminded me of a point-and-click adventure game from the 90s. The artwork is beautiful, showing all the corners of this lush world. 

This first volume is barely even a start to the story. I wish there would have been more included. The worldbuilding is immense. There are monsters and different types of crystals. All with great artwork. 

I wasn't aware of the online following this writer and his world had. There's a cool behind-the-scenes look at the creator at the end of the graphic novel. I give this book a 3.5/5. I wouldn't be surprised if this story finds itself in a movie or tv show in the near future.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Wormworld Saga Free Comic Book Day 2018 - Paul's REVIEW

The Wormworld Saga Free Comic Book Day 2018Amazon | Goodreads

The Wormworld Saga Free Comic Book Day 2018
Creator: Daniel Lieske 

Synopsis: Enter the Wormworld, at the very beginning. A mysterious painting. A wooden sword. A hidden world. A time before conflict. Two friends in search of magic and adventure. This is how the saga begins. This exciting all-new prequel to Daniel Lieske's hugely popular webcomic The Wormworld Saga will entice new fans in time for the series' first US print release in May 2018, and tantalize existing readers with hints at secrets yet to be revealed.


Review: I picked this comic up on Free Comic Book Day this year. I had obtained a review copy of the first volume of The Wormworld Saga so I figured I would see what this comic was about.

This issue is a prequel to the main story of the series. It establishes some of the background behind the paintings used to travel to the different world. It was cool to get some backstory even before I read the first volume.

I give this issue a 4/5. It's pretty simple and short, but a great intro into this lush creative world.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Void Trip (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comics via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

Void TripAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Void Trip
Author: Ryan O'Sullivan  
Artist: Plaid Klaus 
Upcoming Release Date: June 5, 2018

Synopsis: From writer RYAN O'SULLIVAN (Turncoat, The Evil Within, Warhammer 40,000) and illustrator PLAID KLAUS (Turncoat) comes the story of Ana and Gabe, the last two humans left alive in the galaxy. They're low on fuel, they're low on food, and they're low on psychedelic space froot, but they're still determined to make it to the promised land: hippy-paradise super-planet Euphoria. This is the story of their journey, the friends and enemies they made along the way, and how the universe responded to those who dared to live freely within it.


Review: This graphic novel is Harold & Kumar meets Saga. The last two humans in the universe are traveling together in search of Euphoria, a planet where everything is good. On their journey they meet plenty of odd alien characters while being chased by another odd alien character in white. During all of this, they utilize the intoxicating properties of froot. 

There are some interesting moral and philosophical quandaries addressed in this comic. And they're mostly through the eyes of high characters. The framework of the storytelling is also interesting in how it ends. 

I give this graphic novel a 4/5. Great artwork that matches the trippy story.