Category Archives: Mini Review

Mini Review: I Hate Everyone, but You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

ihateeveryonebutyouThis book was ANNOYING!! Is it normal in teen friendships for one friend to be mostly terrible and one to be mostly great and for an outside observer (or reader in this case) to root for the two to stay friends? I think not. Instead of encouraging these two misfit friends to grow with other friends who align more with their interests, we see the two main characters (Aza and Gen) repeatedly force themselves to continue being friends with their closest friend from high school. While hints about this not being the best friendship came up a few times, I would have liked the toxicity of the friendship to have directly been addressed instead of slightly implied and magically resolved so that people reading this novel don’t think that represents a normal, healthy friendship that they should continue to contribute to.

I laughed a lot with Gen’s dialogue and found her to be a pretty enjoyable character that I would’ve liked to have seen in a different story. I really liked the novel format of the book, which is entirely consists of relayed emails and text messages. I really loved the concept of two high school best friends who are navigating the friendship growing pains of each friend individually going in a different direction, but I did not like the execution of this book at all. The two authors are pretty famous on the internet, particularly YouTube, but I was unfamiliar with them before I had read the book so my impressions of them didn’t make me read this with rose-colored lenses. The main characters also both have names that begin with the same letters as the authors’ names… make of that what you will.

 

Publication Date: 5 September 2017 by Wednesday BooksFormat: Hardcover.

Author: Gaby Dunn YouTube/@twitter/@instagram and Allison Raskin YouTube/@twitter/@instagram

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Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Volume 1: Hooked On A Feline by Kate Leth

hellcatOne of my besties scooped this up on a holiday trip and I snuck it in between other reads. I’m not really a comics person and I never would’ve picked this up myself, but I did like this and laughed a few times while reading it. It’s a very self-aware, cheeky, and sweet story, composed of the first 6 issues of this version of Hellcat. You don’t need to know much about the Marvel universe to be able to dive into this, which I appreciated. The story follows a superhero whose teen years were made famous after her mother published stories about them. In between those teen years and now, some ~very bad things~ happened to the protagonist, which are alluded to frequently, as she tries to put her past behind her and just live as a super human who is also trying to lead a normal life. The artist switched from Brittney Williams (#1-5) to Natasha Allegri (#6) and unfortunately that negatively altered the tone for me. The new artist’s style depicted Hellcat and all of her accomplices as more childish which made me feel like they were much younger than they had been established to be in the first set of issues. I probably wouldn’t seek out more issues on my own, but I did enjoy this as a light vacation read.

Publication Date: 5 July 2016 by Marvel. Format: Paperback.

Writer: Kate Leth web/@twitter/tumblr/@instagram

Artist (#1-5): Brittney Williams @twitter/web

Artist (#6): Natasha Allegri @twitter/tumblr

Mini Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

squirrelseekschipmunkI scooped this up from a library $1/book sale, having no idea about the contents, but knowing I mildly enjoyed Sedaris and had an affinity for squirrels and chipmunks and woodland creatures. I thought this would be more like Sedaris’s other works instead of aged up woodland tales that were vulgar and not humorous. The only thing this collection of vile mini stories has going for it is that it was a very quick read and I finished it in only 4 bus rides.

The best story within the collection was The Grieving Owl, which was the very last in the collection. I’m not sure I would’ve even liked the story if it had been featured in a collection I actually enjoyed though.

I clearly don’t recommend reading this. I feel kind of sorry for whoever picks this up from my nearest Little Free Library under the same guise that compelled me to read the collection.

Mini Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.34.17 PMLandline, which is not the material that the new movie featuring Jenny Slate is based upon, felt like a romantic comedy film in book form. The storyline revolves around a landline that permits the main character to communicate with her spouse in a slightly mystical way that isn’t feasible otherwise. She communicates about her problems with her life, her relationship, and her general aura of lostness at her current point in life (mom, two kids, married, successful television writing career). The novel was sugary sweet and I found it to be a tad superficial with the problems of the main characters (in comparison to the other books I tend to gravitate toward anyway), almost like it skims the top of the feelings/emotions/situations I wish were explored more. However, this dosage is probably before for a lot of people — I’m just not the perfect patron.

That said, would I pick up one of Rowell’s novels when I was seeking a book that wouldn’t make me dive too deep into my own head or feel too many things? Probably. My boyfriend is convinced I’ll enjoy Fangirl, so that’ll probably be the one I give a shot next.

Mini Review: Do What You Want by Ruby Tandoh and Leah Pritchard

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 5.15.45 PMI had to stop all of my plans the day I was reading this because this was SO GOOD, but it also made me want to collapse into a puddle of tears. Reading about other people’s mental health always makes me feel some type of way — comforted by feeling seen through shared experiences but shattered that so many people have these same experiences and feelings. That said, it was great to see a range of different types of mental health covered (in addition to the heavily talked about depression and anxiety), along with the factors that can contribute to issues developing and the aftermath that can be caused after issues emerge. This is primarily a zine (though can it technically be a zine if it has a ISBN number?) about mental health with a few recipes sprinkled throughout, contrary to my friend’s and my belief that it would be an equally balanced food and mind zine since one of the editors is Great British Bake Off‘s Ruby Tandoh.

Coffee in the photo is courtesy of Chicago’s Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits and will be included in a future coffee review post of all of the coffee beans I’ve tried for my cold brew creations.

Mini Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Volume 1: The Crucible

chillingadventuresofsabrinaI thought I really liked Afterlife with Archie until I read this volume of Sabrina’s adventures. I liked the bits of Sabrina that were filtered into Afterlife and I LOVED this tome entirely about the Spellman family (yep, the same family you know and maybe aspired to be a part of if you were a witchy child like me when watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch). It’s a dark, bloody, sexy, and twisted take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Childhood Bri couldn’t have handled it, but Current Bri couldn’t get enough. I devoured this first chunk of unpredictable stories and can’t wait to see what comes next in Volume 2.

Mini Review: Afterlife with Archie, Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale

afterlifewitharchieI snapped this little number up from The Strand after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day as a quick, colorful read that would distract me from my nightmare day. It achieved its goal!! Huzzah! I’m relatively new to the world of comics so take my review for this with a grain of salt, but I thought it was a well constructed — particularly the scene that involves Archie and his father (woof! that blew me away!). I never would’ve picked this up if I wasn’t Riverdale trash and looking for hints about where the plot line might go, seeing as how Riverdale’s showrunner is also the writer of this series. That said, I found Sabrina’s story in the very first few pages to tug at my mind strings a bit more than the Archie characters so I guess I’ll have to scoop up The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in the soon-ish future. I’ll probably keep reading this as the volumes continue to be released, but don’t really recommend it to people outside of the communal Riverdale trash heap.