Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: My Boyfriend Is a Bear

My Boyfriend Is a Bear My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With a title like My Boyfriend is a Bear, who wouldn't be curious enough to pick this up? This is a graphic novel by Pamela Ribon that explores the love life of a young woman living in L.A. named Nora. You find out a lot about her past failed relationships, then you get to her current one--with a bear. Yes, a literal bear.

The relationship appears to be as normal as one could be with a bear. Yes, he tears up things. Yes, he breaks things. Avoid stepping on and crushing Nora's cat is a matter of life and death (for the cat). But there are good times too, when Bear does everything he can to make Nora happy. Her friends and her parents are not sure that this relationship should continue, especially when natural instincts call and Bear has to go hibernate.

If you look at it as a metaphor on relationships (and a lot on how other people tend to meddle and think they knows what's best), it's a cute story. If you take it too literally, you may not enjoy it quite as much, though the artwork is a fun, vibrant style that anyone could appreciate.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review: Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom

Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom by Terry Blas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom is a fun (as fun as murder can be) romp through a murder mystery with teens at the helm of solving it. The story takes place at Camp Bloom, a weight loss camp for teens. Some of the campers know each other and are familiar with the place, but others are new. Four of the characters make fast friends, especially when a couple of them witness one of the counselors getting murdered. But that's not all--as the group starts to put the clues together, even more mystery and mayhem emerge.

This was a great cozy mystery in comic book form. The only part about it that was a little muddled for me was that three male characters that become central to the murder mystery are a bit indistinguishable from each other, not because they look alike, but because they aren't in many pages before they appear as an important part of the story overall.

I would love to see more stories from these teens. They could probably find a lot of trouble to get into...

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: David Bowie: A Life

David Bowie: A Life David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

David Bowie is an icon of music—not because he was the most famous musician in the 20th century, but because he was the most famous guy to the outliers, outcasts, and freaks that couldn't have chosen a better person to emulate.

This book by Dylan Jones is a not a straight biography, but instead a collection of anecdotes by those who knew him best, including those who acknowledge that no matter how close, most people never really knew him at all. There are plenty of stories from his early years through his entry into the music industry, the drug-fueled days of the seventies, the struggle to stay relevant in the eighties, and eventually landing at a point in his life where he would rather be boring old David Jones rather than the iconic Bowie.

Since this book is told in stories rather that in definite fact, it may be hard for a casual fan who doesn't know much about Bowie's life and career to get all the information they need. There are clear gaps in his timeline in which things aren't discussed fully, many of the anecdotes skip backward and forward in time (sometimes in the same paragraph), and would seem to be a better format for a documentary where the person watching could have a wide range of visual aids to help tell the story. However, diehard Bowie fans will love this book because it most likely contains some stories and perspectives that aren't present in other books.

*Book provided by Blogging for Books

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Book Spotlight: My Black History





Love and respect prove virtuous above all else in Nicole A. Jones' book, My Black History
A kind grandmother relates the lessons yet to be learned from mankind's past travesties.

In a world so vivid with color and a society so beautifully diverse, there's an overwhelming amount of impressionable, young minds to educate and inspire.

With insightful text and compelling illustrations on every page, a kind and sensible grandmother sits down with her grandchildren and relates the lessons yet to be learned from mankind's past travesties. In doing so, she also introduces just some of the many revolutionary men and women who've long began the massive overturning of an old-fashioned mentality.

With discrimination still plaguing modern-day civilization, we're reminded of the importance of rising above its critical view in a strenuous effort to leave the world better than when we found it.

Nicole A. Jones' rhythmic and candid approach will have young readers enthralled as well as enlightened for generations to come.

You can purchase My Black History (paperback and ebook) from Amazon.

About the Author:


Nicole A. Jones is an avid writer, published author, and successful businesswoman. She is the founder of N. Jones Enterprise LLC, a professional writing and publishing company in Woodbridge, Virginia and N. Jones Music, a subsidiary of N. Jones Enterprise LLC. She is also an affiliate songwriter and publisher of the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) performing rights organization.

Ms. Jones started writing as an avenue to relieve herself of the pain of several consecutive losses in her life but over time she had accumulated a collection of writing in the form of poetry, journals and songs.

When asked, what makes her writings so unique, she says, “I am not a distant writer. I walk through the storms of life with my eyes opened. I not only know what fear, pain, and hurt feel like, I also know what they look like. Despite the boisterous winds and rain and dark clouds I’m facing, I write."

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Author's Website

Review: Bloom

Bloom Bloom by Beau Taplin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Bloom by Beau Taplin is another one of those collections that's trying to bank off of the trend in contemporary poetry. Unfortunately, this one does not meet the standards of some of the other collections that have come out in the past two years.

Bloom has three distinct types of work within the collection: the I poems, the You poems, and the full-page sentences that are reminiscent of a magazine pull quote. The first type of poems, the I poems, are ones that the poet addresses from the first person perspective. Most of these seem like love notes, but not ones that are any more complicated than the notes everyone passed in middle school. There's really no urgency or connection that speaks to the love being more than an infatuation inspired by boredom.

The second poems, the You poems, are a bit patronizing to the reader. These poems tell you how you should live your life and how to feel. Also, these poems will quickly remind most readers of those long quote memes posted all over the internet--the ones that people post to be inspiring, but end up really saying nothing.

The full-page quotes are like those Safe Auto commercials, the ones where the voiceover goes "This is a bad quote." They don't make much sense and are written in a very hard-to-read font.

What does this collection have going for it? A very beautiful layout and design. If I hadn't already explored what's inside, I would have picked this up for the design alone. It is going to look amazing as a paperback, but reading it as an ebook is difficult on the eyes when it switches from black to white pages. Overall, it's not what I'm looking for in poetry, but I'm sure that there are some out there that enjoy it.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Review: Stanley's Girl: Poems

Stanley's Girl: Poems Stanley's Girl: Poems by Susan Eisenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stanley's Girl by Susan Eisenberg is a collection of poetry that comes from a unique perspective--a woman working in the construction industry before women had any place there. Although a couple of poems stray from being specifically about construction, the majority of the collection deals with all of the pain, fear, and heartbreak that had to be endured just to be seen as qualified to step foot on a construction site.

The poetry gets very serious by tackling all of what you would expect a woman to have to endure being one of the few to get the ball rolling, such as blatant misogyny, hazing, harassment, and even assault in some instances. What may come as a surprise is the blatant disregard for human life simply because someone isn't the same as all the others, to the point where seeing if a woman is going to make a fatal mistake becomes a spectator sport. Very powerful collection.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: The Last Time I'll Write About You

The Last Time I'll Write About You The Last Time I'll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Last Time I'll Write About You is a contemporary poetry collection from Dawn Lanuza. Like most of the poetry collections released in the past two years, it makes a point to stick with simple language and standard images that deal with the cycle of a romantic relationship.

What stands out about this one is that it doesn't stand out from the pack--there is no ah-ha! poem in here that you want to share because it does something to stir the soul. This collection is much more like something you would put in a diary during a breakup, not out into the world. If it's going in front of stranger's eyes, it should be dressed up a little bit with complex imagery. This collection simply does not have that.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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