Mini Reviews Reviews

Saturday Smalls — November 16th, 2019

November 16, 2019

This week’s mini review round-up includes:

  1. adult nonfic/memoir graphic novel
  2. adult humor comics
  3. adult nonfic/self-help book
  4. adult nonfic/spirituality/craft book

Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid by Yao XiaoTITLE: Everything is Beautiful and I’m Not Afraid
AUTHOR: Yao Xiao
GENRE: Nonfic/Memoir
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 128pg
SOURCE: Netgalley
This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for connection, belonging, and identity through the fictional life of a young, queer immigrant. Inspired by the creator’s own experiences as a queer, China-born illustrator living in the United States, Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid has an undeniable memoir quality to its recollection and thought-provoking accounts of what it’s like to navigate the complexities of seeking belonging—mentally and geographically.
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I really, truly appreciate the idea behind this collection: a bisexual Chinese author talking about how hard it was to come out to her mother, stipulations that come with being from an immigrant family, the struggles of a conservative mother, and more. All of that said, unfortunately, the execution didn’t work for me. I didn’t enjoy the art style, some of the layouts of the comics were a bit hard to follow, and the narrative voice as a whole didn’t mesh with me. I really wanted to like this more than I did, sadly.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

homophobia/biphobia, racism

d i v e r s i t y →

QPOC author

2stars

Snug by Catana ChetwyndTITLE: Snug
AUTHOR: Catana Chetwynd
GENRE: Humor
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 136pg
SOURCE: Netgalley
Why bother getting out of bed when you could stay bundled up with that special someone and a book of cozy, cute comics. From the author of the bestselling Little Moments of Love comes Snug, a collection of comics that perfectly captures the honest, playful, and relatable snapshots of romantic life. Chetwynd’s second book has the same charming and inviting style as her first and includes 50 percent new, never-before-shared comics. Snug is a celebration of the quirks and peculiarities of every one of us—and the magic that happens when we find our matching puzzle piece.
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I never get tired of Catana’s comics, and this collection was just as adorable as I expected it to be. My spouse and I always love these because we feel like they’re so very us. Honestly, nobody nails “relatable” humor quite as well as Catana does when it comes to cute, casual couple stuff!


(^ literally me)

If it tells you anything about how much I loved this, despite being the sort of person who almost never pre-orders finished copies of comic collections, I ran off to pre-order this the moment I finished my eARC because I needed it for my shelf (just like I did with Catana’s last collection, which I reread often, and fondly ♥). I absolutely recommend picking it up, especially if you’re in a long-term relationship and can relate to the cute, goofy things comfortable couples do with each other.

Thank you so much to the author for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

d i v e r s i t y →

5stars

10-Minute Declutter by Skye AlexanderTITLE: 10-Minute Declutter
AUTHOR: Skye Alexander
GENRE: Nonfic/Self-Help
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 208pg
SOURCE: Netgalley
If you think clutter is a fact of life, think again. Feng shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement, can help you organize every aspect of your life, both at home and in the office. With the simple tips and tricks in this book, you can learn the secrets of this age-old clutter elimination system in no time. Best-selling 10-Minute Feng Shui author Skye Alexander shows you how to transform your environment, and in doing so, transform you life as well! Designed with today’s busy person in mind, 10 Minute Clutter-Free Home breaks down organization into easy tasks that take only minutes to perform, which provides both a sense of order and peace of mind. Use plants to absorb emotional and mental clutter, use a consistent color scheme throughout your home, use a board instead of post-it notes to organize your life, and much more.
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I really wish I’d realized why this author’s name was familiar to me before I took on this review copy. If I had, I surely would have passed it by. Skye Alexander already has another “10-Minute” decluttering-meets-feng-shui book, and it was also pretty unlikable for me, and it also has an extremely low Goodreads average, so… I think that says something about the situation at hand.

Anyways, this is not a book about decluttering. This is a mixture of a book about feng shui and a to-do list. The decluttering “tips” aren’t ideas on things you might not have thought to do before, they’re literally lists of things like “return phone calls” and “sweep off your ceiling fans”. The entire section on feng shui is really poorly-crafted; Alexander tries hard to gloss over the minutiae and give you a quick guide, but feng shui is a practice that is ancient, in-depth, and if you’re going to do it, I think it deserves the respect granted by actually learning what matters and why, rather than being only given these weird, bare-bones explanations.

Along a similar vein is my complaint about Alexander’s incessant recommendations to “smudge” your home, yet no explanation for smudging is ever given beyond “buy a bundle of white sage and set it on fire”. This is… disrespectful, to start. There’s a big difference between smudging and a basic smoke cleanse — one of these is a cultural and spiritual ritual performed primarily by Native tribes, while the other is self-explanatory: using smoke to spiritually “cleanse” a place, thing, etc. I’m not even going to dive into the entire discussion regarding whether or not non-Native peoples should be smoke cleansing with white sage to begin with (and if you’re looking for an argument about that, go elsewhere, because I’m not going to sit here and fuss with you over whether or not you believe in appropriation within paganism and craft). I just… there’s a lot I want to say, but I frankly don’t have the energy to lay it all out here right now, so I’ll just leave it at this: a lot of what Alexander discusses is careless and not thoughtful in the slightest, and between this and the last book I tried to read from this author, I’m hoping I can now remember in the future to stop supporting their endeavors because their work clearly is incredibly Not For Me.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

d i v e r s i t y →

1star

The Ritual Yearbook by Theresa CheungTITLE: The Ritual Yearbook
AUTHOR: Theresa Cheung
GENRE: Nonfic/Spirituality/Craft
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 400pg
SOURCE: Netgalley
A ritual is any action we take that has meaning beyond its appearance; by giving an action intention it becomes ‘sacred’ and purposeful. The absence of significant ceremony in our lives has left us feeling disconnected, confused and alone Rituals and ceremony allow us to be present in the now, focus on the future and provide us with closure on the past, they return us to what matters. Drawing on science and psychology, Theresa Cheung’s 365 non-denominational rituals will help anyone to transform their lives. Split into four sections, the book begins with 21 simple foundation rituals to help you ground your daily practice. The second and largest section is broken down into 4 areas: Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Each containing 74 rituals, some simple and some more complex. Choose the area you feel you want to focus on and follow the rituals in sequence or chose as you wish.
Goodreads button

1. There’s nothing original or inspiring about these “rituals”. Just because you put a fancy paragraph around the instruction to “drink more water” or to “cut back on screen time” doesn’t make it some sort of mystical, life-changing, spiritual experience.

2. I stopped caring about anything the author had to say the moment (15pg or less into the book) she said that depression, ADHD, and many other psychological and mental disorders are caused by “a lack of communication with nature” and that we all just need to go for walks more often. Way to dismiss the masses of people worldwide who are disabled and/or suffer from hormonal imbalances and/or need mental health medications and other forms of self-help and therapy for whatever reason that might be.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

ableism

d i v e r s i t y →

1star

destiny

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2 Comments

  • Reply keen23 November 18, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Wait. What? I think the warning tag on 10-Minute Declutter is wrong. Unless this is a seriously different book than what I’m expecting…

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries November 28, 2019 at 11:00 pm

      Oh dang it! I duplicate these posts over and sometimes miss a section I need to change. Thank you for pointing it out!!

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