Friday, July 3, 2020

I Am Not a Label: 34 artists, thinkers, athletes and activists with disabilities from past and present - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Quatro Group & Wide Eyed Editions via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

I Am Not a Label by Cerrie BurnellAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

I Am Not a Label: 34 artists, thinkers, athletes and activists with disabilities from past and present
Author: Cerrie Burnell
Illustrator: Lauren Mark Baldo
Upcoming Release Date: July 7, 2020

Synopsis: In this stylishly illustrated biography anthology, meet 30 artists, thinkers, athletes, and activists with disabilities, from past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, find out how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences, and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them.

These short biographies tell the stories of people who have faced unique challenges that have not stopped them from becoming trailblazers, innovators, advocates, and makers. Each person is a leading figure in their field, be it sports, science, math, art, breakdancing, or the world of pop.

Challenge your preconceptions of disability and mental health with the eye-opening stories of these remarkable people:

Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Kirchoff, Henri Matisse, Eliza Suggs, Helen Keller,
Frida Kahlo, John Nash, Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin, Stevie Wonder, Nabil Shaban, Terry Fox,
Peter Dinklage, Wanda Diaz Merced, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, Dr Victor Pineda, Farida Bedwei, Stella Young, Lady Gaga, Arunima Sinha, Naoki Higashida, Isabella Spingmuhl Tejada, Aaron Philip, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Redouan Ait Chitt, Jonas Jacobsson, Trischa Zorn, Ade Adepitan, and Nick Jonas.


Review: Representation matters. This book does that. The people featured in this book come from many different backgrounds. There are both historic figures and modern people. The people included are athletes, actors, activists, scientists, and more. Wonderful artwork accompanies each person's story. There's a helpful glossary at the end of the book with useful terms.

I love that this book exists. All young people should read this. It shows representation for young people who can see themselves in these people's stories and it also leads to exposure and hopefully empathy for young people who may be learning these aspects about famous people's lives for the first time. I give this book a 5/5


Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from DC Comcis via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Cover] Dick Grayson: The Lost Carnival, by Michael Moreci and Sas ...Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel
Author: Michael Moreci 
Artists: Sas Milledge & Phil Hester
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Synopsis: Before Batman trained him to be Robin, Dick Grayson discovered the power of young love--and its staggering costs--at the dangerous, magical, and utterly irresistible Lost Carnival.

Haly's traveling circus no longer has the allure of its glamorous past, but it still has one main attraction: the Flying Graysons, a family of trapeze artists starring a teenage Dick Grayson. The only problem is that Dick loathes spending his summers performing tired routines for a dwindling crowd.

When the Lost Carnival, a wild and enchanting new attraction, opens nearby and threatens to pull Haly's remaining customers, Dick is among those drawn to its magical nighttime glow. But there are forces ancient and dangerous at work at the Lost Carnival, and when Dick meets the mysterious Luciana and her carnival workers--each stranger than the last--he may be too mesmerized to recognize the danger ahead.

Beneath the carnival's dazzling fireworks, Dick must decide who he is and who he wants to be--choosing between loyalty to his family history and a glittering future with new friends and romance. Writer Michael Moreci and artist Sas Milledge redefine Dick Grayson in The Lost Carnival, a young adult graphic novel exploring the power and magic of young love.


Review: I really like these YA graphic novels coming from DC featuring younger versions of well known characters. This book features Dick Grayson, most well known as Batman's Robin. 

This book features Dick Grayson working with his parents at the circus for the summer. It's set in modern times. I like the modern difficulties shown for circuses. They're competing with the internet and big name performances. 

A mysterious carnival appears near the circus. Dick Grayson learns about this odd carnival and it leads to some interesting things. I really liked the way color is used in this book, especially between the two. Blues are used for the circus. Reds and yellows are used for the unusual carnival. 

This is a really fun story. The connection to the Batman universe is not necessary. If Dick Grayson had  different name, I think this story would still be just as great. Knowing what will happen to characters like Dick's parents and knowing Dick's future life as a superhero almost takes away or hinders from the story because you know certain things are not going to happen within this story. There aren't as many opportunities to take this story to interesting places. 

I give this book a 4/5. It's a fun story, but the connection to Batman almost takes away from it. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 11 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 11 (11): Parrott, Ryan, Di ...Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 11
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artists: Daniele Di Nicuolo & Walter Baiamonte
Release Date: April 21, 2020

Synopsis: The POWER RANGERS: NECESSARY EVIL comic book event begins right here as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers return with the White Ranger as their new leader…and a surprising new enemy!

POWER RANGERS: NECESSARY EVIL BEGINS HERE! The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are back in Angel Grove…with the White Ranger as their leader! But what happened to the team after they defeated Lord Drakkon? And what does the White Ranger’s first appearance mean for the future of the team?

The new series creative team of writer Ryan Parrott (Go Go Power Rangers) and artist Daniele Di Nicuolo (Power Rangers: Shattered Grid) begin a bold new era as those answers – and more shocking secrets -- are revealed for the very first time!

Collects Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40-43.


Review: I have been waiting to read this volume! The White Ranger is here! Saba is back! Thunder zords! Rocky, Aisha, & Adam have joined the team and Trini, Jason, & Zack have their own adventures to begin. The Omega Rangers premiere!

One of the best parts of these comics is seeing the rangers acknowledge some of the ridiculousness of the original show in a wink and nod kind of way. An example is when they discuss the damage done to the city by the monsters and the zord battles. 

The Omega Rangers story is really fun and I'm excited to see where it goes. They're searching for people newly given powers from the grid, some with positive intent and others not so much.The Emissary and the tenses they use is a fun mystery. Also the moral uncertainty associated with the Emissary.

The crashing a fancy party trope!!! This sequence also features a lot of villain cameos both from the comics and the tv shows.

The artwork in this volume is so great. The storytelling in this art form is so good. There's a morph sequence panel that is epic! And there's an intimate moment of Kim's voicemail to Trini during a massive zord battle. 

This series continues to deliver. This series is not stagnating. It's continuing with new stories. This volume feels like a new chapter of the larger comic book story for Power Rangers. I give this volume a 5/5


Thursday, June 25, 2020

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from HarperCollins via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* They Both Die at the End (9780062457790): Silvera ...Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: They Both Die at the End

Author: Adam Silvera
Release Date: September 15, 2017

Synopsis: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.


Review: I've been trying to catch up on some older queer books this year for Pride. I read this a few months ago and find myself struggling with specifics (because 2020 and time has been very unusual), but I enjoyed this book sooooo much! I read it during a gay cruise and over the course of just a few days. 

This is such a great story. The concept is straight out of a Black Mirror episode, but the characters and story are wholly YA and queer. I love the moral and ethical quandaries brought up. What does it mean to live? What does it mean to die? What really matters in life?

I give this book a 5/5. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. Adam Silvera always delivers on unique concepts with so much heart.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from HarperCollins via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Infinity Son - Adam Silvera - HardcoverAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1)

Author: Adam Silvera
Release Date: January 14, 2020

Synopsis: Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.


Review: I read this book a few months ago and unfortunately procrastinated writing the review until now (June 2020 in a current world where time moves in mysterious ways) and I'm struggling to think of specific things. BUT, I absolutely loved this book. I think one of the reasons I didn't take notes while I read for this book was I was so entrenched within the pages. It was fun to read. I am all here for any YA Fantasy with queer lead characters! 

The worldbuilding is well thought through. It's a modern world, but a world in which magic is a thing. There are magical creatures. The phoenixes are so cool!

Honestly, you should just go pick up this book. If you're a fan of Adam Silvera's other books, modern fantasy, queer YA, or any combination of those this is a must read. I'm very excited for the sequel! I give this book a 5/5


Monday, June 1, 2020

Reverie by Ryan La Sala - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

                                                  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Reverie

Author: Ryan La Sala
Release Date: December 3, 2019

Synopsis: All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.


Review: This book is so queer and I love it! Not only is the protagonist a gay teen, but the antagonist is a drag queen sorceress! Reverie is full of imaginative mini-worlds that are beautifully fantastical. They span genres and play with tropes in a fun way. Each time one of these reveries began, I got so excited to read about the details of this one and how they related to the person the reverie was spewing from.

This book isn't just a fun "magic girl" team fantasy. There's also some very universal queer themes. Kane has his past taken from him and has to quite literally find himself again. The theme of finding yourself and finding/making your own space is central to this story.

I really liked the team component of this book. It definitely has a Sailor Moon, Power Rangers, or Animorphs vibes in that each person of the time has their own powers they bring to the table as well as their own faults.

La Sala does an excellent job of revealing things slowly over time. When they're relevant. And when it really moves the story forward. This was not a slow read for me.

I obviously am giving this book a 5/5. This is such a beautiful book. I wish I had this book as a teen.


Friday, May 29, 2020

SFSX (Safe Sex), Vol. 1: Protection (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comics via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

SFSX (Safe Sex), Vol. 1: Protection
Author: Tina Horn
Artists: Michael Dowling, Jen Hickman, Alejandra Gutierrez, & Tula Lotay
Upcoming Release Date: June 2, 2020

Synopsis: From notorious kink writer TINA HORN and featuring a diverse group of artists comes SFSX (SAFE SEX), a social thriller about sex, love, and torture. It's SEX CRIMINALS in Gilead, Hustlers with a SUNSTONE twist.

In a draconian America where sexuality is strictly bureaucratized and policed, a group of queer sex workers keep the magic alive in an underground club called the Dirty Mind. Using their unique talents for bondage and seduction, they resolve to infiltrate the mysterious government Pleasure Center, free their incarcerated friends, and fight the power!

Collects SFSX (SAFE SEX) #1-7


Review: Obviously, this graphic novel is for adults. There is sex in it. It's super sex positive and I love it!

This is a modern story about a near future dystopia. A corrupt theocracy using feminism against sexual liberation. An awesome group of heroes tries to fight back.The villains feel so real. The world building is done so well that I could see this as a potential future. which is scary. Even the vocabulary the villains use makes it reasonable that they believe their side of things. 

This is an excellent sex-positive graphic novel. I give this book a 5/5.