Everything is The Worst. [PINNED POST]

August 17th, 2017 4:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-04-18

April 19th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-17

April 18th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon & Cat Farris (2018)

April 17th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

MRRRHHNH. (That’s Bear for “Coming in for a hug.”)

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

I honestly didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did.

I mean, I don’t know what I expected, other than it seemed like a cute idea that could very well fail spectacularly. At the end of the day, I picked it up because I really, really wanted to use this video in a review.

Nora stumbles into a 500-pound American black bear while camping with one of her many d-bag boyfriends. When Bear is later driven from his forest home by wildfires, he finds Nora thanks to a discarded issue of Bust. (Nice touch! Eff off, Ben!) Against all odds, these crazy kids fall in love and make a go of it. But will Bear’s looming hibernation rip them apart, if society doesn’t break their spirits first?

My Boyfriend Is a Bear is weird and adorable and just straight-up delightful. I know I’m supposed to read it as an allegory about overcoming differences both large and small in relationships, but you know what? It’s also a cuddly AF romance story about a lady and a bear. Says the girl who claims as her soulmate a snaggle-toothed, marshmallow-bellied rat terrier (now nearly five years dead, and whom she thinks of on the daily) and once referred to her first-adopted dog as “her other boyfriend ™.” Dogs > people. Probably bears > people, too. All nonhuman animals > people, who are we kidding.

As much as My Boyfriend Is a Bear had me laughing – and it was like whoah – it also has its fair share of sad moments, especially as Bear’s hibernation approaches. That last act was filled with snot-flinging ugly crying. But the end? Pure magic.

This is one that’s earned a permanent place on my nightstand, right on top of Hyperbole and a Half and the Sarah’s Scribbles collections. Along with Nicole Georges’s Fetch, it’s a book I’ll turn to every now and then, when I need a good, hysterical cry.

Basically My Boyfriend Is a Bear is the best thing ever. Or at least since the proud tradition of bears wearing tees without pants.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-04-16

April 17th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-15

April 16th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-14

April 15th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-13

April 14th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-12

April 13th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: Sibley: Birds of Land, Sea, and Sky: 50 Postcards by Clarkson Potter

April 12th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

A gorgeous set, perfect for gifting!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free product for review through Blogging for Books.)

This isn’t the first collection of postcards I’ve received/reviewed, but it’s easily the most gorgeous and well-designed set I’ve ever seen. The fifty postcards – which feature paintings by ornithologist David Sibley – are printed on heavy cardstock and have beveled edges, giving them an extra-sophisticated look.

They come housed in a handsome, sturdy, multi-layer storage box that you’ll want to hang onto long after you’ve sent the last postcard out into the wild (assuming you can bear to part with them!). It’s got a textured feel to it, kind of like canvas, and the insert’s luxurious gold color complements the beige outer box nicely. And of course several birds grace the exterior of the box as well!

Inside, the postcards are divided by type of bird – waterfowl, woodpeckers, wading birds, songbirds, and owls & raptors – and each section is marked by a differently-colored file tab. It rather reminds me of those sets of wildlife cards that were advertised on kid’s tv shows in the ’80s.

This is a really upscale set; if you have a birdwatcher in your circle, Sibley: Birds of Land, Sea, and Sky: 50 Postcards would make an excellent birthday gift or stocking stuffer. Maybe throw in a frame or two, because they’re sure to want to keep at least a few of their favorites for their own (the Boreal Owl, anyone?).

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-04-11

April 12th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-10

April 11th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: Firebug by Johnnie Christmas (2018)

April 10th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Three stars for the amazing artwork.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

The artwork in Firebug is as lovely as the story is confusing.

Like, I’m not sure I have a good enough handle on the plot to offer even the briefest of summaries. There are so many warring factions that it’s hard to know who we’re supposed to root for most of the time.

At first, it seems clear-cut: the Cult of the Goddess is holding a Goddess captive and crushing the rebels who dare to challenge their (unjustly seized) religious authority. But wait, no: the High Priestess keeps the temperamental Goddess sedated so that her histrionics won’t trigger a volcanic eruption, killing us all.

And the forest spirits are bad, a gauntlet for our heroes to cross on the way to Azar. But no really, they’re the city’s protectors, from none other than Keegan, the new Goddess, and our story’s protagonist.

Throw in the Volcano Goddess’s sister, the Goddess of Water, and I am positively flummoxed. I really wanted to root for her, if only because her fish body is in the “so ugly it’s cute” territory.

Chalk this one up to good idea/poor execution. Three stars for the art, because it truly is stunning. I also loved the “Gospel According to Amina” vignettes, which evoked memories of Octavia Butler’s Parables duology.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-04-09

April 10th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-08

April 9th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-07

April 8th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-06

April 7th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: War Mother by Fred Van Lente, Stephen Segovia, & Tomás Giorello (2018)

April 6th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Works well as a standalone story.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

It’s the 41st century, and humanity – at least that which remains on earth – has evolved into something different: cyborgs, trogs, scavs, and urbanites. Deep within the unforgiving jungle, small enclaves of survivors exist, eking out a precarious living. The citizens of the Grove are among the luckiest. A former research facility, the Grove is a sentient settlement that’s largely self-sufficient. Controlled by the chieftain/consciousness Sylvan, the Grove manufactures most of what its citizens need: food, clothing, tech. Ana – the tribe’s War Mother – scavenges the rest.

In accordance with the Grove’s maxim – “Bring back nothing living” – Ana was bred to be barren, her body a hostile host to all potential biological invaders, from bacteria to fetuses. This rule served the Grove well – that is, until the day Ana returned with a young orphan boy she rescued from trogs. The resulting conflict ended in Sylvan’s death. Without its mind, the Grove began to wither and die.

When a millennia-old signal from a refuge called the Montana reaches the Grove, Ana sets out to see whether it’s habitable. With her AI gun Flaco at her side, the War Mother just might lead her people to safety – or ruin.

I didn’t realize it when I downloaded this title, but War Mother is an offshoot of another series, 4001 A.D. Luckily, it works well as a standalone story. Van Lente does a good job of laying out the plot for us noobs. It’s a compelling enough story, and the artwork complements the gritty, post-apocalyptic feel nicely. I love the scenes with Ana and Flaco, which is no surprise, because AI rights is an interest of mine.

On the downside, I thought the subplot with Ana and her husband Ignacio was a distraction at best, and a cliché at worst (women who can’t/don’t have children aren’t real women and so it’s only natural for their husbands to cheat on them. Add in the fact that she’s a badass warrior woman, i.e. not suitably feminine, and … vomit. I’m with Max, Ignacio is by no means a worthy “mate” for her.)

Also the descriptions of the future tech often sounded totally made up, like words that are supposed to sound all scientific and impressive but don’t really say much of anything. For all I know, though, they’re a callback to more detailed explanations in 4001 A.D. and I’m being a total idgit right now.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-04-05

April 6th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-04

April 5th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-04-03

April 4th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato