Everything is The Worst. [PINNED POST]

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

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tweets for 2019-04-25

April 26th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-24

April 25th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-23

April 24th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Underfoot, Volume 1: The Mighty Deep by Ben Fisher, Emily S. Whitten, & Michelle Nguyen (2019)

April 23rd, 2019 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Two words: hamster mercenaries.

three out of five stars

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

The Underfoot is set in the (not-so-?) distant future, in which humans – known to the surviving land mammals as the Giants-That-Were – have been wiped out: either by mass floods, or by earthquakes, or perhaps even by avalanches, depending on who you ask. In our wake, we left behind the results of our scientific cruelty (or generosity, again relative to the teller of the tale): a variety of nonhuman animal species, imbued with superior (again, perspective!) intelligence, capable of using tools and communicating with advanced verbal language. They’re like us, but tiny and furrier!

They’re also like us, for better or worse: they engage in spying, sabotage, and warfare. Which brings us to the “underfoot” (“underfeet”?), i.e., hamsters. The hamster community at the heart of this story lives in a fungus-powered bubble under the water. Believing that the great floods will some day return, they train their pups to swim, (dis)assemble dams, and keep the underwater colony running. They also maintain an elite para-military group called the Hamster Aquatic Mercenaries (H.A.M.), which performs ops for other animal colonies in exchange for IOUs, unspecified favors to be cashed in at a later date.

When we first meet them, the HAMs have just been hired to destroy a damn for … a bunch of skunks? I wasn’t clear on that. Anyway, the structure is threatening to flood their home. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem for the HAMs, but their expert traps-hamster recently passed away. It’s time to graduate a young pup early – but are any of them up to the job?

The story is kind of cute, I guess – I mean, who doesn’t love a furry round hamster butt? – though I think it’s probably best suited for younger readers. The animal experimentation angle piqued my interest, but isn’t really explored in depth. Certainly not any intellectual depth, such as the ethics of vivisection. The hamsters idolize humans, even though we left them to rot in cages, so…yeah.

I mean, does Gunther the lobster have any idea what we used to do to his people? And here he is, collecting and guarding our junk in eager anticipation of our return? Yuck.

The ending does hint at more to come, but the story didn’t hold my interest enough to continue.

Beyond this, I just didn’t find the plot (or many subplots) all that compelling. It can be difficult to keep all the hamsters straight (though the artists do an admirable job, for example, through accessorizing and mixing the species up), and many of the action panels are confusing as heck. idk, it just wasn’t what I was gunning for.

Ruby and Mac are adorable though, and I love how the hamsters rescued the cats from the research facility. Interspecies cooperation ftw!

(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 2019-04-22

April 23rd, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @emrazz: .@DLoesch have you seen this story? Thoughts? Any NRA resources available for Brittany? ->
  • RT @emrazz: Police photographed 33 wounds on Brittany’s body, including bite marks on her neck and chin, inflicted during her brutal rape.… ->
  • RT @theappeal: Recently @theappeal published the story of Brittany Smith who says she was brutally raped twice the night she killed the man… ->
  • RT @LadyHawkins: I just remembered that I once desperately wanted to write a Western where thanks to a mail mishap, a lady rancher ends up… ->
  • RT @AnimalsAus: Fear feels the same for all of us. https://t.co/1PhUCKi60h ->
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tweets for 2019-04-21

April 22nd, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-20

April 21st, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @BasilBing: @VictoriaDahl @thesyc66 I can 100% tell this was written by men because I know for a fact a lot of women were defecting from… ->
  • RT @VictoriaDahl: Just IMAGINE that tall Viking walking by with his shiny hair in an elaborate plait and no ass smell lingering behind him… ->
  • RT @erik_kaars: "We had to kill the Vikings, bc they bathed and brushed their hair and our wives couldn't resist such sophistication" is a… ->
  • RT @AdamSerwer: This story about dentists making people get serious, expensive procedures they dont need was…traumatizing https://t.co/Y… ->
  • RT @jelani9: The Constitution does not prescribe elections as the response to treason, high crimes and misdemeanors. They created impeachme… ->
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tweets for 2019-04-19

April 20th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Safely Endangered Comics by Chris McCoy (2019)

April 19th, 2019 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Poor Pluto

four out of five stars

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

UK-based cartoonist Chris McCoy has a weird, absurdist sense of humor, and I am so into it. Whether it’s talking spiders with delusions of grandeur, average Joe narwhals, or planets posting Facebook updates, the strips in Safely Endangered Comics tend toward the bizarre, in the best way possible.

Most of the comics earned at least a chuckle, peppered with a legit guffaw every ten pages are so. I hadn’t heard of McCoy’s webcomic, Safely Endangered, before today, but now it’s on my must-read list.

Naturally, my favorites are any and every panel that features a dog, but there’s plenty of socially awkward, geeky, and downright creepy goodness to choose from.

If enjoy the work of Reza Farazmand, Alex Norris, Jake Thompson, or Jomny Sun, this one’s a sure thing. Fans of Sarah Andersen and Allie Brosh will probably love it too.

(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 2019-04-18

April 19th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-17

April 18th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-16

April 17th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters (2019)

April 16th, 2019 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Not one of Winters’s best.

two out of five stars

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

I awaken in the shadows, ravenous for words, hungering for delicacies dripping with dread. My poet in the black frock coat kneels in prayer beneath the windows in the ceiling that bathe his head in a weak winter light, bronzing his brown curls and the back of his neck. He bends his face toward the floorboards, toward the crypt down below him, and I will the spirits of the dead beneath him to whisper a song.

“I’m the best part of you, Edgar Poe.”

— 2.5 stars. DNF at 58%. —

DNFs are never fun, but this one really hurt. Poe was perhaps my first literary crush, and I’ve enjoyed several of Cat Winters’s previous books, so The Raven’s Tale seemed like a slam dunk for me. But when, reclining on the floor of my library, reading about Poe’s angsty teen years, I found my attention wandering to books I’d already devoured sitting right there next to me head, begging for another go, I knew it just wasn’t meant to be. My heart had already moved on, even if my brain was too stubborn to accept it. (That came the next day, when my copy of Sawkill Girls arrived at the public library.)

Whereas most books about Edgar Allan Poe concentrate on his teen years, Winters goes back a little further. Here, Poe is seventeen years old, on the verge of escaping to the University of Virginia, a three day’s drive from his philandering, abusive, and cruel foster father, John Allan. Allan has been pressuring Edgar to forgo his artistic pursuits in favor of something more profitable – and is not above using his wealth as leverage. The son of traveling performers, Edgar longs to fit in with his “high-born” peers. In love with – and secretly engaged to – a young woman named Sarah Elmira Royster, Poe is torn between his muse and his need to belong.

In this case, Poe’s “muse” is a living, breathing creature given corporeal form by Winters. She appears to him as a teenage girl: a girl with hair the color of a raven’s feathers, a girl who drips shadows and leaves footprints of coal, whose eyes burn like embers and who inspires in Poe his most deliciously macabre and grotesque thoughts. But can Edgar learn to nurture that which he fears?

The plot sounds amazing, but in execution it just feels tedious. The first half of the book mostly consists of Eleanor – as Poe christens his muse – chasing Edgar around Virginia like a spurned lover: “Edgar you can’t escape me, this is who you are, why won’t you commit yourself to me!!!!” Meanwhile Edgar just wants to pass for one of the good ole boys. Yawn.

There are some pretty great things here, like Eleanor’s necklace made of molars; Rosalie Poe’s admission that she has a muse (want to know more please); and the similar ‘secret life’ of the Allan family’s slave, Judith (need to know more please). Sadly, though, it just wasn’t enough to keep me going. *emo face*

(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 2019-04-15

April 16th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-14

April 15th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @KamilKaramali: This 9 year old Syrian refugee killed herself because her parents say she was constantly bullied at her Calgary school.… ->
  • RT @netflix: Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey, and Tina Fey star in Wine Country — a new mo… ->
  • RT @Newyorkist: Damn Lucy this is brutal https://t.co/cYSxdWjJap ->
  • RT @DerekCressman: So in other words, Barr is colluding with Trump on how to redact the obstruction … https://t.co/S5HQ4ZNonp ->
  • RT @ava: Yemeni American Merchants Association is calling on “all member bodega/deli owners and our allies across New York City” to boycott… ->
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tweets for 2019-04-13

April 14th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-12

April 13th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent (2019)

April 12th, 2019 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

An enjoyable read, despite the implausible ending.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for mental health issues.)

The ramshackle, one-room cabin nestled deep within Stillwater Forest is the only home nineteen-year-old Wren knows. Here she lives with Mama, and her younger sisters Sage and Evie. Her father and older sister Imogen are buried under the willow tree out back, having both died when Wren was just a baby.

Wren knows little of the “real” world – the one Mama has fought hard to protect her from. She’s never seen a television set, listened to recorded music, or experienced the joys of indoor plumbing. She can read and write, though her library is closely scrutinized by Mama. But she is is content enough. And why not? The world beyond their modest homestead may as well be gone, wiped off the map, for Mama’s apocalyptic descriptions of it.

So when young Evie falls sick and Mama flees with her into the forest in search of help, Wren knows it’s serious. When they fail to return – after fifteen days, twenty-eight, sixty-three – and with their supplies dwindling and winter barreling down on them, Wren is terrified to consider the possibilities. Yet it’s only when a stranger breaks into their cabin, seemingly in search of Mama, that Wren can will herself to act.

Meanwhile, thirty-something Nicolette exists in what may as well be another ‘verse. A wealthy heiress married to a celebrated photographer, on the surface Nic has it all. It’s only her closest friends who know the truth: Nic struggles with seasonal depression (although, unlike the rest of us plebes, she’s able to drop everything and spend three months in Florida every year. Oh, to have cash monies!), which was exacerbated by an emergency hysterectomy in her late 20s. Unable to bear children, she convinced her husband Brant to apply as a foster home. But when she finds a picture of an unfamiliar young girl in Brant’s sock drawer – sporting his same sea-green eyes and deep dimples – and discovers that he’s been siphoning money from her trust fund, Nic worries that even a child could not save their crumbling marriage.

The lives of these two women collide, altering each in unthinkable ways.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Stillwater Girls: it’s fast-paced, entertaining, and compulsively readable. Until Wren and Nic actually meet, I found it difficult to guess how their different narratives would intersect.

The main criticism I’ve seen from other reviewers is that the ending is eye-rollingly ridiculous…and it is. But I kind of don’t care? Like, this is such a breathless, easy read, and it came at a time when I was in desperate need of help out of reading slump (thanks, The Cassandra!), so I think this cushioned some of the disappointment over such an implausible twist.

Honestly, just don’t get your expectations up, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

(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 2019-04-11

April 12th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2019-04-10

April 11th, 2019 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato