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Book Review: Black Forest, by Laramie Dean

I accepted a review copy of Laramie Dean’s Black Forest for review through Pride Book Tours. And I try really hard to stay on top of any commitment I make. But I owe profuse apologies for this one. I got buried in schoolwork and just had to set the book aside for about two weeks and didn’t get it done in time. It sat on my side table, haunting me in a manner truly worthy of its content.

black forest cover

Nathan has always been haunted by what he calls “deaders,” frightening, disfigured creatures—once human but now hungry and relentless ghosts. After a séance to banish them goes awry, Nathan escapes high school to start over at Waxman University in idyllic Garden City, Montana. But when young men begin to go missing from campus, Nathan finds that the deaders have returned, more frightening and hungrier than ever.

With the help of the mysterious Theo, Nathan seeks to learn the truth behind the disappearances. But something worse than the deaders begins to haunt Nathan . . . something with glowing yellow eyes and giant wings. As reality grows thin, things emerge from the cracks. Is Theo what he seems? Or could he be some kind of monster? Will Nathan learn the truth before he vanishes into the darkness? 

my review

I’m torn about how to feel about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it. I liked the realness of it and Nathan’s unreliable self-destructiveness. I thought the writing purple as hell, which will probably bother some people, but I enjoy it. But on the other, I felt like (after a strong start) the book flagged, and I got bored.

Plus, the blurb talks about Theo and disappearances, etc. Theo and Nathan don’t truly meet until well PAST THE HALFWAY MARK. So, I have to quibble with that being in the blurb as if it’s the most significant plotline. It’s important, don’t get me wrong. But if I have to read 200+ pages before I get to it, I can’t consider it prime real estate blurb-worthy.

All in all, this is atmospheric and mind-bending (if at times mind-numbing). But I enjoyed more of it than I didn’t. So, I’ll give it a thumbs-up.


Other Reviews:

Black Forest by Laramie Dean _ Book Review

 

WE RIDE TITANS

Book Review: We Ride Titans, by Tres Dean

I accepted a review copy of We Ride Titans, by Tres Dean (author), Dee Cunniffe (colorist), Sebastián Píriz (Illustrator), Jim Campbell, Adrian F. Wassel (Editor). The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for a sample page, author and illustrator info, the tour schedule, and a chance to win a copy of the graphic novel for yourself.

Pacific Rim meets Shameless in this sci-fi kaiju action adventure, female helmed thrill ride where one woman must keep the monsters in check – as well as her explosive family!

It’s Mechs vs. Kaiju in this hard-hitting, action sci-fi adventure!

Kaiju hit hard. Family hits harder.

Just when you break free … you get pulled back in.

Trying to keep your family from imploding is a tall order. Titan-rider Kit Hobbs is about to find out it’s an even taller order when that family has been piloting the Titan that protects New Hyperion from the monstrous kaiju for generations. With an addicted, spiraling brother, a powder keg of a father, and a whole bunch of twenty-story monsters, she’s got her work cut out for her.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. I liked the art and use of color. I appreciated the sibling affection and inter-generational discord. There is little bit of background romance and I liked that it wasn’t sullied by needless cheating to give the story artificial grit. There’s diversity and appropriate use of mental health services to address the result of generational trauma.

I did think that the introduction of the villain was abrupt and I could have done with a little more backstory. The mother’s role was never defined in any significant way and the kaiju just exist; we’re not told anything about them. All of this could have been improved with a little more length and time to unfurl. All in all, however, I’ll call this one a winner. If you’re at all into the mecha genre, check this out.

we ride titans photo


Other reviews:

The Real World According to Sam: Blog tour review, We Ride Titans

You Are The Wall – Character Outshines Spectacle in Vault Comics’ We Ride Titans

 

 

 

Maybe an Artist, a Graphic Memoir Banner

Book Review: Maybe an Artist, by Elizabeth Montague

I accepted a review copy of Maybe an Artist, by Elizabeth Montague as part of it’s tour with TBR and Beyond Book Tours. The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for author/artist information and the official tour schedule.

Maybe an Artist, a Graphic Memoir

A heartfelt and funny graphic novel memoir from one of the first Black female cartoonists to be published in the New Yorker, when she was just 22 years old.

When Liz Montague was a senior in college, she wrote to the New Yorker, asking them why they didn’t publish more inclusive comics. The New Yorker wrote back asking if she could recommend any. She responded: yes, me.

Those initial cartoons in the New Yorker led to this memoir of Liz’s youth, from the age of five through college–how she navigated life in her predominantly white New Jersey town, overcame severe dyslexia through art, and found the confidence to pursue her passion. Funny and poignant, Liz captures the age-old adolescent questions of “who am I?” and “what do I want to be?” with pitch-perfect clarity and insight.

This brilliant, laugh-out-loud graphic memoir offers a fresh perspective on life and social issues and proves that you don’t need to be a dead white man to find success in art.

my review

I’m really into graphic memoirs right now. So, I was excited to get my hands on this. I thought it was a poignant, funny, super cute coming of age story. The art is perfect for the tone of the book. There is humor (especially round the passage of time) and I think a lot of young people will relate to the struggles Montague depicts.

I did kind of feel like starting the book with the events of 9/11 felt odd. I grasped that it marks the reader in time and was, of course, a salient experience for a lot of people that age. But it also felt abrupt and anchor-less, since we didn’t even know Montague  yet.

All in all, however, I enjoyed this though. I’ll be passing it to my 15-year-old next. She’s left-handed, starting to feel the strain of choosing a future life path, art-minded, and vacillating about whether to include it in her career plans. I think even people not sharing quite so many qualities with past Montague will get a lot out of this book. But I especially think my budding artist will.

photo maybe an artist


Other Reviews:

Maybe an Artist by Elizabeth Montague Blog Tour

Review: Maybe an Artist by Liz Montague