This week’s mini review round-up includes 1 novel, 1 standard novella, 1 illustrated novella, and 1 manga!
Some the reviews below are the shortened version of my review, but the “goodreads” link buttons will take you to the full review. Enjoy!
TITLE: The Faithful
AUTHOR: Matt Hayward
RELEASED: October 15th, 2018; Sinister Grin Press
AGE RANGE: Adult
The Faithful primarily follows Jonesy, a former musician looking to find his long-lost son, and Leo, a retiring comedian who’s been begged by a fan to visit a strange rural town in the south right before the fan passes away. Despite having totally different motives, the two strangers find themselves in each other’s paths and join forces to defeat this bizarre town full of cult-followers looking for human sacrifices to appease their violent god.
It’s a difficult book to sum up a synopsis for, because it’s fairly character-driven and short enough that too many details would spoil the whole thing, but what I can tell you is that the writing is enjoyable and quick-paced, the cult is fascinating, and there’s an unexpected side effect the god-worship is causing for the citizens of the town that’s dark and disturbing in the best way. Suspense is high from start to finish, and while the ending felt a little bit rushed, it was the sort of close that could simultaneously leave an open door for a sequel without leaving the reader unfulfilled.
As my first Matt Hayward read, I think this was a solid introduction to his writing, and I will definitely be checking out more of his work in the future!
Thank you so much to Sinister Grin Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
TITLE: Snow and Mistletoe
AUTHOR: Alexa Riley
RELEASED: December 10th, 2015
AGE RANGE: Adult
Snow and Mistletoe is about two people who have fallen in love over the telephone, and now they’re finally meeting up, but one of them has a big secret: he’s covered in scars from a car wreck and suffers tremendous insecurities due to the injuries.
Have you ever read something SO cringe-inducing that you just couldn’t put it down because how the hell could you POSSIBLY pass up the chance for this good of a laugh?
It started off pretty well, and I was actually really fascinated and thought there might be an interesting, dramatic plot to unfold around his self-image issues. NOPE. Instead, we just get some really cheesy, mediocre sex scenes with a lot of REALLY bad dialogue. Alex’s inner monologue is just so obsessed with impregnating this poor young girl and it’s so awful and weird.
On a more serious note, though, his internal monologue is also super rape-y with a lot of thoughts on how if he gets her pregnant, she can’t leave him; he wants to chain her to him; he’ll never live without her after this one night together, blah blah blah. So, heads up on that note. Also, here’s a gem for you from Noelle’s POV:
It should be freaking me out, but thinking that he’s been stalkerish makes me feel warm inside. Like he’s got all these little dirty secrets about me just for himself.
If you’re looking for a sweet or sexy Christmas story, PASS, PASS, PASS, but if you’re looking for a very unintentionally hilarious way to spend an hour, be my guest.
TITLE: What Makes Girls Sick and Tired
AUTHOR: Lucile de Peslouan
RELEASES: March 18th, 2019; Second Story Press
AGE RANGE: Everyone
What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a short, illustrated collection of reasons why feminism is so necessary, and why women are exhausted in this world we live in.
I genuinely adored how diverse and intersectional it is; the author and illustrator are both cis white women, and they acknowledge their privileges in this sense, but the book itself focuses frequently on the specific experiences of women of color, indigenous women, queer women, trans women, fat women, and more.
While there is a lot of positive stuff to be said about this little book, I also have to point out the reasons this isn’t getting a 5-star review from me:
1. I try never to say art in a graphic novel or illustrated book is bad, because it’s all so subjective and I know the illustrator tried hard, but I very strongly dislike this illustration style.
2. There’s hardly any mention of women who don’t fit the “thin, able-bodied” appearance (regardless of skin color, sexuality, or gender identity)—just one quick panel about how fat women are less likely to be hired, which barely scratches the surface of what life is like for any woman above what society considers her “ideal weight”. If the author wanted to be as intersectional as possible and make everyone feel included, as her author’s note implies at the end, there should have been a lot more representation of women who don’t fit the thin, able-bodied cliches.
3. There are so many missed opportunities here. There’s no real talk about how women in politics are treated, or how hard it is for women to get proper healthcare, or how women’s mental illness symptoms are so frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed, or how women of color get paid even less than white women, or how painfully high the statistics are for trans women being murdered…
I guess my final word is that I genuinely do appreciate what the author and illustrator tried to do here, but I think they fell very short from the mark and there are a lot of other, similar books that do a much better job than this.
Thank you so much to Second Story Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
TITLE: Manga Classics: Les Miserables
AUTHOR: Stacy King
RELEASED: August 19th, 2014
AGE RANGE: Adult
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo’s classic novel of love and tragedy set in 19th century France is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!
This Manga Classics rendition was, believe it or not, my first ever introduction to this story! I’ve never read the book or seen any film adaptations of it, though I’ve been meaning to for ages. All I knew was that it would be a very sad story, but I was surprised by just how dark and tragic it was. Unfortunately, the sorrowful aspects weren’t enough to keep me interested and I honestly found the whole thing pretty dull. That said, I’m still giving it 3 stars because, as always, the art is absolutely lovely!