tweets for 2018-03-06

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

tweets for 2018-03-05

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

Book Review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One (Women are some kind of magic #2) by Amanda Lovelace (2018)

March 5th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“warning II: no mercy ahead.”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Netgalley. Trigger warning for violence against women.)

/m ‘säj ne/
1: the power-driven hatred of women.
2: just the way things are.

/mi ‘ sandre/
1: the reactionary, self-preserving hatred of men.
2: somehow this is going too far.

very being

is considered
an inconvenience,

our bodies
vacant homes

wrapped in layers
of yellow tape,

our legs
double doors

for one man
(& one man only)

to pry open so
he can invade us

& set down his

never once
asking us

how we feel
about the curtains.

– they love us empty, empty, empty.

in this novel
the woman protagonist

claims she’s not like
those other girls,

not because she finds
their femininity

to be an insult or
a weakness, no—


she knows
all women have

their own unique

that cannot be
replicated by her

or any other

– the plot twist we’ve all been waiting for.

It pains me that I didn’t love this book more than I did.

I credit Lovelace’s first collection, The Princess Saves Herself in this One, with reigniting my love of poetry. Accessible and invigorating, it showed me that I could both enjoy – and understand – modern poetry. Based on the strength of the first book, and the fairy tale promise of the follow-up’s title, my expectations were really quite high. Maybe unfairly so.

If you read The Princess Saves Herself in this One, many of the pieces here will feel familiar to you; this is not necessarily a bad thing. Lovelace’s words have the same fierce intersectional feminist spark that drew me to Princess. There’s a lot to love here – but there’s also quite a bit of repetition. I was also hoping for a more obvious connection between the poems and fairy tale villains; maybe a retelling here or there. Mostly though the poems just draw on imagery of witchcraft and witch hunts. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, especially given the current backlash against the #MeToo campaign. I was just hoping for something … more.

That said, there are some really wonderful and memorable poems within these here pages. The topics are timely AF, and I love that Lovelace takes care to embrace all women under the banner of sisterhood (say it with me: all women are authentic). If you love women and love poetry, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One is still a pretty solid pick, and I look forward to the next title in the “Women are some kind of magic,” The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One.

(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 2018-03-04

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

tweets for 2018-03-03

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

tweets for 2018-03-02

March 3rd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell (2018)

March 2nd, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“‘Peace, love and empathy,’ Annabelle murmurs, and then we fade away.”

four out of five stars

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

“All my life, people have told me what to do or taken what’s mine. The same is true for you! We’ve been raised among pirates who call themselves gentlemen. And I’m ready to turn the tables. I’m ready to take what’s mine and maybe a few things that aren’t.”

(“The Sweet Trade” by Natalie C. Parker)

We lived. We survived to whisper our names to each other even if we could not yet confess them to anyone else.

(“Roja” by Anna-Marie McLemore)

Anna-Marie McLemore. Malinda Lo. Sara Farizan. Dahlia Adler. Mackenzi Lee. If the lovely and delightful concept of All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages wasn’t enough to have me drooling over this book, the list of authors attached to the project would have easily sealed the deal.

Though they all fall under the heading of historical fiction (fwiw, as someone who was herself a young adult during Y2K, it’s hard for me to think of a story set in 1999 as “historical”), the seventeen short stories found here stretch across a variety of genres: fantasy, fairy tale retellings, romance, etc. This can sometimes make for a jarring transition between stories, but for the most part their LGBTQ protagonists bind them together almost seamlessly.

Anthologies tend by their very nature to be at least a little uneven, but All Out is consistently enjoyable, if not downright awesome. The lowest rating I gave any one story is a three, and these are few and far between. Most of my notes are downright gushy; two stories merited a “fucking amazing!” (“Molly’s Lips” and “Every Shade of Red”); there was one “pure magic” (“Healing Rosa”); and of “The Inferno & The Butterfly” I said simply “great” (I think I was struck speechless tbh).

What I like best – other than the exquisite storytelling and abundance of imagination – is the sheer breadth of diversity. There are F/F and M/M romances, to be sure; but also trans protagonists and heroes, a fair amount of crossdressing (both as a means of subterfuge and as self-expression), and even one or two asexual characters. Some of these teens know very well who they are and are totally comfortable with it, thank you very much; while others are still in the process of learning and becoming. And there are teens from a variety of time periods, nations, cultures, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Picking favorites is hard! But Elliott Wake’s “Every Shade of Red” – a retelling of Robin Hood wherein Robin is a trans boy, given name Lady Marian, who is running away from a forced marriage – stands out in particular. The ending is both heartbreaking but also brimming the promise of adventures yet to come; I can only hope that it’s the first part of an ongoing series. I’d settle for the written word, but this is a story that belongs on screen.

I also fell in love with “Molly’s Lips” by Dahlia Adler. Two besties fall in love – or rather, find the courage to profess their love for one another – in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death. I’m a huge Nirvana fan, and Annabelle’s revelation by linear notes was pure magic. It also reminded me of how much poorer the world is without Kurt here. Especially now, when we need all the little sparks we can get.

Anna-Marie McLemore’s writing is as beautiful and enchanting as always; inspired by the life of Leonarda Emilia, “Roja” is the story of two fierce and indomitable star-crossed lovers. (“Known to history as la Carambada, Leonarda wore men’s clothing, but became notorious for revealing her breasts to the powerful men she’d just robbed as she rode off.” How rad is that?)

And “Healing Rosa” had me cursing the stars that we have to wait so long for We Set the Dark on Fire, the debut novel from Tehlor Kay Mejia.

There are so many more wonderful stories, too many to mention. Best just pick up a copy of All Out and see for yourself.


Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (El Bajío, México, 1870) – 5/5
The Sweet Trade by Natalie C. Parker (Virginia Colony, 1717) – 4/5
And They Don’t Kiss at the End by Nilah Magruder (Maryland, 1976) – 3.5/5
Burnt Umber by Mackenzi Lee (Amsterdam, 1638) – 5/5
The Dresser & The Chambermaid by Robin Talley (Kensington Palace, September 1726) – 3.5/5
New Year by Malinda Lo (San Francisco—January 21, 1955) – 4/5
Molly’s Lips by Dahlia Adler (Seattle—April 10, 1994) – 5/5
The Coven by Kate Scelsa (Paris, 1924) – 3/5
Every Shade of Red by Elliott Wake (England, Late Fourteenth Century) – 5/5
Willows by Scott Tracey (Southwyck Bay, Massachusetts, 1732) – 3/5
The Girl With the Blue Lantern by Tess Sharpe (Northern California, 1849) – 3.5/5
The Secret Life of a Teenage Boy by Alex Sanchez (Tidewater, Virginia, 1969) – 5/5
Walking After Midnight by Kody Keplinger (Upstate New York, 1952) – 4/5
The End of the World As We Know It by Sara Farizan (Massachusetts, 1999) – 4/5
Three Witches by Tessa Gratton (Kingdom of Castile, 1519) – 3.5/5
The Inferno & The Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson (London, 1839) – 5/5
Healing Rosa by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Luna County, New Mexico, 1933) – 5/5


(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 2018-03-01

March 2nd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-02-28

March 1st, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @RepBarbaraLee: Every day I fight in Congress for my constituents who struggle to keep a roof over their heads. How is it possible that… ->
  • RT @dog_rates: This is Sparkle. She was diagnosed with lymphoma last year. On Tuesday, she finished her final chemo treatment. 14/10 keep i… ->
  • RT @sttepodcast: Day two of our twenty days of Funko is this Star Wars Count Dooku (Smuggler’s Bounty exclusive) pop
    Just follow @sttepodc->
  • RT @morgan_such: Rt for a chance to win a 75$ gift card of your choice and a free hoodie!… ->
  • RT @maraistsb: rt to win anything from the why dont we merch
    • will be 2 winners
    • mbf
    • turn my notifs on & be active
    • ^ picking active… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-02-27

February 28th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: Petra by Marianna Coppo (2018)

February 27th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato


four out of five stars

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

Petra is a giant, magnificent boulder: home to villages, witness to millennia of evolution, immobile and indestructible.

Or is she an egg, temporary protector of a fire-breathing dragon or a dapper baby penguin?

Or perhaps she is an island, a lush tropical paradise unto herself?

Maybe she’s all of the above, at various points in her life, to different people?

Petra is a sweet, whimsical, and empowering picture book about self-identity and discovery. The smiley little rock known as Petra is forever in the process of becoming, learning new and wonderful things about herself. She rolls with the punches, always looking on the bright side of things:

What will I be tomorrow?
Who knows?
Well, no need to worry.
I’m a rock, and this is how I roll.

Coppo’s illustrations are just the right mix of silly and sweet. If I stumbled upon Petra while out hiking, I’d bring her home 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 2018-02-26

February 27th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-02-25

February 26th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @dog_rates: This is Oliver. He was wondering if maybe you’d like to watch a movie with him. Says it can be scary as long as you’re puppa… ->
  • RT @hattedhedgehog: Googly eyes add so much to dinosaur history ->
  • RT @nancywyuen: #WakandaSalute in a traditional Chinese coat. I seriously never wear it for fear getting stereotyped as a foreigner. But I… ->
  • RT @mattmfm: Unbelievable: the Trump campaign just sent out an email using the Parkland shooting, including photos of survivors, to raise m… ->
  • RT @soledadobrien: Japanese internment (1942). The forced relocation of Native Americans under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The West VA… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-02-24

February 25th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-02-23

February 24th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-02-22

February 23rd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-02-21

February 22nd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-02-20

February 21st, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @Marvel: "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" animated series is in the works! Get the details on https://t.… ->
  • RT @chrissyteigen: Mister Rogers would narrate himself feeding the fish each episode with “I’m feeding the fish” because of a letter he rec… ->
  • RT @netflix: Tiffany Haddish will star in "Tuca & Bertie," Netflix's new animated series from the team behind "BoJack Horseman" https://t.c… ->
  • RT @shannonrwatts: “Mrs. Schimmoeller, we talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.”
    THIS is the burden our lawmake… ->
  • RT @DanielleWenner: Male privilege is making a booth demanding that others come teach you something rather than making an effort to go lear… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

Book Review: Black Comix Returns by John Jennings and Damian Duffy (2018)

February 20th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Meet your new TBR list!

five out of five stars

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

New to the world of comic books? Want to diversify your reading list? Looking for some STUNNING art by African-American creators? You’ve come to the right place: Black Comix Returns is collection of illustrations, comic strips, and essays by black artists.

Tbh, when I cracked this open, I was expecting to find an anthology of sorts, maybe a sampling of stories from up-and-and coming graphic novelists. This is almost as good, though: while we only get the briefest glimpse into the imaginations of each of the ninety-three artists featured in these here pages, nearly every two-page spread will leave you wanting more. Many of the illustrations are simply breathtaking, and the series descriptions had me adding titles to my Amazon wishlist like it was going out of style. The cover, easily one of the most jaw-dropping I’ve ever seen, is just a taste of the visual delights you can expect to find inside.

Additionally, the essays interspersed throughout give an added layer of context, exploring what it’s like to be an artist – and fan – in an overwhelmingly white (male) industry. Black Comix Returns isn’t necessarily the sort of book you read cover-to-cover, but do yourself a favor and make sure you hit all the essays.

I read Black Comix Returns as a pdf, but I’m sure it makes one helluva coffee table book. According to its Goodreads listing, the first title – Black Comix, which has since gone out of print – is somewhat of a collector’s item on ebay. The $29.99 list price of Black Comix Returns seems like a steal in comparison.

(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 2018-02-19

February 20th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato