Showing posts with label netgalley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label netgalley. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7 Blogger Problems That No Longer Faze Me | #BloggerConfessions

I'm hoping not too many of you noticed, but I've had some MAJOR theme problems in the last days and I figured why not channel this into a blog post? 

Throughout my blogging career, lots of things that used to absolute devastate me, no longer really are an issue for me. Let's talk about those. 



#7. Theme Drama!
We know it all, we hate it all. Sometimes your theme randomly breaks or your hosting platform randomly decides that there's an error now that seems unfixable. I've always customized my themes alone and that always proved to be a headache (still is!). Mini!Blogger!Me would've probably deleted the entire blog or massively freaked out over something like this happening and breaking my entire page, but these days I'm just like? Well. Shit happens.

#6. Getting Declined on Netgalley
That used to bother me SO MUCH to the point that I was wondering if I'm doing something wrong blogging-wise because so many publishers wouldn't accept any of my requests. Fast-forward about 2 years later and I'm pretty much getting the majority of the ARCs that are available to my country, it's really just an issue of blog-size unfortunately. And people familiarizing themselves your style. I still have never been approved for anything on Edelweiss, though, haha.

#5. Followers! Unfollowers! Help!

I know this is a stupid thing to hear when you're a blogger with a two or one digit following, but seriously - at some point it no longer hurts you when you see that counter go down a bit. I'm by no means anywhere near being a big blogger, not even medium-sized in my opinion, but I magically stopped caring eventually. Don't like my blog? No problem! Be happy about the people who appreciate you, don't bother spending any time thinking about the ones who don't. And really, blogging just for followers is so 2011. Blog because you like it, not becaue you want to be big.

#4. Not Being Scheduled Regularly
You guys know that I'm notorious for scheduling my blog months in advance. But weirdly, I don't mind when I'm not 100% on my one-post-every-other-day schedule. I really don't mind. Blogging regularly is important, sure, but not to such an extent that I angst about missing a day or two anymore. Meh.

#3. Your Social Media Following Isn't Growing!!!
Drama, drama. Just when I thought I'd stopped caring about followers when it comes to my blog, I started worrying about the same thing on social media. Especially when you're really on top of your game and spend a lot of time on one specific site, you'll probably go through the same stages again that you went through on your blog. I'm glad to say that that stuff won't bother you anymore soon either.

#2. Inventing New Content 24/7
I was SO big on that back when I started. I used to experiment a lot with memes, new features that didn't last long - at this point I don't even bother thinking up something new anymore. I got YA Talk, Book Blogging Tips, Book Blogging Etiquette, and #BloggerConfessions and that is more than enough for me! 

#1. Page Views Aren't Growing!!
Who cares. Seriously. I'm by no means at the height of my page views right now, but I really don't mind. I haven't been on my statistics page in months.


Trust me, if you're worried about one of those things RIGHT NOW, this stuff is super temporary. In a week or two you won't even remember what you used to stress about. In a year or two, you'll have ascended to the magical place of I-Don't-Care Land where none of these even matter.




More #BloggerConfessions:

7 Reasons Why I Prefer Young Adult books over Adult books




What are some blogging problems that no longer send you deep into the depths of blogging angst despair?



Connect with me!

Continue Reading...

Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Improve Your Feedback Ratio Quickly: #NetGalley Advice | Book Blogging Tips (#50)


It's recommended that you keep up a ratio of 80%, meaning that you have provided reviews for 80% of the titles you've been approved for. 


At first this may sound high and very unattainable but I have developed a fool-proof way to improve it.

When you just signed up for NetGalley it's super hard to even get approved for books. How do you get experience reviewing books when in order to get a track record you have to show a track record?

Easy: Read Now

Read Now is a section that I personally consider a gift from God. There are many books that are instantly accessible to anyone and everyone. You'd think that these are all terrible books that are poorly written, but no.These are all books that people want reviews for desperately and you'll even encounter the occasional well-known already published book there. CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell was in that section a while ago.

If you shy away from the vast amount of indie books that are offered there - my personal advice is to head over to the graphic novels and comic section.

But why???? I don't even like graphic novels, I'm an adult sci-fi blog, what even

Here's the thing. You can read a graphic novel or comic within an hour tops, write up a review, and you're done. You can get your approval numbers up super quickly with those read now comics and nobody cares whether you usually review a different genre.

Another pro tip would be to start reviewing picture books. They're typically 250 words maximum, you go figure how quickly you can read and review these.

See, you're not really in the position yet to be picky. You just started. You gotta take what you can get.

Ughh, how long will it take until I can start requesting books I actually want to read? Do I have to read picture books for the rest of my life?

Fear not, gentle reader. I started requesting books from major publishers at about 25 approvals. You may start earlier but I guarantee you, the big five won't even touch you if you haven't reviewed and read more than 20 books.

MORE TIPS:
  • Books are "archived" after a certain time, meaning you can't download them anymore then. Typically you're expected to at least send over the feedback/review before the archive date. It's no harm if you do so after it's been archived, but people won't cheer on you if you do this either.
  • You can DNF a book. If you just don't like it, send over a note via the feedback option explaining why you don't want to read the book. Don't do this too often though and have valid reasons.
  • For the love of all that is holy, don't request more than 20 books at once. What if you get approved for all of them and they end up being due next week? Yikes!


If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!!

Continue Reading...

Friday, June 10, 2016

[Review] The Gracekeepers - Kirsty Logan: Circus Artists and a Flooded World





In THE GRACEKEEPERS, Callanish and North live in a flooded world, one is a circus traveler, the other one lives on land.

What intrigued me: Honestly, I was just hoping for a nice Magical Realism story.

High Fantasy in disguise

THE GRACEKEEPERS truly sounds like a magical story if you've read the blurb and the writing definitely supports this. It reads like a fever dream, strange, yet very comforting. However, that kind of writing isn't for everyone. Paired with the multiple POVs, THE GRACEKEEPERS simply used two things that I personally don't like, as well executed as they may be. Especially the multiple POVs are lacking here because it very easily makes it difficult to get truly immersed in the world. 

Because the two protagonists North and Callanish lead dramatically different lives and have numerous side kicks that you have to keep up with, I easily lost interest and motivation to read this novel. Hence my reading experience felt forced, dragged out, and not really pleasant. This is by no means a bad novel, merely the beginning is lacking. The world could be super interesting, I've only ever encountered a flooded world in CURRENTS before and quite enjoyed the concept. I would've liked GRACEKEEPERS to explain more, to show me more world building. I assume the novel is trying to be Magical Realism, but honestly, it's just High Fantasy. Just throw in world building, please, this concept doesn't work for this story.

Severely lacks world building

The world building or lack thereof generally is what makes this novel not succeed in my opinion. I would've loved to see strong concepts from the first second on. There's a circus on a raft in a flooded world! This is epic! This is a great idea! Why are there so few descriptions? 

Basically we get the facts like reading a bullet point journal but NONE of the atmosphere. The writing itself absolutely cannot convey the atmosphere, it won't hurt to add a couple of descriptive scenes, would it? In a novel like this that's about two characters with vastly different lives, you can't just omit society and culture. There is almost nothing of that in this. Sometimes it feels like your average medieval-inspired fantasy book, sometimes it feels like something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie. THE GRACEKEEPERS lures with a great premise, but honestly can't deliver and immerse in the world.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't think it's worth the trouble. I really wanted to like THE GRACEKEEPERS, but I do think even two stars is very generous, mostly for the idea. I didn't enjoy the story much and I think there are better similar books out there. THE NIGHT CIRCUS, PANTOMIME etc.



Additional Info


Published: March 10th 2016
Pages: 293
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781784700133

Synopsis:
"A flooded world. 
A floating circus. 
Two women in search of a home. 

North lives on a circus boat with her beloved bear, keeping a secret that could capsize her life.

Callanish lives alone in her house in the middle of the ocean, tending the graves of those who die at sea. As penance for a terrible mistake, she has become a gracekeeper.

A chance meeting between the two draws them magnetically to one another - and to the promise of a new life.

But the waters are treacherous, and the tide is against them."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read THE GRACEKEEPERS?

Continue Reading...

Monday, May 2, 2016

What to write in your #NetGalley profile | How to Be Badass on #NetGalley






So, I've been on NetGalley for a while and I decided that I know what I'm doing well enough to give advice.

So here's what you do when you start out:



It's so important that you fill in your profile.
This is first thing people see of you when you request a book.
Make sure you:
  • add a profile picture
  • add a bio
  • add a description
  • tell everyone how awesome you are and don't be shy!! (this doesn't mean exaggerating, no lies here, people will actually check everything and if you lie, you're not going to get approved for anything ever)

But what the heck am I supposed to put into the bio? 

I got you.

It's a simple formula:

1. Thanking the publisher for considering you because you're polite and professional.

2. Introducing your blog in one or two sentences. 
Example: "My blog X is a YA books only blog. I post discussions and review books. I like this and that genre the best."

3. Introducing your schedule so the publisher knows when to expect a review. 
Example: "I review 10 books a week and read about 6 books a week."

4. Adding a fancy sentence if you have cool other platforms. 
Example: "I am an Amazon Top 100 reviewer / I have a billion friends on Goodreads / I have an instagram with a million followers."

5. Adding the link to your blog and your email address.

6. Copying your blog statistics.

Example:

STATS
- X reviews published since X
- Daily views: 
- Monthly views:
- Unique Visitors per month: 
- Total views: 

FOLLOWERS
- via Google Friend Connect: 
- via Bloglovin: 
- via Twitter:  (@username)
- via tumblr: (username)
- via Google +: 
- via Goodreads: X friends + Y following reviews
- via (other platform that I do not use): 

Total reach: ~ X


MORE  TIPS:

It's super important to add as much detail as possible but not to ramble. 500 words is the absolute maximum, nobody will read your life story here. Stick to the basics, stick to the stuff that's relevant for the publisher. If you won blog awards (not those tag award things!), add them. Add everything that proves that you're a successful blogger!

Make sure to regularly update your statistics - at least a month. Even if they go down, always be honest!

If you have any more questions feel free to ask!


Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

[Review] Dreaming of Antigone - Robin Bridges: Greek Plays, Drugs, and Manic Pixie Dream Boys





In DREAMING OF ANTIGONE, Andria's twin sister Iris died of a heroin overdose. Andria has been suffering life-threatening seizures all her life and is counting down to getting declared seizure-free for six months by her doctor, so she can get her driver's license.

What intrigued me: The absolutely stunning cover.

A little over the top

DREAMING OF ANTIGONE is one of those typical coming-of-age novels that try to hook you with a side of romance and a deep topic of choice - in this case poetry. The whole novel has sprinkled in parts of poems that Andria and a mystery person in her school scribble on their desks. The premise isn't necessarily new, I've read books about similar scenarios before. The boy she's communicating with is of course her late twin sister's ex-boyfriend, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy Deluxe. And of course they fall in love.

I just didn't connect to the characters at all, which is probably also because they don't seem like real people. Bridges tried to spice the story up by splattering in bits of highly sensitive topics. From heroin addiction to child abuse to suicide - you'll find everything in this. And frankly, it's just too much. Things like this don't happen in high school and even if they did, you'd think that the parents would at least comment once on it. Or that the children would be more aware of it. Despite Andria's twin sister recently having died, there is virtually no grief in this. Frequent clumsily written, cryptic dreams, but not actual grief. I just didn't buy it.

Lack of plot

I think DREAMING OF ANTIGONE would have been better off if it had been written with a different audience in mind, maybe as a work of Literary Fiction. Like this, it just reads like Bridges tries too hard to hide the fact that there is nothing to the novel, there is absolutely no story, and the little we get is very, very predictable. I do like the chronically ill main character, but something just didn't sit right with me, Andria's narration reads very detached, very devoid of emotion. Again, she doesn't feel real, none of the characters do.

The little nods to the Greek Play were more exhausting than a nice addition. Bridges didn't manage to show Andria's fascination with Antigone, and all the similarities to her own life just feel forced. I caught myself skimming halfway through all passages summarizing Antigone, and I just didn't feel like it's necessary.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

DREAMING OF ANTIGONE just wasn't for me. If you like coming-of-age stories and don't mind the occasional poetry excerpt, maybe you'll feel differently.



Additional Info

Published: March 29th 2016
Pages: 304
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9781496703545

Synopsis:
"Every star has its own path… 

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him."(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like stories inspired by Greek plays?

Continue Reading...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

6 Reasons Why You Got Declined to Review A Book on #NetGalley and How to Fix This | Emergency Help






So I finally started using NetGalley a couple of months ago, and I am absolutely addicted to this site. 

I love the convenience of ordering review copies without having to write up pesky emails and talking to actual people *yuck*


But sometimes NetGalley decides to break all our hearts by declining us for review copies. And I say US because I am fairly certain this doesn't only happen to me but to a lot of people, even bloggers that have been blogging for longer than I have and have biiiiiiiiig blogs with lots of followers. Shocking but true

I don't know about you guys, but my heart breaks a little every time I apply to review a book I want to read very badly and THEN, a couple of days later, I get declined. I did some research (lots of research) and tried to find out why publishers and authors sometimes decline us poor reviewers who are just trying their best and just want to read books. 

Here are the most common reasons to get declined (according to the internet people)

#1: Wrong Continent/ Region

Next to some books there are little icons of countries or continents. Some publishers only have a license to give out review copies in a special region. They politely say "users from X preferred" instead of "Don't even think about requesting this book if you're not from X"

PRO TIP: Do gamble on this. Sometimes it really does mean preferred and not exclusively for X region people. Request that book!

#2: Catastrophic Feedback Rate 

When you click on your profile it says how many books you have been approved for and how many books you've sent feedback for (meaning reviews or a note why you didn't review it). Publishers see this. A feedback rate of 80% is recommended and yeah... stick to that. Try to keep it at 80% or more at all times.

PRO TIP: Don't request any more books if your rate is below 80%. Publishers do also see how many books you have been declined for and will be like "hmmm, if they got declined 60 times out of 70 there's probably a reason, let's decline them."

#3: You Mainly Review a Different Genre

If you run a book blog dedicated to crime books, why did you just request a young adult romance? Publishers do check out your blog and your preferences. You have to keep in mind what audience your blog caters to.

PRO TIP: If you really want the book, gamble on this. Request it, especially with small publishers you might have luck.


#4: Your Bio is Horrible

You have to have statistics in your bio and you have to have a profile picture, and you have to say a little about yourself. If you didn't bother filling it in, there's the reason why you get declined.

PRO TIP: Check the publishers preferences to get an idea about what people want to see.


#5: You're too late

Believe it or not, there is a limited amount of ecopies available.

PRO TIP: Request books as quickly as you know you want to read them and have the time to read them!!!

#6: Too few followers

Even though everyone says that followings don't matter, on NetGalley they absolutely do. Many big publishers state clearly that there is no chance you even get a shot at reviewing their books if you don't have more than 1,000 followers and long-windedly explain how they know it's a lot and not fair to everyone, but they're in the business of selling books. We get it.

A way to find out whether you're just wasting your time requesting a book from a publisher is to just click on their name next to the book title and click on their approval preferences.

PRO TIP: Don't gamble on this. If you have fewer than 1,000 followers and the preference states clearly that you have no chance, don't even try.


One last PRO TIP:

Don't get discouraged if you got declined for a book. It happens to the best of us. Just request another to numb the pain!


Have you gotten declined before? How do you deal with the pain?

Continue Reading...

Friday, April 1, 2016

[Review] Lucky Me - Saba Kapur: Bodyguards, Rich Kids, and Movie Stars






In LUCKY ME, rich girl Gia is threatened by an anonymous caller, which causes her father to hire a shockingly attractive bodyguard to follow her around.

What intrigued me: I was hoping for a light Kinsella-esque read.

Great first person narration

The most striking thing and actually also my favorite thing about LUCKY ME is definitely the main character, Gia. She's incredibly funny and just comes across as a real person. You hardly encounter novels about rich kids that don't play into stereotypes, and Kapur really managed to create a likable protagonist. I loved her witty banter with love interest and bodyguard Jack, their dialogues are definitely the highlight.

As much as I enjoyed reading about Gia, the other characters remain very one-dimensional and uninteresting. Because the narration is so focused on Gia and her internal monologue, LUCKY ME lacks world establishing. Hardly anything is described, from Gia's surroundings to the looks of the people around her. I do like that Gia's voice is so strong and seamlessly can transition from background information to the present tense storyline, but I would have liked this more if I didn't have to conjure up all images on my own. 

One-dimensional love interests

The bodyguard storyline isn't very groundbreaking and didn't really get to me that much. The immediate danger of the situation is mostly defused by the fact that Gia absolutely ignores it. There isn't much urgency in the story - which would have really spiced things up a little. 

Jack is always just hovering around as the sole reminder that something is actually wrong. I didn't really connect with him, most of the time I just couldn't make sense of his personality. Is he being sarcastic? Is he just trying to come back at Gia for her sassy comments? The only info we get of him is that he's attractive, and that just makes him a very flat character to me that I didn't have any reason to care about from the start. Same with the other love interest, neither of them were really fleshed out enough to actually make me root for either of them to end up with Gia. I wish the novel had tried less to force the inevitable love triangle and had played more with the stalker sub plot.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

LUCKY ME is a sweet, fun contemporary novel. It may be very predictable, but it's without a doubt a nice pastime if you can look past the generic love interests. The narration is truly impeccable, hilarious, and absolutely unique.



Additional Info

Published: April 5th 2016
Pages: 329
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780692536407

Synopsis:
"For eighteen year old Gia Winters, having a movie star for a father, a former Playboy bunny as a mother, a Hollywood mansion, and a closet stocked with Chanel is simply another day in the life.

But her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously hires a group of bodyguards to trail the family 24/7 and threatening phone calls from a "Dr. D" start buzzing daily.

When Gia scores the coveted role of Miss Golden Globe, she is forced to strike a deal with her bodyguard, Jack, who is almost as arrogant as he is attractive. Juggling Gia's romantic failures, fashion faux pas, and celebrity obsessions, the duo investigate a series of clues with the help of a police cadet, who has a special set of skills and an even better set of dimples.

But with the Golden Globes just around the corner, danger levels rise higher than her stilettos as Gia learns that the biggest secrets might be the ones buried in her own home.

In a place where the hills have eyes, high school nemeses, bad hair days, raging parties, and stolen kisses, there can only be trouble for a girl who was just starting to consider herself lucky."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite light, funny book?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[Review] The Beauty, Vol.1 - Jeremy Haun: Epidemics, Beauty Obsessions, and Guns





In THE BEAUTY, VOL.1, humans are able to get more beautiful by getting infected with a sexually transmittable disease called The Beauty. When the infected start imploding all of a sudden, two detectives start investigating.

What intrigued me: Wonderful premise. I love reading about dystopian societies.




Too fast-paced

THE BEAUTY doesn't bother much with exposition, which is probably the reason why I didn't really care much for the plot until about four issues in. It's difficult to keep up with all those characters that are not introduced at all and trying to find out what their relationships are. I'm glad I even managed to catch the two names of the detectives! Therefore, because I could hardly keep up with who was who, I really wasn't as invested as I liked to be, even though the idea is really interesting and intriguing.

We're almost immediately thrown into this world, right into the storyline revolving around the two detectives Foster and Vaughn who are trying to bring The Beauty down because it's killing more and more people. The comic generally has X-Files vibe it, not only because of the protagonists looking just like Scully and Mulder, but also because it is heavy on the action and investigation side. You'll find a lot of gore-y scenes, nudity, and shootings in this.

Unflattering artwork

While the artwork is nice to look at, I don't think that it necessarily compliments the narration. There are lots of eye closeups, lots of background scenes with the characters and their families, and this is just not working very well when you don't know who all these people are and hardly any of them is actually introduced. 

Another thing that kind of bugged me is that I didn't really see the difference between the looks of the people infected with The Beauty and those who aren't. The cover artwork for the issues is way prettier than the actual artwork inside and seems to be done in a slightly different style, which is really a pity because I would have loved for this to be a little more experimental and less yet-another-detective-comic generic.



Rating:

★★½

  


Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE BEAUTY needs quite some time to kick off. With the slow start, I'm hesitant to directly say "Go read this" - I'll probably still stick around for the second volume because I just started to get interested in the story (after reading six issues). If you don't mind a slow, but fast-paced start, go ahead. I'm positive that this series will be improving in future issues.





Additional Info

Published: March 22nd 2016
Pages: 164
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Adult / Dystopian
ISBN: 9781632155504

Synopsis:
"Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? 

In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is only one sexual encounter away. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Vaughn and Foster will soon discover it comes at a terrible cost. Now, they'll have to find their way past corrupt politicians, vengeful federal agents, and a terrifying mercenary out to collect the price on their heads. "(Source: Goodreads)

Would you get purposely infected with The Beauty?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, March 12, 2016

[Review] Dreamscape: Saving Alex - Kirstin Pulioff: Saving the Queen in a Video Game




In DREAMSCAPE, Alexis gets sucked into her favorite childhood video game.

What intrigued me: I'm forever searching for a book similar to READY PLAYER ONE.

Is she even in a game?

The world of DREAMSCAPE sure is interesting, but it is absolutely not what I expected. When Alexis first gets sucked in, we are presented a world that is more reminiscent of your average high fantasy novel than a video game. The aesthetics of a pixelated game are just missing and exchanged for real life people and objects. 
It doesn't feel at all like she's even in a game, maybe sucked into a very unoriginal medieval world instead. I missed all the little nods to pop culture that I loved so much about READY PLAYER ONE, and found it absolutely strange that Alexis didn't show recognition or fascination with anything that was happening, considering that she actually landed right in her favorite game.

Unoriginal High Fantasy Setting

The main quest of DREAMSCAPE is for Alexis to rescue Queen Elin, because she is immediately recognized as one of the Golden Heroes of the game. Until that plot line even begins, we are presented with lots of filler as opportunities to showcase the world, which just isn't original at all. I might as well could have read any medieval-inspired high fantasy novel and exchanged it for this one, it's full of cliches and at no point surprised me with its world-building. 

The perk of this way of storytelling is simply that it kept me going. I wanted to see whether it would get better, was desperately waiting for a fun twist that would make this original and unique that just didn't come.
DREAMSCAPE wasn't really what I expected, which doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad novel. The voice is extraordinary believable for a teen girl, Alexis is a fun character to read about and the writing absolutely matches the pace of the story. It just wasn't for me, because I wasn't expecting a generic high fantasy story.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you were interested in this because you were hoping to find a book that's similar to READY PLAYER ONE, I'll have to disappoint you. DREAMSCAPE is a very unoriginal novel about a fantasy world instead of a fast-paced Sci-Fi adventure.



Additional Info

Published: April 12th 2015
Pages: 348
Publisher: Createspace 
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Virtual Reality
ISBN: 9781507726921

Synopsis:
"Sixteen-year-old Alexis Stone is used to getting away from life’s frustration with Dreamscape, a video game she's loved since childhood. As her family prepares to move, a sleepy night of gaming pulls her into the world like never before. Trapped in Dreamscape’s realm, Alex is about to learn that being a hero has consequences… and this time, the stakes are deadly. Will helping the rebellion cost her everything she knows and loves? Or will she betray them to save her own life?"
(Source: Goodreads)

Do you have any recommendations for books set in a virtual reality scenario?

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

[Review] Faith, Vol. 1: Hollywood and Vine - Jody Houser: Fat Superhero to the Rescue!






In FAITH, somebody is hunting down future superheroes and Faith, telekinetic fat superhero at your service, is determined to find out what's going on.

What intrigued me: I've seen FAITH around on tumblr and have been excited to read this for a while.

Original, full of representation, and fun

This is such a wonderful feel-good read. It's about time that we get a fat superhero whose story isn't about their weight, but about being just as awesome as all other superheroes out there! FAITH does exactly that, tells the story of "psiot" superhero Faith (or her alter ego Zephyr) who works part-time in journalism and part time solves crime. What initially doesn't sound that innovative is absolutely compensated by the storyline, art work, and insanely fun protagonist.

What makes FAITH stand out isn't necessarily the looks of the heroine, but more what's inside. I'd even go as far as to say that you don't even need to like superheros to enjoy FAITH. There is little fighting and solving crime in this, but lots of little pop culture references and fun design choices. And Faith herself is desperately loveable. Aside from Faith, the side characters are ethnically diverse, and just giving this overall a very realistic feel that always enriches every comic book.

I thoroughly enjoyed Faith's super funny, poignant, and absolutely spot-on narration that just spices everything up immensely. I love how smartly her thoughts are integrated into the story to introduce characters and give background information, so that I hardly had problems understanding what was going on, which is so often by biggest criticism with graphic novels and comics. 

Alternate drawing styles and fun daydream sequences

The absolute highlight of this comic collection are the fun design choices. 
 FAITH sometimes takes a break from the undoubtedly very heavy and depressing main story line about psiots getting abducted, and it just works. From alternate day dream worlds doodled in candy pastel colors to the dark green-tinted and shadowed side plot featuring imprisoned psiots, it never gets boring.

It's never cheesy or inappropriate, it's funny every time to read about Faith's daydreams involving her favorite celebrity falling in love with her.

You won't find any repetitive panels in this, FAITH absolutely convinced with originality in plot, design, and message. 




Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely. I will definitely recommend this and be on the look out for future issues, because I cannot wait to read more about Faith and the psiots! Zephyr is truly the original, fun, and body-positive superhero that was missing in the genre.



Additional Info

Published: July 26th 2016
Pages: 112
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment LLC
Genre: Adult / Paranormal / Superheroes
ISBN: 9781682151211

Synopsis:
"ALIANT'S MOST DEMANDED HERO STEPS OUT OF HARBINGER AND INTO AN ALL-NEW ADVENTURE! 
Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert - a psionically gifted "psiot" discovered by the Harbinger Foundation - has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she's always known she can be - complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would When she's not typing up listicles about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels' own leading superhero - the sky-soaring Zephyr! 
But flying solo is going to be tougher than she ever thought when Zephyr uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off an full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head or ready for her biggest challenge yet? "(Source: Goodreads)

Do you like superheroes?

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

[Review] Golem - Lorenzo Ceccotti: Italy, Miyazaki, and Conspiracies





In GOLEM, Steno accidentally gets involved in a political uprising in a futuristic Italy.

What intrigued me: The description mostly, though the cover promises a unique art style, which I'm always a fan of!

Miyazaki meets Dystopia

GOLEM is a brick of a comic book. With a whopping 280 pages, I had high expectations, was hoping for a complicated plot with strong world building and great characters. Well. I only got one of these. The world of GOLEM is surely interesting, it looks like a mix between something out of a Miyazaki movie mixed with neon colors and your typical dystopian dark atmosphere. 

GOLEM tries really hard to be different, which is sadly only reflected in the art style and not really in the originality of the story. It tries very hard to be an edgy story that conveys social critique, but really can't deliver. It's just awkward to read because the basics of storytelling, the frame, is missing.

The world that GOLEM presents mainly consists of every dystopia stereotype ever, mixed with complicated names for everything to pose for further world building. The action scenes are downright horrendous to make sense of. 

More art than comic?

Sometimes the panels shift to other charcters' perspectives that don't even get introduced. Random people that just enter the story and it's just a confusing mix of arms and legs and faces. 
Sure, it's art, it's pretty to look at, but GOLEM really would have benefited from trying to stop being a piece of art and really going more intro the storytelling direction. 

Because like this, I didn't care about the protagonist Steno, without any narration from him, why would I want to read a 300 page comic? There are so many full-page illustrations that are absolutely redundant to the story, almost blacked out pages that would maybe look great as a painting on a wall, but absolutely don't work in the comic. 

The whole look of the comic is very experimental, from the traditional paneled look to overlapping images, whole-page illustrations that look like they've been painted with a chunky brush. GOLEM is surely more art than novel and I had the feeling that it didn't really try to tell a coherent story. The basis is there, we have a somewhat intriguing world with an average conspiracy plot and there weren't too many characters to confuse them all. Sometimes it didn't even need words to help you understand what was going on, but I never really had the impression that I was reading a coherent story. 




Rating:

☆☆

Overall: Do I Recommend?

GOLEM just isn't for me. It needed about 120 pages for me to even have the world established enough to get anything was happening and after that it almost became a chore to finish this. GOLEM is more art than novel, and it definitely reads like this. Have you ever tried to read a painting?


Additional Info

Published: July 12th 2016
Pages: 280
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Genre: YA / Dystopian

Synopsis:
"Set in a future, post-Eurozone Italy, entrenched in a culture of hyper-capitalism, GOLEM follows young Steno Critone as he is kidnapped during a political protest gone sour. Taken in by the band of labeled “terrorists,” he learns that things are not as they seem in society, and that he has the power to not only change the city, but reality itself.

This intensely imaginative political-sci-fi graphic novel is a visual tour de force, created by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Ceccotti, better known as LRNZ, whose design-influenced illustration provides a lush, fluid backdrop of manga-like dynamism with the cinematic scope of western comics, creating a style that is wholly unique and absolutely breathtaking."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite dystopian comic?

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