ARC Mini Review: Honeybee by Trista Mateer

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary:

You will meet people in your lifetime who demand to have poems written about them. It’s not something they say. It’s something about their hands, the shape of their mouths, the way they look walking away from you. Honeybee is an honest take on walking away and still feeling like you were walked away from. It’s about cutting love loose like a kite string and praying the wind has the decency to carry it away from you. It’s an ode to the back and forth, the process of letting something go but not knowing where to put it down. Honeybee is putting it down. It’s small town girls and plane tickets, a taste of tenderness and honey, the bandage on the bee sting. It’s a reminder that you are not defined by the people you walk away from or the people who walk away from you. Consider Honeybee a memoir in verse, or at the very least, a story written by one of today’s most confessional poets.

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★★★✩

This poetry collection is essentially about the author’s life after letting go of the woman she loved. It’s always hard to judge the content of such personal poems so I’m trying not to go there, I’ll just say that what kept me reading was the style of the poems more than the concepts. It’s just, the author’s feelings either will resonate with you or they won’t, and for me they mostly didn’t, but that’s something I need to have in order to really love poetry.

My favorite poems were the ones that talked about bisexuality (even if this book is not for you, you must read the poem called “A Brief Note on Biphobia”). They meant a lot to me.

I think this is an important book for queer women regardless of your own feelings while reading it, but definitely be aware that it’s very heavy on breakup and heartbreak themes as well as homophobia and biphobia.

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ARC Mini-Review: Birth of Chaos by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: A WISH FOR DESTRUCTION…
HAS JOSEPHINA UNRAVELING

A new wish is pushing the weary members of the Society to their breaking points. But as Jo’s complex relationship with their leader reveals dangerous truths about who she truly is, and was, her priorities quickly change. Now, she seeks to expose the enemy lurking in their midst, but it may already be too late to thwart an ancient goddess bent on stealing Jo’s power and destroying everything she loves.

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★★★✩

Birth of Chaos is in some ways better and in some others worse than the previous installments of this series. Some of the problems I had with the first two books (read the reviews here and here) are still there, other problems are somewhat solved, but I just can’t help but feel that the whole series feels extremely rushed and that it would benefit immensely from a little more editing.

What I continue liking about the series is the whole concept of worlds that can be destroyed and rebuilt, and the many missing pieces of worldbuilding that we finally got to discover in this third book make everything more interesting. Granted some things were kind of predictable if you’ve been paying attention during book two, some things still managed to surprise me.

There’s not much I can add to what I’ve already said in my previous reviews for this series without spoiling the plot, so this is just a short review. I want to read the next and final book because now I’m invested in the story and the characters. One thing I will say is that the ending (as in, the few final chapters) had me even more curious about what’s going to happen, so I guess that regardless of my problems with the execution, the concept still keeps dragging me into the story.

ARC Mini-Review: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra // a healthy M/M romance with important #ownvoices mental illness rep

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.

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★★★★

This was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for! A healthy and sexy M/M romance that’s never too smutty and never fetishized, with important ownvoices mental illness representation.

Reid and Joaquim come from different backgrounds. Most of the novel focuses on them learning to know each other and especially learning how to be together. Reid has cyclothymia and while Joaquim learns to be with him and be respectful of him when he’s cycling and needs space, Reid also needs to learn to let go of some of the behavior and negative expectations he’s still carrying from a past unhealthy relationship.

I think this is an important book because of the mental illness representation and how openly it’s talked about. It’s also definitely not a “love fixes mental illness” novel, far from it in fact, and I wish more novels were this honest when it comes to building healthy relationships not in spite of but alongside a mental illness.

Rep: Brazilian gay MC, cyclothymic gay MC, M/M relationship

TW (taken from the publisher’s website):
• Discussion of mental illness, therapy and recovery
• A portrayal of a cyclothymic character who experiences rapid mood cycles and anxiety
• Non-graphic discussion of past self-harm and off-page relapse
• Non-graphic reference of a past suicide attempt

ARC Mini-Review: Come to the Rocks by Christin Haws

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 
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SummaryLinnea’s only safe place is a spot on the rocky shoreline where the water can be rather vicious. It’s here where she meets, and falls in love with, a mermaid named Mren. As their romance blossoms, the escalating harassment from Linnea’s ex-boyfriend Mikey threatens the secret relationship. Mren has vowed to protect Linnea, but she’s confined to the water and Mikey is a land monster. Meanwhile, Linnea will do anything to keep Mren safe from him.

Anything.

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★★★★✩

This was an empowering short thriller featuring an f/f romance between a fat bisexual girl and a mermaid.

You shouldn’t go into it expecting it to be a fluffy romance. That’s only part of it, but there’s massive trigger warningsfor abuse, stalker ex boyfriend, violence, victim blaming (not condoned), gaslighting.

I had to put the book down for a bit because I hadn’t exactly read the blurb or other reviews (my own fault) and I wasn’t ready for all that. When I came back to the book I knew what I would face and I found it to be very well written and well developed for such a short story, plus there’s something about a mermaid/human f/f story that always appeals to me.

I definitely recommend it (just make sure you’re okay with the trigger warnings first) and it made me want to check out the author’s other works.

Comic Mini-Review: The Ghost, The Owl by Franco

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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Summary:On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren. What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together? Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be? What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, The Ghost, the Owl.

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★★★★

This was a stunning graphic novel with a simple but captivating plot about generosity and how much a single kind act can do.

The art is however what’s truly magnificent about it. It’s worth spending a good minute or two studying every detail of each page, or simply go back after you’ve finished the story and look at every page again to really absorb the amazing details. I’ve only read an e-copy but I would love owning the finished, physical product.

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Definitely get this if you’re looking for a graphic novel that’s not only good but also utterly beautiful. It would look stunning on a bookshelf.

Comic Mini-Review: Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary:Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.

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★★★★

I think when reading Sarah’s Scribbles you have to be in a mood where either everything is funny or your life is literally going to shit, and anything in between would kind of ruin your experience with these collections.

As it happens, I loved this third book so much (I’ll let you guess which mood I was in). The little comics made me laugh and the last part where she talks about the issues that online creators face online was very relatable and honest. She also gives advice to artists and writers on how to deal with trolls and harsh criticism, and I basically agreed with everything she had to say and found it to be a helpful reminder.

I wouldn’t particularly care for a star rating in this case because it might just as easily be a 5 stars or a 3 stars, but it made me smile and laugh and I don’t want to be picky so I’m giving it a full 5 because what the hell, I enjoyed it a lot.

Audiobook mini review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

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Summary: Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

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★★★★

This was my first audiobook EVER and I don’t think I could have chosen a better one to start with. I don’t know how to review myths and stuff but Gaiman’s retelling was so good and it gave life to these silly and scary and traitorous and petty and clever gods.

If you already know your Norse mythology you would probably still enjoy this a lot, but for a complete newbie like me this was amazing and the audiobook format only made everything more right. It reminded me of my mom telling me about the Greek myths when I was a kid, and that’s how myths were originally narrated before people started writing them down.

I’m so so happy to have read this and I cried at the very end because I wished to never finish listening to Neil Gaiman’s voice. I don’t know how you can feel nostalgic of something you’ve finished twenty minutes before, but this book has made me laugh and cry and it has opened a whole new world (or nine) to me and I will always love it and cherish the time I’ve spent with it.


Have you read this or anything by Neil Gaiman? What else should I read by him?