Saturday Smalls — May 4th, 2019

This week’s mini review round-up includes the following:

  1. YA SFF anthology graphic novel
  2. all-ages nonfiction humor graphic novel
  3. MG SFF graphic novel
  4. adult romance/erotica anthology graphic novel

And the best part is that this week’s “smalls” are all amazing diverse reads!

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TITLE: Shout Out
EDITOR: Andrew Wheeler
GENRE: Fantasy/Sci-fi
AGE RANGE: YA

Join us on the adventures of young demon hunters, star-crossed Viking lovers, and cyberpunk street artists as we invite you into new worlds where brave heroes with diverse queer identities demonstrate the strength of their hearts and the power of their dreams!

Inside this book you’ll find eighteen LGBTQ2SIA+ stories crafted by award-winning international creators. Find your place alongside ace necromancers, glamorous jazz musicians, fey outsiders, friendly monsters, and a superhero still finding his way out of the phone booth.

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What a fantastic collection of short stories! I adore positive queer rep in books, especially happy queer rep written by queer authors, so I jumped at the chance to read this anthology and I adored every moment of it. There are so many talented creators involved in the making of Shout Out,and so many lovable stories within it. I won’t go into detail of every single story, but I would like to name off my favorites:

→ Amaranthine —
In the introductory story, a garden spirit receives an unexpected visitor who decides to stay around a while. The art was so lovely in this, and I thought it was the perfect introduction to the collection.

→ How to Summon a Demon —
In contrast, this one was hilarious and cute; a boy summons a demon to ask for practice kissing, so he can learn whether or not he really is attracted to other boys. I loved this.

→ Ergi —
A sickly Viking wants to die in battle so that he can join his recently deceased lover in Valhalla, despite the priest’s insistence that homosexuals cannot enter Valhalla. There’s a bit of a twist ending that I didn’t see coming, and I adored it.

→ Fifteen Minutes or Less —
This was so fun, and would make a really cute animated short. It follows two best friends/coworkers as they go on a “pizza-noodle” food delivery run, but get caught up fighting off one of the friends’ ex-girlfriends through a sci-fi kickboxing match!

→ Shine So Bright —
While most of the stories were just happy and cute, this one actually choked me up and really made me think. It’s set in the 1920s (I think) and follows a “couple” who are both secretly queer and only pretending to be together. They visit a private LGBTQ+ nightclub, and there’s just something really simultaneously sad and heartwarming about it.

→ Manicita & the Songkeeper —
As far as the art goes by itself, this may have been my favorite of the anthology. It’s so gorgeous! It tells of a young island girl who meets the ‘Songkeeper’, who explains to her that many women have existed in their culture who loved other women. It’s just positively stunning and feels so rich and sweet.

While these were my top favorites, there wasn’t a single bad piece in the whole collection. If you enjoy queer stories by queer creators, with loads of happy endings and heartwarming, mushy moments (especially some rep that we don’t see much in media, like queerplatonic relationships, aro-ace people, loads of trans rep, and more), you absolutely can’t afford to miss out on Shout Out!

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

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TITLE: Reading Quirks
AUTHOR: The Wild Detectives
GENRE: Nonfic/Humor
AGE RANGE: All Ages

Readers have these strange traits, these particular ways, that separate them from the rest. Reading Quirks explores, in 72 lighthearted four-frame cartoons, all these weird things readers do, from the existential dilemma of picking your next read to the frustrations of watching an overzealous dog-earer in action.

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Reading Quirks is a collection of comics about what it is to be a book lover. I enjoyed this collection so much! I think any book lover will find so many things to relate to in here, plus some of the strips are just incredibly endearing and heartwarming (one of my favorites being the “hug your librarian” page, for obvious reasons). The art is really cute and there’s some lovely inclusion (such as a few panels including characters in wheelchairs, hijabi characters, and queer couples!) as an added bonus. I just cherished this entire book so much and would love to get a print copy for my shelves, as I think it would be a great addition to any book lover’s library.

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

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TITLE: Minecraft, Vol. 1
AUTHOR: Sfe R. Monster
GENRE: Sci-fi/Fantasy
AGE RANGE: MG

Tyler is your everyday kid whose life is changed when his family has to move from the town he’s always known. Thankfully, Tyler has a strong group of friends forever linked in the world of Minecraft! Tyler, along with his friends Evan, Candace, Tobi, and Grace have been going on countless adventures together across the expanses of the Overworld and are in need of a new challenge. They decide to go on the Ultimate Quest–to travel to the End and face off against the ender dragon!

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This is absolutely going to be a must-read for anyone who loves Minecraft, but especially middle grade and early YA readers! As someone who has loved Minecraft for a long time but hasn’t played it very recently, reading this totally made me want to dive into a new game. It’s such a fun story, and it adds in some great additional elements, like how hard moving to a new place is, the way distance can affect friendships (and what we can do to help our friends not feel alone or neglected), and how valuable it can be to add new friends to the mix, too. These characters are really sweet and I enjoyed how diverse the cast is, with multiple POC characters, a minor f/f relationship blossoming, and a character who goes by they/them pronouns. I can’t wait to add this to our collection!

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

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TITLE: Super Fun Sexy Times
AUTHOR: Meredith McClaren
GENRE: Romance/Erotica
AGE RANGE: Adult

Cartoonist Meredith McClaren (Hinges) tells five short, sexy stories featuring superheroes, supervillains, sidekicks, and the people who love them. Showing consent and character-driven erotic relationships, Super Fun Sexy Times answers the age-old question: what happens when the mask comes off?

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I’ll be upfront and say that I somehow missed the “erotica” tag on Netgalley when I first downloaded this graphic novel, so it did take me off-guard a little bit to see how explicit the scenes were! I wasn’t going to mention that in this review until I noticed some other reviewers saying they had similar experiences, so I just want to point that out for anyone who may not be comfortable viewing explicit materials. It didn’t bother me, it just surprised me a little. 😅

With that out of the way, Super Fun Sexy Times is an absolutely gorgeous, adorable, and inclusive AS HELL anthology about superheroes and their romantic escapades. There is just such a wide variety of rep in here — we’ve got characters of varying races, sexualities, identities, and body types — and they’re all so soft and sweet and lovable. There’s a bit of exploration into some kinks, and what I loved most of all is how consent-focused the stories were. In some of the stories, the romantic partners literally sit down, fully clothed and non-sexual, to discuss things ahead of time, and I thought that was such a fantastic representation of what consent talks need to look like for a lot of couples (especially when kinks and exploration are involved!).

All in all, I just thought this was such an important, necessarily, lovely, and well-crafted graphic novel and I’m really appreciative that I had the chance to read it. ♥

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.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Smalls — May 4th, 2019

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