Archive: June 2019

tweets for 2019-06-29

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-28

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

Book Review: Autocomplete: The Book by Justin Hook (2019)

Friday, June 28th, 2019

A perfect mix of humor and pathos.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.)

So you know the deal: every time you type a search term into your browser, be it Google or Yahoo or Jeeves or whatever (who are we kidding, Google), the algorithm makes a valiant attempt to predict what you’re going to type before you type it. You know, autocomplete. This guess is based, in part, on what its millions of other users are searching for, providing a window into the soul of humanity – for better, worse, and everything in between.

Honestly, flip the book open to any random page and it’s likely to be relevant to your life in some way, shape, or form. “should i tell my dad … he has dementia”? Check. I’ve asked myself that question probably three times so far this week, and it’s only Monday. (The most disturbing suggestion? “should i tell my dad … i’m sexually attracted to him?”) “can you sell your … eggs?” Yup, thought about that one too. (And my brother actually sold his soul, to a second-grade classmate. We still laugh about that one. I think he got five cents.) “is america … a free country?” If you’re googling that one, I think you already know the answer.

Autocomplete: The Book is a rather disconcerting mix of humor and pathos, absurdity and earnestness, light-hearted fun and life-or-death seriousness. It’s hard to look away, like a car accident or an oompa loompa presidency. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wish you’d had the foresight to pitch this idea to a publisher.

(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 2019-06-27

Friday, June 28th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-26

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-25

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Book Review: Minus by Lisa Naffziger (2019)

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

One of the worst comic books I’ve ever read.

one out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for child abuse and trauma. This review contains spoilers. )

The plot for Minus struck me as interesting enough: Beck and her paranoid, home-schooling dad are on a road trip to the University of Chicago, where Beck has just been accepted. She runs into a convenience store at a rest stop to use the bathroom and, when she comes out, the place is ransacked; the clerk, shot dead; and her father Gil, vanished (along with the car and her cell phone). Now, alone in the middle of nowhere, this kinda-sorta naive young woman has to figure out just WTF to do.

Sadly, this is just a giant train wreck of a story:

* The rest of the plot? Totally predictable. You know that Gil abducted Beck pretty much from the get-go. It’s like a badly written episode of Law & Order: SVU. There is no mystery in this mystery. In fact, it’s really damn boring.

* Despite finding out that Gil kidnapped her from a loving home, Beck stubbornly sticks by his side. While this may very well be an accurate portrayal of the trauma abducted children experience, Naffziger’s treatment of it is hideous, and reads like a celebration of Stockholm Syndrome. The adults around Beck kind of protest lightly (by which I mean in a panel or two), but nowhere do we see her getting counseling or, I don’t know, being exposed to a counter-narrative from her (still totally alive, sane, and free) bio mom, Nadia. In fact, the final scenes show Beck visiting Captor Dad in prison, proclaiming “You’re more of a dad than my biological father will ever be.”

Well yeah (maybe probably not), but that’s because Gil didn’t give him the chance to be a dad, don’t you think?

* And let’s talk about Bio Dad, Howie Waskello, Naperville cop-turned-vigilante. The dude who, according to Naffziger, supposedly occupies a rung somewhere under “child-snatching recluse.” Dude only went on a Roaring Rampage after his daughter vanished, was presumed dead, and then resurfaced on Facebook a decade later. Pre-kidnapping, he seems to be a nice enough dad, doting on his daughter and taking her to the mall for a shopping spree on her birthday. It’s only after the trauma that he snaps. And can you blame him?

Granted, I can see why Beck wouldn’t be too keen on having a relationship with Bio Dad, given the additional trauma he inflicted on her as part of the “rescue” – but c’mon. This really deserves a more nuanced take than “bio dad bad, captor dad good,” don’t you think?

* Add to this Becks’s ethnicity, and this is where things get especially dicey. She’s brown-skinned, as is Nadia. Howie looks a little less so. I read mother and daughter – and possibly father, too (anyone have a read on the surname Waskello?) – as Native American. If so, this book just got a lot grosser, casting a person of color as the Big Bad, even when pitted against the literal white devil who stole his daughter.

Either way, I find it significant that the only other (obvious) character of color – Nadia, whose resemblance to Becks is striking – is relegated to the background, and is only allocated a line or two in passing.

* The characters’ connections to one another are totally improbable. Everyone Becks bumps into is related to by two degrees or less, sometimes quite literally. Is Naperville really that small a town?

* This just feels like nitpicking at this point, but the art was not my jam at all.

The only redeeming point is the Beck reference early on. This sounds like an exaggeration, but I can assure you it is not.

(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 2019-06-24

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
  • RT @NickKristof: The Trump administration is spending $775 per migrant child per night to keep them in tent cities after taking them from t… ->
  • RT @mattdpearce: Updated story from South Bend. Today, Pete Buttigieg looked a lot like a lot of other white politicians who have been in h… ->
  • RT @EmilyWTHR: Snapped this picture of a rainbow that just appeared in sky near Brebeuf Jesuit HS as parents were leaving an informational… ->
  • RT @rtraister: I'd just point out that it's only been three days. There is still time to handle it differently and better, to treat it as n… ->
  • RT @davidsirota: Wall Street: Give us $29 trillion to cancel the debts we created from our grotesque greed
    Also Wall Street: Having to giv… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

tweets for 2019-06-23

Monday, June 24th, 2019
  • RT @TeenVogue: "There was an intense amount of pressure from the upper echelon editors — who were primarily white men — to cover the domina… ->
  • RT @pstokesbooks: Heartbreaking thread and a great example of how the system is set up to hurt vulnerable people. In what world can a man w… ->
  • RT @ava: ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾
    #BETAwards
    #WhenTheySeeUs
    We see you, brothers. We see you. https://t.co/A7Ty9MFBCS ->
  • RT @kylegriffin1: Nearly 100 internal Trump transition vetting documents leaked to Axios identify a host of "red flags" about officials who… ->
  • RT @honeychild1229: Realized I was taking more pictures of all the Blizzard doggos at #ocpride so I took a few of us humans too! 🌈🐶✌️
    #bl->
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tweets for 2019-06-22

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019
  • RT @JenAshleyWright: If women were making up rape allegations for fame and fortune, 1. Some of these women would be rich and famous by now,… ->
  • RT @reneefeltz: I am with @democracynow at Fort Sill Army base in Oklahoma where Japanese Americans held in incarceration camps during WWII… ->
  • RT @reneefeltz: “This is a concentration camp” – Satsuki Ina, who was born in the Tule Lake concentration camp, as she is holding a pictur… ->
  • RT @common: "What we saw are dirty children who are malnourished, who are being severely neglected. They are being kept in inhumane conditi… ->
  • RT @Rintitty: He was down on the ground and I didn't want my dogs to eat him. Handsome lad. https://t.co/15xKAJXr6c ->
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tweets for 2019-06-21

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-20

Friday, June 21st, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-19

Thursday, June 20th, 2019
  • RT @joshgerstein: Trump admin tells incredulous appeals court panel that judge erred by insisting that 'safe and sanitary' conditions for d… ->
  • RT @KeithOlbermann: KARMA’S BROTHER BLUE LIVED WITH HER, NOW HE MAY DIE WITH HER TOMORROW. “A big lovable bear” says the person who dumped… ->
  • RT @Lin_Manuel: What was in my pocket to say that night. https://t.co/pBLBOV9e43 ->
  • RT @NathanHRubin: Joe Biden telling Cory Booker to apologize on Juneteenth is rich.
    Chuck Todd deliberately misinterpreting AOC words abo… ->
  • RT @owillis: .@chucktodd when trump called mexicans rapists, when he said black teens should be executed, when he bragged about groping wom… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

tweets for 2019-06-18

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Book Review: All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil (2019)

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

This DNF hurt like h*ck.

two out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for rape and drug use.)

After the death of her grandmother Loretta, seventeen-year-old Xochi finds herself in San Francisco, alone, on the run, and down to her last few bucks. And then she somewhat serendipitously has a platonic meet-cute with Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who also just so happens to be the heir to a rock royalty family. Faster than you can say “content warning,” Xochi is installed in their storybook Victorian mansion as Pal’s governess. In an attempt to cheer Pallas up one evening, the pair accidentally conjure two demons in Pal’s claw-foot bathtub – demons who trace a path of destruction through Xochi’s troubled past.

I really thought I’d love All of Us with Wings. I mean, it’s an #OwnVoices rape revenge story with LGBTQ elements, ferchrissakes! And “Gilman Street,” Ruiz Keil’s contribution to the YA romance anthology Color Outside the Lines, is a thing of punk rock beauty and wonder.

Sadly, Wings lacks the magic and energy of “Gilman Street.” The writing feels choppy and uneven, and the story is veeeerrry slooooow to get started. By the time I DNF’ed at the 59% mark, Xochi’s demon children had only committed one murder, and the only being consciously aware of their presence is Peasblossom the cat. (In theory, I love that Ruiz Keil humanizes the cat by giving him a voice, but here the multiple perspectives really don’t add anything to the story.)

What we do get is a shit ton of Xochi lusting after Pal’s dad Leviticus, who is eleven years her senior (and whose only notable personality trait seems to be that he’s a rock star). Actually, that’s not so much the problem as is Lev’s lusting after Xochi – and then acting on said lust, even though he knows it’s wrong for multiple reasons. There are some gross, rape culture dynamics going on here (adult man/teenage girl; employer/employee; 1%/impoverished high school dropout), which are only exacerbated by the fact that I don’t know whether Ruiz Keil means for us to be rooting for them as a couple.

Like, it’s understandable that Xochi has complicated relationships with older men considering her past experiences, but Lev’s actions are simply inexcusable. In all fairness, it’s possible that the demon spawn will target him later in the story, I just couldn’t bring myself to read that far.

Anyway, it pains me to give this book so few stars, especially since I seem to be in the minority (serious case of fomo over here), but it is what it is.

(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 2019-06-17

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-16

Monday, June 17th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-15

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-14

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

tweets for 2019-06-13

Friday, June 14th, 2019
  • RT @shutupmay: @NetflixDogs you shld profile @APurposefulResc !! amazing org who rescue dogs who are older or injured/sick & would get over… ->
  • RT @Lelouch90: This is Kalu. She lost 3 of her legs in an accident, was pregnant but sadly, lost the pups as well. She never gave up & kept… ->
  • RT @MorrisAnimal: Calling all our dog adopters! (And dog people in general.) Share your dog story for a chance to get featured on the next… ->
  • RT @varsha_venkat_: ELIZABETH WARREN JUST CALLED ME ON THE METRO AND I ACCIDENTALLY SAID HOLY SHIT ->
  • RT @seananmcguire: REBEL GIRLS, by @badcoverversion, is set in 1992, at a Catholic high school where a vicious rumor is circulating that a… ->
  • (More below the fold…)