“Kindred Spirits” by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred Spirits(Author: Rainbow Rowell) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I usually like Rainbow Rowell’s books, but this small novel was not my cup of tea.

For starters, the story of Kindred Spirits was rather unusual for me. I’ve never been big enough of a fan of anything to wait in a line for days to see it. As a matter of fact, this line culture doesn’t exist in my country at all and people almost never go that crazy over the things they like.

As an outsider to American culture, I would say that it’s something very specific to America to reach this level of admiration towards some aspect of pop culture. To me, that seems rather excessive. Of course, all over the world, there are people who are fans of, or even completely obsessed with something. However, I don’t think it exists as a group behavior on so high of a level.

On the book itself, it was too short to really start caring about the characters. They didn’t have enough time to have fully developed personalities and their back stories were lacking, as well. Mainly, two sides were told of the same story and it was rather hard to choose which one to believe, because basically the two main characters had completely opposite views.

What I liked about the book was the snappy humor. The one-liners were pretty good and very, very dorky, which I fully support.

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“A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove(Author: Fredrik Backman) + (Year: 2012) + (Goodreads)

(Around the World: Sweden)


Review:

“And this is why a cat, and overweight allergy sufferer, a bent person, and a man called Ove make the inspection round that morning.”

A Man Called Ove is quite possibly the best and most heartfelt book I have read this year. I had no idea what to expect, so I kind of imagined some psychological thriller or something, as that is most of the Scandinavian literature I have read. Not at all.

A Man Called Ove told the story of a seemingly grumpy and mean old guy, who turns out to be a kind and gentle man, hardened by life.

I both laughed and cried while reading this book, sometimes even both at once. Every chapter was one little fairytale out of the life of Ove, and all of them told the story of life, love and loss. All of the characters were so endearing and different, each on their own. Among all of those, Ove, being the main character, inevitably stood out as the heart of the book, the core of the events, and also the soul of his little community. I found him funny while he was just a grumpy old fart, and then I loved him as who he really turned out to be.

Both the humor and the story were absolutely fantastic. They were simple, but enticing. And more than anything, they rang as very true and sincere. Ove was both a borderline superhero, and just a man who did his best and expected the same from the world. His story had a lesson, the one about the Saabs and the Volvos, about the struggle to do better and be better, to give the little that to you have to the people who have nothing; about time and the power of people to survive and thrive, despite everything.

“And time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reacher when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories, perhaps.”

 

“Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care” by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don't Care(Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)


Review:

To say that I didn’t love this volume would be a lie. I don’t even think I’ve experienced such anticipation and excitement to get my hands on a comic book volume. And Snotgirl managed to deliver.

It’s safe to say now that I am a huge Bryan Lee O’Malley fangirl. His humor and satire are so on point, both here and in Scott Pilgrim. He manages to catch the gist of an entire generation and twist it up in such a way that you find it both funny and endearing, and, at the same time, you know what he is criticizing.

In Snotgirl, Lottie Person is very relevant to our daily experiences. She represents a huge percentage of the girls nowadays: those who are actually Lottie’s, those who want to be Lottie’s, and those who stalk Lottie’s on social media and both see through them and still find them entertaining. I’m pretty sure I fall into the last group, considering that I follow a bunch of beauty and travel bloggers on Instagram, just to find myself sometimes annoyed by how fake everything looks, and at the same time, to “Awww” at pictures of their cute purse-sized doggies and to take fashion advice. So when I say that I feel that this comic book is relevant, I’m convinced it is.

Lottie as a human being is a hot mess of bullshit. She reflects perfectly the fact that outward beauty can sometimes greatly overshadow the need to actually be kind, nice, or at least… “real”. I personally know people who appear as the nicest, most positive and fun people to be around. But once the phone is locked and no one is recording for Snapchat, they don’t really have much to say and the smiles have been used up for dog filters.

At the same time, Lottie is completely smitten with herself, with her problems, her needs, her obsessions, and she is greatly out of touch with the world. Contrary to what might come to mind from the title (at least it did for me), she is not a superhero. However, she is superweird. There’s still a lot that I want to learn about her and about her issues, so hopefully another volume is to come.

The secondary characters in Snotgirl are also very fun, my favourite being Coolgirl. Still, I think that Cutegirl was also hilarious, and although I didn’t like her as a person, I loved reading her mean humor.

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The best thing about this comic book, however, is the art. Both the illustrator, Leslie Hung, and the colorist, Mickey Quinn, did a fantastic job and it was a true pleasure to just stare at the pictures and drool. In fact… I’m pretty sure that the moment I find a proper quality picture of Lottie, I’m changing my phone background.

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Looking forward to Vol. 2!

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Good question, sister.

“Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain” by Chelsea Cain

Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain(Author: Chelsea Cain) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Do you know what the best thing about Mockingbird is? It’s just awesome. That’s it. Literally.

I feel like this series is entirely too underrated. I know that it has been gaining popularity. But still, by no means is Mockingbird one of the characters that you would think of if someone put the words “badass, “female”, “Marvel”, and “character” together in a sentence. And that would be sad.

Bobbi is, quite simply put, a hero that I would aspire to be like. And by that I mean sarcastic. The thing about her is that as much as she kicks ass and saves the world, she does it with humor, a sense of irony, and so much sarcasm. She is fantastic. True, she goes crazy, but so do all of us. That’s why I find her so easy to relate to. She is basically all of us, those who have ever wanted to be superheroes, but never really got the hang of it. Except that she did, which is what makes her the centerpiece of this entire review, obviously. And most of all, her Corgis. Everywhere. It’s a series about a Corgi queen. I kid you not. On second thought, maybe that’s why I can relate to Bobbi. I dream of having my own Corgi army.

Additionally, I loved the art of the first few issues of Mockingbird. Just as they ruined the Batgirl art for me, there came Mockingbird, which was just as awesome. I found everything about the art very pretty, yet simple, yet funny and full of hilarious little details, familiar faces, and Easter eggs. What more could one want? For them not to ruin it? Oh, oops, they did. I didn’t really like the last part of the volume. Uh…

I am not giving this volume the full 5 stars because as good as each issue was as a singular entity of sorts, the story didn’t add up to enough for me to be in awe. Sure, it was overall alright. Very much so. But I expected more. A bigger conclusion, as far as one would go for a first volume. I was left going “Now it’s coming… Any moment now… Yep, this is it… Um?”

That’s not to say that I’m not going to continue reading on. Quite the opposite.

P.S. In case you are wondering about how close this Bobbi is to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi, not that much, for me. This one is much better.Look-wise? Yeah, Adrianne Palicki NAILED IT.

“Sex Criminals, Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop” by Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky

Sex Criminals, Volume 2: Two Worlds, One Cop(Author: Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I liked this volume a lot!

The previous one was centered around Suzie much more than it was around Jon. And I liked her a lot, while my feelings towards him were very ambiguous. Especially between him as she sees him, and him as he is.

In Volume 2, however, we had the opportunity to spend more time with the “real” Jon, and I started warming up to him more. I enjoyed the first issue of the volume a lot, because it showed his own struggle, his attempts to be “normal”, his desire to do so, for her, if not for himself.

Which of course led to a lot of ups and downs in their relationship, which, I guess, is pretty normal. And I also liked that the authors were very persistent in their storytelling. A worse writer would have idealized Suzie and Jon’s relationship now that they have found each other. Instead, the two characters stayed themselves. Suzie was described as… let’s call it frivolous, in her sex life, prior to meeting Jon, and here we saw her struggles to abstain from other men. Especially Robert Rainbow, whom I actually liked a lot.

However, my most beloved character of this volume was undoubtedly Jazmine St. Cocaine. She was a fantastic comic relief and a nice breath of fresh air among the inner struggles of Suzie and Jon, their relationship trouble, and their attempts of escaping Kegelface. Not to mention The Wicked + the Divine porn version, which was absolutely brilliant and I’m so glad I read that one first, because it made the Sex Criminals issue even better.

I’m really excited about reading the next volume of the story and seeing how everything unravels!

P.S. If there is one thing I would change about the art, it’s Jon’s nose. Nothing has ever been as unnecessary and as distracting.

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