Saturday Smalls — June 15th, 2019

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

  1. adult horror graphic novel
  2. MG fantasy graphic novel
  3. YA contemporary graphic novel
  4. YA contemporary novella

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Regression, Vol. 1 by Cullen Bunn

TITLE: Regression, Vol. 1: Way Down Deep
AUTHOR: Cullen Bunn
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
Plagued by ghastly waking nightmares, Adrian reluctantly agrees to past life regression hypnotherapy. As his consciousness is cast back through time, Adrian witnesses a scene of horrific debauchery and diabolism. Waking, he is more unsettled than before, and with good reason–something has followed him back. Adrian descends into a world of occult conspiracy, mystery, reincarnation, and insanity from which there is no escape.

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If you like horror graphic novels that are gruesome, odd, and graphic, Cullen Bunn’s work is for you, and I think Regression might be my favorite of his releases that I’ve read so far. It follows a man who has terrible hallucinations, so his friend convinces him to try regressive hypnotherapy to explore his past lives. The hypnotherapy uncovers an incredibly violent and dark past that quickly rises to the surface, forcing him to do and say some genuinely awful things. It’s a well-crafted graphic novel with an easy to follow storyline, and I really liked the artwork, but most of all, I thought the story itself was intriguing. It left some loose ends untied at the end that definitely had me wondering what would happen next, so needless to say, I’ll be picking up Volume 2 right away.

5stars

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This Was Our Pact by Ryan  Andrews

TITLE: This Was Our Pact
AUTHOR: Ryan Andrews
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: MG

SYNOPSIS:
It’s the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they’ll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars, but could that actually be true? This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and to ensure success in their mission, they’ve made a pact with two simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back.

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This is a fairly lovely graphic novel with a sweet, interesting story, but it’s way longer than I feel like it ought to be, and I actually put it down at the halfway mark when I realized I hadn’t cared about anything that had happened in a while. It doesn’t help that the artwork is all pretty monochrome, so things start to blur together after a time.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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TITLE: Fence, Vol. 2
AUTHOR: C.S. Pacat
GENRE: Contemporary
AGE RANGE: YA

SYNOPSIS:
Tryouts are well underway at King’s Row for a spot on the prodigious fencing team, and scrappy fencer Nicholas isn’t sure he’s going to make the grade in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossibly odds, and his seemingly unstoppable roommate, the surly, sullen Seiji Katayama. It’ll take more than sheer determination to overcome a challenge this big!

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Totally unsurprisingly, this was amazing and I adored it. The art is gorgeous, the characters are so lovable, and the plot is fun and quick-paced. I liked that we got to dig in a little deeper to the dynamics of a handful of characters (including sweet Bobby, who I love!), and we got to see some precursor to what I hope will be a couple of really lovely romances. ♥ I can’t wait for Volume 3!

5stars

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Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry

TITLE: Orpheus Girl
AUTHOR: Brynne Rebele-Henry
GENRE: Contemporary
AGE RANGE: YA

SYNOPSIS:
Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has hidden her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are caught in an intimate moment, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to save them both and to return them to the world of the living, at any cost.

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DNF @ 20%

I’m putting this down for 2 reasons:

1) I’ll be honest, I can’t do a painful queer book right now. I’m not saying they don’t need to exist, because they absolutely do. We need stories like this that tell people — especially cishet readers — how brutal the world’s treatment of queer folks can be. But that doesn’t mean that I, as a queer woman, am always going to be in the right mindset for reading it myself, and right now, I’m not in the right place for it. Things aren’t bad yet, but I’ve been warned of specifics later in the book, and I know right now that the whole conversion therapy plot in general isn’t jiving with my mental health, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

2) I don’t enjoy the narrative voice. This is the only reason this is going on my DNF shelf instead of my “finish-me-soon” shelf. If I liked the writing in this more, I would wholeheartedly snatch this story back up the moment I felt up to the subject matter, but unfortunately, the narration is lackluster and the characters are one-dimensional.

This was one of my most anticipated fall 2019 releases, so I’m pretty bummed out to put this one down.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Just a 26-year-old children's librarian trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

One thought on “Saturday Smalls — June 15th, 2019

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