Well, no one ever thought a romance of opposites as stark and the wee lad and his superlassie was ever going to last. And sure enough…
In the Tv series, this gets addressed fairly early on. In the comics, somehow – inexplicably – it doesn’t until book 7. Whaaa…
How does a man whose job it is to observe and report on Superheroes not recognize that the woman he’s dating is one of the Supers from the most famous super team out there? I mean, she doesn’t wear a mask. Nothing like that. Is it the Clark Kent effect? But she doesn’t even wear glasses. WTF?
Anyway, so things come to blows. There are some other subplots, but that’s the main one. It’s pretty emotionally devastating for a comic as crass and as in your face as The Boys too. Book 7 comprises two storylines, done by two different artists once again. I preferred the second one. Like his faces much more. Plus, he does a terrific Terror.
Other than that, the usual fun was had. Turns out, stepping away from the comics for a while was the right move, made it fresher and more fun upon return. Recommended.
I liked this book way more than I ever expected to love a book about 19- and 20-year-old artists. Liked it very much, in fact.
Quite appropriately, it played out across the screen of my mind like a visually striking, thought-provoking, cleverly curated exhibition of fine art.
To be fair, one of the principal characters in middle-aged, but the rest are very young. The book starts off with all of them at a prestigious art school – the older character as a visiting professor, the younger ones as a self-designated agent provocateur/enfant terrible, Preston, a small Louisiana town’s fish-out-or-water barely able to afford it Louisa, and the stunning/gifted/wealthy New Yorker, Karina. And then the book follows each of the four protagonists as they leave the university, each departure unplanned and premature for various reasons and try to…follow their artistic bliss and try to find their place in the world.
Their lives are intertwined, tangentially or otherwise, interconnected in many ways, but each of their paths is unique – partially predetermined, like some many things in life, by their socioeconomic status, and partially by their individual and very different personalities.
That divergent yet interwoven structure allows the author to explore the many layers of not just the art world but the world at large. The novel is set a decade back from the time of this review’s publication and thus right in the middle of the Occupy Wall Street and other well-meant failed social movements.
The social consciousness was on a very high setting back then, but the art world’s mores and morals were always very much its own thing. The novel does a great job of juxtaposing the two and drawing parallels, especially for male characters who both get involved with the movements, albeit from different ends and for different reasons.
There’s a love story too, just so you don’t think it’s all sociopolitical commentary. A proper novel offers many things to its readers, and this is very much a proper novel, a proper work of literature. The language sings. The characters come alive. So much so, you don’t even have to like them, and they’ll still manage to engage you.
For how contrived and artificial the art scene is, at large and in New York specifically, the novel is strikingly emotionally sincere and poignant. Great read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Once you get past the inspiring audacity of writing a book about the pursuit of female ejaculate (yeah, that’s the precious substance of the title)…oh, wait, no, you’re never going to get past that. You can’t. It’s too awesome, too out there.
But then, of course, this book is also about so much more. Love and murder and magic. There, a perfect combination. That’ll attract me to a book every time, even when it isn’t a book by the author of one of the best possession stories out there and if you haven’t read Come Closer do yourself a huge favor and grab it right now. It’ll spin your mind like a tumble cycle.
Anyway, back to this one…this is a book about books. I love those. The main protagonist is a woman who once wrote books and is now making a living of selling them, specializing in rare and random. This change wasn’t by choice but by circumstance due to her beloved partner suddenly, inexplicably, and irrevocably turning into a vegetable. Vegetative states cost lots of money and take lots of care. Once Lily was 50% of the perfect literati couple in love, now she is a ghost of her former self.
This ghost comes alive, though, when she hears about a very special book of sex magic that a client is willing to pay millions for. Suddenly, Lily sees her way out of her situation, and she pursues it with gusto. Teaming up with a friend of a strong romantic inclinations, she begins to hop from country to country from one eccentric moneyed weirdo to the next, looking for this book.
So, that’s fun in and of. Itself, but there’s so much more here. Not only is it gorgeously written, not only is it so very smart, but it surprises you too. The ending was just about perfect. Just when I was thinking maybe this is too much sex and indulgence and pursuit of purely somatic pleasures to read about, that ending came along and elevated the entire production to the top and through the roof. Turns out it was a murder mystery novel too. Awesome. Turns out it was a morality lesson too. Awesome once again.
Lily’s transformation is a stunner and that last chapter is a moral fable at its finest, a perfect cautionary tale of the dangers of getting what one wants the most, a perfect meditation of the mutuality of love.
So yeah, wow, what a book. Loved it. A stunning literary thriller. A magical book about magic. Take your pick…but do pick it up. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
I really enjoyed Silvis’ Two Days Gone, so I remembered his name. But then he went into series, and I normally don’t and that was that for a while. Until now that is. I saw this one on Netgalley and it looked so exciting. The meta approach, the true crime story involving the author himself, all that made me think of Chasing the Boogeyman by Chizmar, which was one of my last year’s favorite reads and one of the best literary WTF surprises in ages.
And sure enough, this book begins so strongly. Silvis as himself is a solitary figure living somewhere in PA boonies, riding his motorcycle and trying to get back on the writing wagon after completing his mystery series. His sons are now adults who live away and without them, there’s only his devoted younger ladyfriend for company. Which is actually plenty because Silvis due to his misophonia is quite happy to be on his own most of the time.
Enter a strange young man who approaches Silvis out of the blue and tells him he knows the secrets to a local crime, well two crimes he claims are interconnected. Silvis is reluctant but soon enough his natural curiosity takes over and he finds himself falling further and further down into a conspiracy laden web of child abuse and UFOs and more.
It sounds fun and it is…until it overindulges. There’s no other way to describe it. Wherein Chasing the Boogeyman was very clearly a controlled literary experiment, this thing becomes so rambling, so overdone, so confusingly hallucinogenic that it’s difficult to credit it, class it or even rate it, really.
I mean, I loved the writing, but over time Silvis and his spiraling both became kind of…annoying? Maybe frustrating is more like it. Yeah, frustrating.
What was this novel trying to be? It’s unclear even after reading the conversation with the author. Even it’s a mind f*ck, it’s a success, albeit a muddled one. If it’s for real, then it kind of reads like Silvis’s coming out as a weirdo party where a man decides he’s at a place in his life where he can comfortably lay out every weird belief he holds dear for all the world to see.
Both are ok, but the latter is infinitely less interesting.
There are also some straight up confusing things about the book and I don’t know if this is because I was technically reading an ARC or deliberate, but Silvis’ age changes throughout the narrative form 50s to 60s and once he leaves a note signed Randall S. and then gets a callback and proceeds to be referred to as Silvis…things like that.
As far as his beliefs go…well, they are varied, some more out there than others. Aliens are a huge one. Men in Black and all that. As proof, he lists facts alongside speculations seamlessly, which can be confusing if you don’t do your own research.
It’s also difficult to review a book with the author as the protagonist because you are inadvertently reviewing both. I’m not sure how likable Silvis comes across. Not sure his vision of himself as a sexy old(er) dude on a nice red motorcycle holds up. I’m not sure his libertarian politics peeking through are all that fun. And boy, can he talk about his sons. Yes, we get it, you completed your biological imperative and made two babies. They turned out well. Fatherhood’s the best. Kudos. Life’s purpose found. Can we let it go now?
And in the end, there’s a fairly unsatisfying ending. Nothing definitive. No gotcha twists. Just more expansive expounding on the great mysteries of the universe and how much the character/author appreciates them.
They say the truth is out there. Randall Silvis might have found his. Or at least, he’s questing. Should you join him on his quest? That’s up for debate. This is definitely the sort of book where user mileage will vary. It drew me in from the first and then slowly let down, so it wasn’t an optimal reading experience, albeit certainly an interesting one. Thanks Netgalley.
On a small unnamed island off the coast of an unnamed African country an old man lives and works at the lighthouse. He’s been on his own for a long time and before that his life has been so turbulent and tragic that being on his own is potentially the best situation for him and yet…it’s lonely.
One day the sea washes up a companion for him, a refugee who doesn’t speak his language. The old man is reluctant to accept this man, reluctant to trust him, but he doesn’t turn him into the authorities either. Instead, he takes care of him, feeds him, gives him shelter.
It would seem like a beginning of a heartwarming story about kindness of strangers, but it isn’t. To the book’s credit, it isn’t. Instead, it’s a story of lingering trauma and the way both cowardliness and violence linger in one’s psyche, eventually becoming interchangeable.
The old man’s story is fairly typical of his continent – his country, once a colony, has won autonomy…and wasted it. Subsequent dictatorships ripped apart the very fabric of society and the old man, once young, got tangentially caught up in the dream of rebellion and paid for it with 23 years of his life. Or in some ways, with his entire life. It’s a tragedy. It’s real in ways that don’t require place names. It’s poignant and has a gut puncher of an ending.
There's a universality to this story, hence the general and not the specific article in the title. The tragic arc of it is reminiscent of many third world post-colonial places throughout the world.
The real star of the show is the writing, though. Strikingly enough, this is a debut. Such terrific writing, so clear, so vivid, so concise, so precise, so engaging…it takes you away. Does that magical thing great books do.
It’s a very short novel, though for me it read longer than the state page count, but for its brevity it’s misses nothing and skimps on nothing. This is an entire story of an entire life. Tragic as it is. This is what dramatic literary work ought to be like. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Watchmen’s diabolical plan to save the world didn’t quite work out. The world remains determined to rip itself apart. The book begins with a scene set 30 years ago that reads like it’s right out of today’s newspapers. Eerie.
So, if not in this world, then the next? That’s the plan. Especially when the next world over houses superheroes of Super proportions i.e. Superman. If anyone can save the world…
The blue naked man is too lost in his own world/worlds, but Superman has always been very determined to take care of this one. This multiverse adventure will test his resolve like no other.
Or maybe begin like this...
From the extraordinarily talented team that brought Batman Earth 1 to life comes a new exciting adventure of multiverses that continues the epic story of Watchmen and crossbreeds it with the DC Universe. Yes, please. Cue in the Mister MoviePhone voice and yes, please.
I don’t care for conventional superhero comics, but I enjoyed Earth 1. A lot. And I love, love, love Watchmen. For my money, that’s one of the best comics of all time.
So, this was something of a dreamy combination. And it worked like a charm too.
I’m not saying Watchmen needed a continuation, I’m saying if anyone was to do it and do it right, it had to be these guys. Took me a moment to get into and love, much the same way the recent Watchmen tv series did, and I will say it’s all very trippy.
The multiverse premise always seemed like something of a copout…no more tales to tell, hit a dead end? Well, why not hit restart and get a do-over in the next world. That sort of thing.
So, it’s slightly convoluted, but very exciting.
There's just so much going on. I don't even know all these superheroes, I don't even know all these people, but they are fun. Especially, The Mime and The Marionette, a surprisingly heartfelt romantic couple, however murderously demented.
Visually, these books are gorgeous, absolute stunners. The artist does tend to draw faces kind of similarly, so that all the men look kind of alike and all the women look really alike, but overall it's a feast for the eyes. An absolute beauty artistically. With colors that sing to you.
Overall, this was a perfect combination of ingredients, the peanut butter banana dream team pairing of the best of the best of DC Universe. Recommended.
This had a very cheesy look to it. It made me expect something along the lines of Will Shakespeare, the Monster Slayer. I’ve never heard of the author, the official description of the book was minimalistic and the cover is…well, kinda corny, isn’t it?
Which is to say, there was absolutely nothing to prepare me for how good of a read this turned out to be and how much fun.
So, what’s a man to do in the early 1600s when he gets tired of it all…the fame, the creditors, the married life? Why, set off for a new world, of course. With an illegitimate son by a black prostitute in tow, no less. At the very least, it’ll be an adventure.
Along the way, Will acquires a companion named Margaret, a very large and strong man leading life as a woman.
The unusual, by local standards anyway, trio arrives in Jamestown and proceeds to set up a life, only to find it threatened on several ends…by angry locals, Powhatans Natives and a strange carnivorous creature that stalks the land. That’s like Jack Reacher amounts of crap, too much to deal with for an aging and tired bard and yet…to the occasion he shall rise.
This is that story. Well told. With terrifically engaging characters rendered with warmth and surprising realism, where descending into caricatures would have been so easy. With vivid descriptions and humorous banter and bookboombastic action scenes. Such a good story. Way to make colonial America exciting. This book was tons of fun. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Ok, well, this was humbling. Turns out in no way am I ready for a career as a detective. Guess I don’t pay enough attention to details and this is all about the details. Every one of the cases offered in this book, written quaintly in a style of golden age mysteries old-timey and all, hinges on details.
Well, at least the first level cases of which there’s a majority. Once you move on to the second level, it gets more complicated and, frankly, more far-fetched and reliant on supposition and imagination. But with the first level, you just have to really closely read the testimonies.
It’s a cute book; it features three detectives, two ladies and one scrumptiously named Paddington Parnacki, who solve various cases – mostly murder or theft – through their awesome attention to detail. And the reader gets to play along and see if they can match the dedicated detectives.
All in all, I had fun with this one. Frustrating sort of ‘grrr, can’t believe I missed that’ sort of fun, but fun all the same. The cases are mostly entertaining and only ever so slightly repetitive. The writing’s surprisingly decent considering that this book technically doesn’t require such a thing.
Oddly enough, I’m really good at solving traditional contemporary long-form murder mysteries, but not these things. My sleuthing must be more attuned to dark psychology of crime instead of minute details. But either way, fun was had. Thanks Netgalley.
Every so often I peruse Amazon Kindle genre freebies to see what’s out there, what the self-published authors get up to, etc. Most of the time, it’s as crappy as one might expect, but now and again, there are pleasant surprises. This book was the most pleasant of such surprises.
Plus, I like to read thematically, so yes, I did read the author named Valentine on Valentine’s Day.
I was drawn in by the cover, how can you resist an awesome retro throwback over like that. But then I began reading it and realized that in this unicorn-like instance the insides matched the outside perfectly – it’s the pretty face that’s also smart situation and it’s so much fun.
Normally, you probably wouldn’t sell me on a bunch of teens and whatever’s immediately after teens (new adults?) fighting supernatural creatures. Or you might, but it would be a tough sell. Because it’s been done, so many times. And because I don’t care for young protagonists.
But when something is done right it just works and none of the particulars matter, not as detractors, anyway. In fact. The young protagonists here are a delight, a bunch of snarky genre trivia-laden over-the-top sort of personalities, which are technically clichés or would be technically clichés for a less talented author, but Valentine brings them to life with such zeal and dimensionality and charm that they are absolutely charmers. In pink, in black, in dresses, trench coats, or cowgirl getups, this team is awesome.
The mission is to kick monsters’ butts and survive. Each girl is already a protagonist of her own story, the proverbial final girl, the designated survivor – together, they are a force.
So that’s the basic plot and it’s fun enough, but it isn’t the main attraction. The main attraction is that this book is a sort of…well, it’s scary movie geek love letter to scary movie geeks. It’s positively meta with self-awareness, these characters know the plot conventions and work them. It’s what drives the book, it’s what drives them. It’s post-modern in the way Scream was and then some. And it’s so well done in that respect, so wink-wink-nudge-nudge perfectly assembled to revere, poke fun and honor the genre classics, that you just gotta love it.
Whimsical in the best possible way, but also with plenty of monster-slaying action, camaraderie and girl-power messages, it works magically well and remarkably none of the components are overdone. It really is most impressive for a debut. The entire production is. The cover is terrific, the editing’s good – nary a typo to be found. This was aces through and through. A genre fan’s delight. Recommended.
Yeah, no. Still didn’t work. And making the thing twice as long didn’t do the trick either, surprise surprise. It still seems that the book’s creators are too busy juggling too many things and trying to be as hip as possible instead of concentrating on telling a compelling engaging story.
A lot of the right ingredients are here, but they don’t come together the way they ought to. Even though another awesome song is in the title. Even though the colors are so bright, and the science fiction aspect is so intriguing.
Turns out having your major credits as an average old blockbuster and whatever Living Single is don’t make the pair an ideal graphic novel team. The effort is definitely there, it just falls short. When the book’s best feature is its glossary…
You know what this would work as? A tv series. Young, hip, lots of minority representation. It would be grand. All the subplots can be properly done in a drawn out tv format. So maybe these books can work as a pitch for that. Otherwise…pass.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.