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review 2018-06-15 00:42
Gone to Sea in a Bucket (A Harry Gilmour Novel) - David Black

"GONE TO SEA IN A BUCKET" brings home to the reader the lives of the sailors of the Royal Navy who served in the submarine service during the early years of the Second World War. The author writes knowingly of his subject with a richly layered prose that will make the reader want to know more about the adventures and perils faced by submariners on the high seas. I absolutely SAVORED reading this novel and look forward to reading the 2 additional novels in the series.

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review 2018-06-14 07:58
The Inflatable Woman (Graphic Novel) by Rachael Ball
The Inflatable Woman - Rachael Ball

Iris (or balletgirl_42 as she's known on the Internet dating circuit) is a zookeeper looking for love when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Overnight, her life becomes populated by a carnival of daunting hospital characters. Despite the attempts of her friends--Maud, Grandma Suggs, Larry the Monkey, and a group of singing penguins--to comfort her, her fears begin to encircle her, and she clings to the attention of a lighthouse keeper called sailor_buoy_39. The Inflatable Woman combines magical realism with the grit of everyday life to create a poignant and surreal journey inside the human psyche.





Zookeeper Iris is an active member on a number of online dating sites. While on the hunt for Mr. Right, she is sidelined with a breast cancer diagnosis. Though she is surrounded by support from friends and family, Iris becomes consumed with fear and anxiety when she ponders her mortality. Under the online handle balletgirl_42, Iris meets a lighthouse keeper who goes by the handle sailorbuoy_39.


The two quickly develop a bond via email conversations, but Iris fears losing her lighthouse keeper should he learn the truth about her. Though she poses as a prima ballerina, in reality Iris is a heavyset woman. Would her sailor accept her as is if she comes clean?


So yes, it's a story that somewhat touches upon the topic of online catfishing, but there's actually so much more here. Inspired by her own cancer story, author / illustrator Rachael Ball crafts a tale that touches upon all the tough emotions women are tempted to swallow down and not face. Fear of acceptance, fear of mortality, anger at your body turning against you, struggles with self-esteem within a female body, the most basic need for being accepted as we are.. yes, these are universal themes regardless of gender, but this story addresses them directly from the POV of being a woman. Powerful symbolism is incorporated, such as illustration of train = giving up while emergency stop pull = will to live.



The artwork is done almost entirely in black and white except for a few pages where bits of reddish pink are intentionally & impactfully added in. Note: because struggles with depression play a part in Iris' story, there are some pages that feature somewhat dark, disturbing artwork depicting the fight within her mind. But there are also moments of levity to lighten the heavy, such as penguins dressed as nuns! (It'll make sense when you read the book yourself... maybe...).



If you've been curious to get into the graphic novel genre but don't think anime or superhero arc stories are your thing, let me recommend this one. Though the overall themes are geared towards women, there are plenty of universal feelings within Iris' story that virtually anyone can appreciate. 

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review 2018-06-13 22:54
love the premise and the trees
The Overstory - Richard Powers

I love the premise and everything he wrote about trees. I found myself skipping around to read the tree parts. You could argue that it's all about trees, which it is, but the entirety did not consistently hold my interest. In my opinion, that's because the characters needed pruning. It's just too long. He's a great writer but could have used an editor on this one.

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review 2018-06-07 03:52
Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major, Illustrated by Kelly Bastow
Manfried The Man - Caitlin Major,Kelly Bastow

'Manfried the Man' is about a young white collar cat named Steve living the dream with his pet man Manfried. The book is full of sight gags about the foibles of crazy man cats and their obsessions with their pets.

The illustrations are fantastic, I've seen some complaints about all the little man genitals, but is that really so shocking? Maybe the artist could have drawn big clumps of man pubes to decently cover them, but I think that would be weirder.

The plotting of the book could use a little love. Steve just doesn't have it in him to carry the show by himself for that long - he needs Manfried for backup. The other quibble I have is where are the women, all of the little pets humans were men. That doesn't seem to make sense.

It probably doesn't bear thinking about that much. This is a cute comic book about reversing the roles of people and cats. I liked it.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-06 00:24
Kingdom Hearts II Novel Volume 1
Kingdom Hearts II: The Novel, Vol. 1 (li... Kingdom Hearts II: The Novel, Vol. 1 (light novel) - Nojima Kazushige,Tetsuya Nomura,Tomoco Kanemaki

I'm a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, and I chose to read this novel because I'm hyped up about Kingdom Hearts III.


This novel covers the first part of the game until the start of the Heartless battle in Hollow Bastion. The story follows the Final Mix version of the game well. The notable difference is that the book focuses more on other characters beside Sora. Kairi, Riku, and Namine get a lot more scenes in the book compared to the game. Those scenes provide me a clear view of what happens in Kingdom Hearts II.


The book does not contain a lot of visits to the Disney worlds which I did not mind because reading about every world that appears in the game does not sound exciting (if I want to experience every world, I can just play the game). Also, most of the worlds in the game have little to do with the main plot. So, I'm glad the author skipped most of the world visits and instead focused on the ones that are connected to the main story.


I recommend this book to fans who want something to do while they wait for Kingdom Hearts III. 


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