Review- Graveyard Quest

Graveyard Quest by KC Green

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5/5 stars

I received my copy of Graveyard Quest through the Paper Street Books monthly subscription box! I highly recommend it, as my October/November box had so many awesome spooky gifts.

The protagonist of this graphic novel is a gravedigger—he’s the owner of a family business that his late father passed down to him. Unfortunately, the gravedigger’s father will not leave him alone, even in spirit form, and subjects him to frequent visits and negative speeches. The gravedigger’s only solace is his mother’s bones. He talks to her skeleton every day and finds comfort in telling her all about his thoughts and mishaps. One day, the bones are gone and the gravedigger knows he must journey into Hell to get them back from his father, a man who seemingly gets all of his pleasure from making his life miserable. The gravedigger meets a lot of interesting creatures in the underworld, some who want to stop him and some who depend on him. Those bones are the only things that the gravedigger truly cherishes in his gloomy life, so he knows he must retrieve them.

WOW, I loved this graphic novel. It was easy to get through, but full of hidden treasures. The gravedigger meets many different types of people, animals, demons (?) and many of them were really cute.The illustrations were so fun and made the story even more enjoyable. I especially loved the mole, who helps the gravedigger along the way with his extraordinary sense of smell. Now that I think about it, I actually would like a retelling of the story in the mole’s POV…

My favorite part of the graphic novel is a section that shows the gravedigger on a boat with a hooded tour guide. I have a condition where anytime someone is going across a body of water with another person giving directions, I HAVE to point out the Dante reference. This time, finally, I wasn’t being unrealistic. The Dante reference is clear, as the gravedigger is literally being lead across a river to Hell. If you can’t tell, I really, really like Dante’s Inferno.

The entire storyline of this graphic novel was amazing. The beginning was just enough information to create a mysterious journey and KC Green reveals a little bit more about the gravedigger with each page. I thought the plot was wholesome and the ending made me very happy. I’m a huge fan of the gravedigger and the mole (he’s so cute, I can’t get over it)! I wish there were more volumes of their adventures.

This was a perfect Halloween read. I’m so glad that this book found its way into my hands and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a cute but spooky themed adventure!

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Review- Suck Less: Where There’s a Willam, There’s a Way

Suck Less: Where There’s a Willam, There’s a Way by Willam Belli

61lerla1nal5/5 stars

Willam is an amazing performer that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times. He is a drag queen, actor, singer, and songwriter that has been in multiple different TV shows (reality, crime, etc)—just check out his IMDb page. He is known for his quick wit (although in the book, he admits that he’s just a dickhead and people think he’s joking), along with his top-notch drag technique that has been shown again and again on TV, VMA performances, and music videos. Willam has always been a fun person to speak with and I was so excited when I heard he was releasing a book.

In Suck Less, Willam gives tips on how to suck less at various things that he is good at. The sections range from everything between stripping to having a nice home to insulting someone effectively. He also includes a dragtionary that explains all of the drag lingo he uses throughout the book. The pages are filled with high quality photos of Willam as well, some of these demonstrating things like tucking and hair techniques.

Willam gives a lot of valuable advice in the 221 pages of Suck Less. For example, there’s a section about how to suck less at leaving the house. He says, “I always have a garbage bag with me in case someone I meet is ugly. It’s also good for when the weather is iffy and you don’t wanna tote around an umbrella”. It’s humor like this that has made Willam one of the most loved mainstream drag performers. On a more serious note, he gives some really cool tips about things like acne—I had no idea that using a pierced Advil Liqui-gel could make pimples disappear.

I love Willam’s writing because I could hear him reading it in his own voice. If you’ve ever heard him talk, even just one sentence, you’ll know what I mean when I say his voice is very unique. It was so much fun to hear Willam’s tone so well that it felt like he was actually saying all of these tips to me directly. Even if you don’t know much about Willam or gay culture in general, this is a really great book to get advice from a drag queen. ‘Cause, you know, drag queens do most things the best anyway.

I anticipated this book to be 5 stars, and it certainly was. Willam’s fans know to only expect the best of the best from him, and Suck Less lives up to that. I’m excited to see where Willam’s career takes him next because he truly seems capable of bringing his persona to all forms of art.

Review- The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
22962314-_uy200_4/5 stars
-I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review-

 

The earth has been infected by a sickness, a sickness that leaves the planet nearly empty of living people. The disease also affects the unborn, as all babies that come into this bleak new world die within a few hours. Of the individuals that remain, almost all are men who are hungry for women. The few women left are traded, raped, kept on chains, married, and remarried. Our protagonist cleverly disguises herself as a man to keep safe. She’s a trained nurse and makes it her mission to offer birth control to females to minimize their risks of dying while giving birth to sick infants. Our protagonist travels across the US, walking miles every day in search of safety and survivors that aren’t looking to kill her. It’s impossible to predict how many people are still alive and, more importantly, how they may behave.

 

If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller, this is it. Or, better yet, if you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller with a main character who is likable and interesting, this is it. I feel like sometimes this genre leaves authors focusing on creating their story but neglecting the voice in which it’s told. “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife” is not one of those instances. The protagonist has a really multifaceted point of view, especially about gender, and I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts about the imbalance of power between the sexes.

Some parts of this book left me feeling a bit uneasy—young girls getting raped by much older men—but then again, who reads a post-apocalyptic novel looking to feel at ease? This world that Meg Elison creates is so unique that I pushed through the uncomfortable bits; and I’m so glad that I did. The plot, characters, and writing did not disappoint me in the slightest.

I also want to add that the ending is fantastic. I had no idea where the plot was going, even when there were only 20 pages left in the novel, but the ending blew me away. Meg Elison truly knows how to wrap a story up and leave the reader satisfied. I’m always ecstatic when I close a book feeling content with the final page, and that’s exactly what I felt with “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife”.

I want to thank NetGalley for the advance copy of this book that I received. I’m grateful that I got a first look at the wonderful plot and characters. I’m so excited for it to hit bookstore shelves and see other readers love it as much as I did.

Review- A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

 51g6aenhgpl5/5 stars (I wish I could give it more)

Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the Metropol hotel. If he sets a foot outside of the building, the government has the right to kill him. That being said, the count still finds ways to make his life interesting. He develops great friendships at his new job as a restaurant server and spends a lot of his time just observing the hotel crowds. The count also meets a 9 year old girl, Nina, who changes his life in ways he never imagined. This curious explorer takes the count on adventures in the halls of the hotel and they find hidden spots using Nina’s stolen key. During his years in the Metropol, the count meets countless individuals who become very special to him, but perhaps Nina is the most special of them all.

This book blew me away. The last time I read a novel that hit me this deep was All the Light We Cannot See. This book changed me. It changed the way I think about life and the motto “everything happens for a reason”. Before A Gentleman in Moscow, I was unsure about this saying, but now I find peace in it. I wish I could call Towles and personally thank him for writing such a powerful story.

The writing in this book is absolutely phenomenal– it’s beautifully concise. I want to say it’s almost magical, like it puts you under a spell that lingers even after you’ve finished the book. This makes the characters very appealing and alive. I feel like I’ve been with the count through every phase of his life and the whole time I was right there in his hotel room next to him. It’s incredible to feel like you gained a friend (or many friends in this case) just by turning a couple hundred pages in a book.

Last year, I read a lot of bestsellers. Most of them were great aside from the endings that left me feeling like something was missing. A Gentleman in Moscow is not one of those books. I almost grew accustomed to novel endings that let me down and I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Again, I wish I could call Towles up and thank him for this.

As a little bonus “huzzah” for me, A Gentleman in Moscow has a lot of classical references. From Achilles to Odysseus to Anna Karenina, it somehow covers all of my favorite books. Someday maybe I’ll go back through the story and discover all of those hidden pleasures again.

I have nothing negative to say about this book. I would recommend it to any adult, readers and nonreaders alike. I expect this book to remain on the bestsellers list for a long time, as it deserves its spot. I can’t wait for more people to discover the count’s life and fall in love with it just like I did.

September Wrap-Up!

It was a bit of a slow reading month for me in September. I read 6 books, 3 of which were graphic novels and fairly easy to get through. Before this month, I never really read any graphic novels besides Maus (for school) and Alison Bechdel comics (Dykes to Watch Out For is my favorite comic strip). I’m really glad that I’ve found a new love for this genre and I’m open to any recommendations! Please shoot me an email or comment with your favorite graphic novels. Here’s this month’s breakdown:

Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore (biography)- 4.5/5 stars

Edenborn by Nick Sagan (science fiction) – 3/5 stars

Sobriety by Daniel D. Maurer (graphic novel/fiction) – 4.5/5 stars

The Invisible life of Ivan Isaenko (YA fiction) – 4/5 stars

How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel/sci fi)- 5/5 stars

Stardust by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel/fantasy)- 4/5 stars

I’m aiming for closer to 8 books in October, as I have a lot of review requests to get through. I’m really excited for my TBR list this month but, like always, I’m constantly looking for new books and genres to try out. Thank you to the amazing authors and publishers that have contacted me for reviews—I appreciate all of you. Cheers to a great reading month and here’s to another one.

Review- High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris

High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris

imgresRating: 4/5 stars

-I would like to give a big thank you to Perseid Press for the paperback copy of this book!-

The men and women living on Silistra are governed by a hierarchy of sexual desire and fertility. Infertility is a widespread issue that allows the most sexually appealing women the greatest power. Estri is among the most powerful in the land—she holds the position of the high couch of Silistra. Estri’s mother died during childbirth and she has yet to know much about her father. She is sent on a quest to find her father and discover the secrets that his kind may hold.

In my opinion, this should be a classic science fiction book, especially for those who love female protagonists. Estri is a strong woman who leads with her body and her wit. She was really fun to join on this adventure across strange lands. I thought she was by far the most interesting character in the book, so I naturally paid a lot of attention to her and was left wanting more. I love strong-minded (and, in this case, bodied) women who don’t take any bs from men to whom they don’t owe anything. Go Estri!

I also thought it was cool to hear about the customs of these different societies that Morris so brilliantly created. Estri visits a few places that each have their own customs. I’m not sure how Morris made them so unique, but she found a way to make them all intriguing.

When I got to some of the first sexual scenes, I was a bit confused. I was thinking that Estri was submitting to men as a way of giving up. I soon realized that I was thinking in the mind of someone from our world, not Silistra’s. In actuality, Estri was pleasing these men as an act of power and domination. Switching into this mindset was very freeing.

I was searching for a good science fiction read, and I definitely found it. High Couch of Silistra is full of new cultures and creatures to study. I can’t stop thinking about how I really want to meet a hulion, a big cat with wings and a mane. I definitely want to read more of The Silistra quartet and follow Estri on more adventures. If you’re a science fiction lover (especially with a passion for female protagonists), you’ll love this book.