Saturday Smalls — Feb 23rd, 2019

I’ve been disliking the previous title formatting of these posts, so I decided to change it up. When I used to post minis on Mondays I called it Miniature Mondays, so since these go up on Saturdays now, how about… Saturday Smalls? 😂

This week’s mini review round-up includes 1 horror short story collection, 1 nonfiction poetry collection, 1 comic strip collection, and 1 manga!

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At The Cemetery Gates by John Brhel

TITLE: At the Cemetery Gates: Volume 2
AUTHORS: John Brhel & Joe Sullivan
RELEASE DATE: October 26th, 2018
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult

AT THE CEMETERY GATES: VOLUME 2 is a book for hellhounds, nostalgic crypt keepers, and creepypasta aficionados.

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I never get tired of a good horror short story collection, and I’d been meaning to check out a title from this writing duo for some time now, so I was pleased to finally get the chance to read this one. Many of Brhel and Sullivan’s collections are “themed” in a way, so my understanding is that At the Cemetery Gates: Vol. 2 is an amalgamation of the “leftovers” of those other collections. I thought this was a really fun detail, because it left me trying to guess which collection each story might have originally been intended for.

While a few of the stories were a bit lackluster for me, overall, I genuinely enjoyed the writing in these and thought a lot of the pieces had a fun urban legend-esque vibe to them, like the kind of stories you’d swap with friends late at night. I had a few favorites that I’ll detail below, but it’s safe to say it was a great collection in general and I’ll definitely be reading more from Brhel and Sullivan!

F A V O R I T E S:
→ With the Lights Out:
When I mentioned many of the stories being reminiscent of urban legends, this one has that vibe more than anything else. It was fun and I loved the way it felt like an homage to so many old tales — an excellent way to begin the collection.
→ The Payphone:
This story felt so unique and I loved that I had a dreadful feeling of what was coming, but not how it would manifest. Overall a fun ride to be on, and the sort of story that has you wanting to shake a character and stop them from bumbling into the terrible trap they’re approaching.
→ A Hammock Camping How-to:
I found the twist in this one a little predictable, but not in a bad way; again, it struck me as that fun sort of story you’d tell your friends late at night surrounding a campfire or on a long road trip.

Thank you so much to the authors for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
4stars

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The Mermaid's Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace

TITLE: The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One
AUTHOR: Amanda Lovelace
RELEASE DATE: March 5th, 2019; Andrews McMeel Publishing
GENRE: Nonfiction/Poetry
AGE RANGE: Adult

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one.

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you
don’t
get to say
it’s
my fault
for
staying.
it’s
his fault
for
making me
afraid to
stay
or go.

After how much I struggled with the middle book in this ‘trilogy’, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this newest and final installment, but friends’ reviews were so positive that I finally decided I had to give it a try, and I’m glad that I did. I still feel like Lovelace’s poetry lost its luster for me after the first collection and none of the rest have quite lived up to it, but I do appreciate that this one isn’t as repetitive as Witch was (and doesn’t feel as heavily borrowed from mid- to late-2000s emo band lyrics as that one did, either).

Mostly, this collection is about surviving sexual assault, and it’s got a lot of good stuff going on in that regard; it wasn’t the most powerful or empowering thing I’ve read as a survivor, but it was comforting and nice regardless, and had a few poems I really appreciated. Otherwise, there are some happy pages to give you that soft, soothing hug after the painful bits, and overall, it feels like a very natural and well-done ending to the series.

he exists.
therefore,
i know
for a fact
that
humanity
is not
dissolving
before
my
eyes.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
4stars
 

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Our Super Adventure Vol. 1 by Sarah Graley

TITLE: Our Super Adventure, Vol. 1: Press Start to Begin
AUTHOR: Sarah Graley
RELEASE DATE: March 26th, 2019; Oni Press
GENRE: Humor
AGE RANGE: Adult

Eating too much pizza together. Smelling your cats. Figuring out how to spend your evening when the internet has suddenly stopped working. Relationships are full of sweet and quirky little moments! Sarah Graley’s first collection of the hit diary webcomic Our Super Adventure chronicles two years of these strange, relatable instances, as she navigates life with four cats and one cat-like boy.

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Oh. My. God. Y’all, my freaking RIBS hurt. I’ve always loved Sarah’s webcomics, but this collection was the best of the best and I seriously laughed so hard through the entire book. Sarah and Stef remind me SO much of myself and my spouse, and I literally was just making my poor spouse look at so many of these comics like, “Look! It’s us!” If you can’t relate to the way these two act around each other, you might not find it as hilarious as I did, but I honestly think anyone will be able to find something to love here.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
5stars

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Star Collector, Vol. 1 by Sophie Schönhammer

TITLE: Star Collector, Vol. 1
AUTHOR: Sophie Schönhammer
RELEASE DATE: February 26th, 2019; TokyoPop
GENRE: Romance
AGE RANGE: YA

Fynn’s favorite activities are skipping class, smoking, and lying around. So when he’s told it’s time to shape up and try doing something else for a change, he has no idea where to even start. Then, on a nighttime walk around his neighborhood, he sees a stranger with a telescope up on a hill: his name is Niko, and he loves to watch the stars. Intrigued, Flynn decides to find out more about this nerdy boy and what could be so interesting about the night sky that he loves so much.

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I kind of adored this. The artwork is beautiful, the characters are lovable and flawed and sweet, and the romance is slow but simple and precious. There’s definitely a lot that doesn’t get explained in Niko’s back story here, but I’m hoping that’s going to be explored further in the next volume. Bits of the story are surprisingly bittersweet (like the secrecy behind Niko’s scar and his home life, or Zoe’s deep love for Fynn despite their breakup), and it definitely adds to the depth of the book overall. I can’t wait for Volume 2. ♥

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
5stars

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Just a 26-year-old children's librarian trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

15 thoughts on “Saturday Smalls — Feb 23rd, 2019

    1. If you’re not big on poetry in general, I’m not sure how much I’d recommend it, but maybe? I struggle a little with the author’s poetry style because I miss oldschool poetry and I don’t always love this new style of just breaking up a sentence into a bunch of line breaks and calling it a poem. :/

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    1. I honestly think it’s super worth a shot!! I had 2 big issues with the 2nd volume: 1) it was so heavy into the “men are trash” vibes that, while I *agreed* with her general points, I felt at times like, OKAY WE GET IT, YOU’RE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR! 😂 and 2) legit so much of that volume felt like she was ripping off tumblr posts and song lyrics. But neither of those things were an issue in this one!

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