Mini-Reviews, Volume 4

A while back I was really into webtoons, and before that I read mostly manga; though I currently read mostly traditional novels, I remain interested in more visual forms of storytelling. So naturally I jumped at the opportunity to check out these diverse works, many of them by #ownvoices creators!

I received these comics as digital review copies from the publisher, Queerwebcomic; all opinions expressed are my own and honest.

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Mini Reviews, Volume 1

I’d originally intended to cross-post most, if not all, of my book reviews from Goodreads, but there are some books where I didn’t have much to say and/or didn’t want to devote a whole post to them. Or, in today’s case, I didn’t want to clutter up my 2019 schedule with a bunch of reviews from 2018, so I’ve grouped a bunch of them together here.

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REVIEW: Ragnarok Unwound by Kristin Jacques

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Summary: Prophecies don’t untangle themselves.

Just ask Ikepela Ives, whose estranged mother left her with the power to unravel the binding threads of fate. Stuck with immortal power in a mortal body, Ives has turned her back on the duty she never wanted. 

But it turns out she can’t run from her fate forever, not now that Ragnarok has been set in motion and the god at the center of that tangled mess has gone missing. With a ragtag group of companions — including a brownie, a Valkyrie, and the goddess of death herself — Ives embarks on her first official mission as Fate Cipher — to save the world from doomsday.

Nothing she can’t handle. Right?

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REVIEW: I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen

I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and received a review copy from the author. This does not affect my rating or opinions.

Summary: What if making one tweak to your day-to-day conversations could immediately improve every relationship in your life? In this 3-hour, conversational read, you’ll discover the whats, whys, and hows of one of the most valuable (yet surprisingly little-known) communication skills — validation. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, navigate difficult conversations at work, or connect on a deeper level with friends and family, this book delivers simple, practical, proven techniques for improving any relationship in your life. 

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REVIEW: A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Summary: March, 1945. The ravaged face of London will soon be painted with victory, but for Sylvie the private battle for peace is only just beginning. Revealing strength and small acts of kindness in the most unlikely places, A Small Dark Quiet looks through the eyes of a mother as she finds the courage to face loss – both her own, and that of the orphan born in a concentration camp whom she and her husband, Gerald, adopt two years later.

Haunted by the gaps in the orphan’s history, Sylvie begins to draw him into parallel with her dead child. When she gives the orphan the stillborn child’s name, Arthur, she unwittingly entangles him in a grief he will never be able to console. His name has been erased, his origins merely guessed at, but the trauma Arthur carries begins to release itself in nightmares, merging into the story he has been told about the dead child whose life he is expected to step into.

Having internalized the sense that he is an imposter, Arthur’s yearning for a place where he might be accepted is echoed in our own time. Striking, too, are the resonances that can be felt through Arthur’s journey as the novel unfolds over the next twenty years: the past he can neither recall nor forget lives on within him even as he strives to forge a life for himself. Identity and belonging may be elusive, but the pulse of survival insists he keeps searching and, as he opens himself to the world around him, there are flashes of just how resilient the human heart can be.

As part of this process, Arthur comes to understand that he is Jewish, yet he fears what this might entail – could this be an identity or will it only make him more of an outsider? He’s threatened with being sent back where he belongs – but no one can tell him where this is; he learns all about ‘that other little Arthur’, yearning both to become him and to free himself from his ghost. He can neither fit the shape of the life that has been lost nor grow into the one his adopted father has carved out for him.

Through Sylvie’s unprocessed grief and Arthur’s acute sense of displacement, A Small Dark Quiet explores how the compulsion to fill the empty space that death leaves can, ultimately, only make the sense of such a devastating void more acute. Yet the search to belong and the instinct to love and connect persists in this story of loss, migration and the ways in which we find ourselves caught between the need to feel safe and the will to be free

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