MINI REVIEWS: Breathe. Breathe., Cat’s Cradle, Slothilda, & Drawn to Sex

I’m reading a lot of poetry and graphic novels right now, as well as books that I don’t have full reviews for, so I’m going to start doing occasional mini review round-ups again! Each of the reviews below is the shortened version of my review, but the “goodreads” link buttons will take you to the full review. Enjoy, and let me know what you think of the format!


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TITLE: Breathe. Breathe.
AUTHOR: Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
RELEASED: October 10th, 2017; Unnerving
GENRE: Horror/Poetry
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

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Just remember, when the pain rises to the surface, don’t forget to breathe.

These poems and short stories are not for the faint of heart. The poetry comes from a very raw place in Erin’s history, and you can feel her bleeding on the pages as she writes, but as someone who’s been there, too? The catharsis and sisterhood I felt here was powerful.

Until one night, the fireflies blink in unison, like small beacons.

Though so much of Erin’s writing resonated with me, one poem in particular that just grabbed my heart and squeezed so tightly was The Society of the Fireflies, which she says she wrote for her daughter, Emma. It starts off in a dark, painful place, but gradually brightens as the misery is washed away. I don’t know if I’m projecting here, but I’ll tell anyone, any time, that my son’s entry into the world made all the hurt that came before him fuzzy and grey. It sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s true; there’s so much love in my heart now, it doesn’t seem like there’s as much room for hate and hurt as there once was, and as Erin wrote about those fireflies, I couldn’t help but feel like she was saying she understood me, mother to mother.

Breathing is not as simple as you think.

After the poetry, there are a few short stories, and my favorite of these was the episodic collection of tales that take place on Valhalla Lane, where abuse victims gradually bubble over with rage and hurt until they lash out.

Altogether, Breathe. Breathe. is a fantastic collection of poems and stories, and—at risk of sounding cheesy—is a real breath of fresh air. Erin shows a natural talent for writing, and I am so appreciative of the way she bared her soul to the world in her work here.

5leaves


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TITLE: Cat’s Cradle
AUTHOR: Kurt Vonnegut
RELEASED: January 1st, 1963; Dial Press
GENRE: Science Fiction
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
Cat’s Cradle is filled with scientists and G-men and even ordinary folks caught up in the game. These assorted characters chase each other around in search of the world’s most important and dangerous substance, a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature.

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This is one of those reviews that is a bit painful to write, because I already know people are going to judge me for it, but…

Where do I even begin to tell you how strongly I disliked this book?

The writing is all over the place, there is no cohesive plot, the repetition is god-awful, and the sci-fi facet is so underdeveloped that I kept forgetting it even was a part of the book. On top of how much I disliked the general narrative, story, and humor, this was such a ridiculously uncomfortable thing to read. I know, “it’s a product of its time”, so I can promise you, the star rating is not based on what I’m about to say, but what the hell was up with Vonnegut’s obsession with people with dwarfism? He literally could not refer to one character for more than a single sentence without calling him a “midget” or referring to him as “small” or talking down to him.

I could honestly rant for days about how much I hated this book, and how hard it was to power through to the ending. It’s also grossly sexist, features what might have been the world’s first example of insta-love in a sci-fi novel, and creepy. The only reason I’m giving this 2 stars is because, as someone who was burned by Christianity when I was younger, I have to admit that some of his rude remarks about religion were entertaining and/or very valid, observant points.

2leaves


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TITLE: Slothilda
AUTHOR: Dante Fabiero
RELEASED: October 2nd, 2018; Skyhorse Publishing
GENRE: Humor
AGE RANGE: Everyone

SYNOPSIS:
From former Simpsons animator Dante Fabiero comes this all-too-real comic series about an adorable little sloth who’s driven by her desire for self-improvement. Slothilda explores an inner conflict we can all relate to―the desire to succeed and grow, while paradoxically dealing with the ever present temptation to sloth.

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A cute little sloth with her Corgi pup, lamenting the struggles of a lazy life? Yes, please.

Slothilda is absolutely just as precious as I expected it to be, and then some. The artwork is fun and light, and Slothilda’s plight is totally relatable. A vicious cycle of working out, then eating junk food, and repeating ad nauseam? Using your workout equipment as something to hang clothes on? Being glued to your phone all day, hiding your clutter, and spending money on all the wrong things? I think a lot of us have been there.

Slothilda is a precious little character, and I loved it. The only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because it’s so over-simplified that it doesn’t feel like it should be considered a full release. It would make a good coffee table book, but if I had paid full price, I can’t help but think I’d feel a little bit let down, as most of the book is empty white page space.

Thank you so much to Skyhorse Publishing for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

4leaves


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TITLE: Drawn to Sex: The Basics
AUTHOR: Erika Moen & Matthew Nolan
RELEASES: November 6th, 2018; Limerence Press
GENRE: Nonfiction
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
Have you ever had a question about sex, but didn’t know who to ask? Well, Erika and Matthew have spent years learning, talking, and creating informative comics about all aspects of sex. Using comics, jokes, and frank communication, they’re here to demystify the world of sex and answer your questions—including ones you might not even know you had!

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When I was younger, I struggled a lot with recognizing what was healthy or unhealthy in a sexual relationship. Sex has been a part of my life for a long time as someone who is attracted to multiple genders and does not fall anywhere on the asexual spectrum, but unhealthy relationships and exposure to unhealthy scenarios as a teen messed up my views on what it should look like. Erika Moen’s Oh Joy, Sex Toy webcomics were a tremendous help.

I have to say that I think I first learned sex positivity from Erika’s words.

Erika so strongly normalizes different races, sexualities, identities, body types, disabilities, and anything else you can think of. There’s also a lot of attention paid to phrasing—instead of using binary terms, she’ll use phrases like “people with *insert sexual term here*”—and she even takes time more than once to point out that asexuality comes in many different layers, and each and every one of those layers is perfectly valid.

I would recommend Drawn to Sex to anyone and everyone, and am so proud of Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan for the work they’re doing. ♥

Thank you so much to Oni Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

5leaves


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Just a 25-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

8 thoughts on “MINI REVIEWS: Breathe. Breathe., Cat’s Cradle, Slothilda, & Drawn to Sex

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