Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Graphic Novels With Latinx Main Character/s

I was talking to Naz @ Read Diverse Books the other day, and we kind of had a lightbulb-type moment.

We both love graphic novels, and Naz was interested in reading graphic novels with Latinx main characters.

If you've read this blog before, you'll be aware that I'm a complete comics/superheroes/graphic novels nerd... but we struggled to think of any.






Now, as the major English-language graphic novel publishers are American, you'd think that there would be a little more Latinx representation then there currently is.

Still, I was sure that Latinx main characters must exist out there somewhere - so decided to track them down.
















After a lot of research and much SCREAMING AT THE DAMNED COMPUTER, these are the books I could find (I have no idea whether they're any good, but I found them dammit!):








Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

The first of two sets of brothers on this list, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are from São Paulo, Brazil.

Gabriel Bá is also the artist on Gerard Way's Umbrella Academy (I love that series! SO BAD!) So you can be damn sure that these books are now on my TBR.




-Daytripper

Brás de Oliva Domingos is the child of a famous Brazilian author, he dreams of being one himself, but is stuck writing the obituaries of famous people.

Goodreads describes this as  'a magical, mysterious and moving story about life itself.'

Amazon: UK - US


- De:Tales : Stories from Urban Brazil

These are short stories told in comics form - and according to Goodreads are 'Brimming with all the details of human life, their charming tales move from the urban reality of their home in São Paulo to the magical realism of [the authors'] Latin American background.'

Amazon: UK - US

















The Hernandez brothers

Gilbert, Mario, and Jaime Hernandez seem to be the veterans of USA Latinx graphic novels, and have literally decades of work under their belts.




-Love and Rockets

This is a series about (according to our old pal Goodreads) 'three Southern California Mexican-Americans armed with a passion for pop culture and punk rock' which started in the 80s, going on to span many volumes and spin-offs.

(Seriously, I think it's possible to read nothing but this series, and it's related series, for the rest of your life.)

The first volume is 'Music for Mechanics.'

Amazon: UK - US








Marble Season

By Gilbert Hernandez, one of the above creators of Love and Rockets, this is a coming-of-age story about Latinx brothers growing up in 1960s America.


Amazon: UK - US















Julio's Day

A sort-of spin-off from Love and Rockets, Julio's Day is a stand-alone graphic novel from Gilbert Hernandez which shares some of the settings and themes of the Love and Rockets world.

Julio's Day follows Julio from his birth in 1900 to his death in 2000 - 100 years over 100 pages (and yes, I've totally added this to my TBR.)

Amazon: UK - US







Roller Girl

This an 'all-ages' (i.e. kids & people (like yours truly,) who are not ashamed to read kids' books,) graphic novel about Astrid Vasquez, a 12-year-old who has always done everything with her BFF Nicole.

So when Astrid signs up for roller derby summer camp, she figures Nicole will too - except Nicole goes to dance camp with another friend. What will roller derby camp be like on her own?

Amazon: UK - US








City of Clowns

This is a graphic novel version of Daniel Alarcón's story of the same name.

Our protagonist here is Oscar 'Chino' Uribe - a Peruvian journalist who begins documenting the lives of Lima's street clowns, while coming to terms with the realities of his late father's life.

Amazon: UK - US













Anita Blake

This is a graphic-novel-fication (shhh! It's a word now!) of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton.

Anita is half-Mexican on her mother's side, and is generally pretty awesome. The first volume (like the first novel) is Guilty Pleasures.

Amazon: UK - US






Mi Barrio

This is entrepreneur Robert Renteria's graphic memoir of growing up in LA, based on his prose memoir 'From the Barrio to the Board Room.'

Amazon: UK - US





Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker

This is a biography in graphic novel form, telling the story of Benjy Melendez - a Bronx gang-leader from the 1960s who led the Ghetto Brothers. This is the story of a gang that promoted peace, instead of violence, and managed to bring a gang truce to their area.

I've added this to my own TBR, because the more I read about it, the more I wanted to know!

Amazon: UK - US












Exilia The Invisible Path Book 1

The only graphic novel by Cecilia Pego which I could find in English, Goodreads describes this as a 'dark fantasy and mystical thriller graphic novel saga, originally crafted in ink, watercolor and oil painting.'

It features Exilia - who is apparently expelled from her convent and ends up in a post-apocalyptic quest (as we've all done, at some point in our lives...)

Amazon: UK - US







Ghosts

This is a brand-spanking new all-ages (kids) graphic novel from Raina Telgemeier about two sisters - Catrina and Maya - who move to the coastal Bahía de la Luna because the coastal air is better for Maya's cystic fibrosis.

But Bahía de la Luna has a secret - it's a town full of ghosts. Maya really want to see one. Catrina? Not so much.

Amazon: UK - US


















Mr Mendoza's Paintbrush

Originally a short story, this graphic novel adaptation is about Mr Mendoza - the resident famous graffiti artist of Rosario, Mexico.

The residents of Rosario have a variety of opinions on Mr Mendoza and his satirical art, but rumours and speculation start to fly when a message is painted on the side of a pig: 'Mendoza goes to heaven on Tuesday.'

Amazon: UK - US















Awkward

This was actually already on my TBR. Another 'all-ages' title, this features young protagonist Penelope Torres - known as Peppi.

Peppi has just arrived at a new middle school, she has 2 cardinal rules for survival: don't get noticed by the mean kids, and join groups with similar interests to her own.

But a chance run-in with quiet Jaime Thompson leaves the mean kids calling her 'nerder girlfriend,' and instead of ignoring them, she treats Jaime very badly...

Amazon: UK - US

















Superheroes

You know I like me some powers and capes, so I had to find some Latinx superheroes for this list.

It was more difficult than it should've been - especially since Latinx characters, where they exist, seem to be part of superhero team rather than having their own titles.

I wanted to go with title-characters because there's a guarantee that their story will take centre stage and not be eclipsed by others.

I did find some, so take a look:






Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)

This is a DC series about teenager Jaime Reyes who has the powers imbued by a mystical Blue Beetle scarab. (Yeah... just go with it.)

This is technically a legacy character - i.e. another individual has taken up the mantle of a previous superhero - but there are very few people who remember the original 1930/40s character.

The modern Blue Beetle books start with the 2006 run - Vol 1, Shellshocked.

Amazon: UK - US
















Araña/Arana (Anya Corazon)

Meet Anya, a Marvel Latinx Spider-Girl who goes by the name of either Araña or Arana. In all honesty, this one was a surprise to yours truly - I'd never heard of her. Ever.

I don't know whether this is Earth-616 (the main universe/timeline for Marvel) or an alternate universe or timeline (there are a lot of them - hence the requirement to number them.)

The only book I could find for Anya was Arana Volume 1: The Heart of a Spider from 2005.

Amazon: UK - US







Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

The Spider-Man of the 'Ultimate' universe (Marvel - multiple universes, gotta love 'em. So many Spideys that it's now known as the Spider-Verse. #TrueStory,) is Miles Morales - a black-Latinx teenager.

This is usually a Brian Michael Bendis (BMB) title, which y'know, usually means pretty good quality. I was disappointed by the small rant against diversity fans earlier this year though :/ I expect better of BMB.

I recommend starting with Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man: Volume 1: Revival (Man, that's a long title!) because previous books in the ultimate series are kind of leading from the Peter Parker of that universe to Miles Morales, so there's crossover (as far as I understand it; really Marvel, if we could stop labelling everything as #1? That would be handy.)

(Yes, Miles Morales - one of the poster-boys for Marvel diversity - is both alternate universe AND a legacy character. Sigh.)

Amazon: UK - US















Nova (Sam Alexander)

Another legacy (i.e. takes up the name of a previous hero,) character, Nova is a dude who flies through space - often with the Guardians of the Galaxy - and also has his own title-series.

You can check him out in Nova, Vol 1: Origin.

Amazon: UK - US





















Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes)

Yet another legacy character (but, y'know, being the Ghost Rider is basically just being the vessel of the Power of Vengeance, so I suppose that makes more sense,) Robbie Reyes' stint as Ghost Rider began in 2013/2014.

His title-series run begins with All-New Ghost Rider, Vol 1: Engines of Vengeance.

Amazon: UK - US








Vibe (Cisco Ramon)








Played by the amazing Carlos Valdes (I love him!) in the CW series The Flash, Vibe was also given his own DC comics title-series which so far only has one volume - Justice League of America's Vibe, Vol 1: The Breach.

Vibe uses vibrations and inter-dimensional physics to see through alternate universes and timelines (a handy talent in the comics world, let's face it,) and also to move objects, 'blast' stuff, and levitate.

Amazon: UK - US














Coming Up...

There's more good news for graphic novel fans later this year -

La Borinqueña, a new Marvel heroine, will be making her debut in November.

Bread and Butter (issue #1) by Liz Mayorga will also be out later this year (and yours truly will be doing a mini-review.)

And there's an anthology (La Raza Anthology) on Kickstarter which promises great things :)





Ok, my dearest nerdlets, I'm going to go take a long lie down now because you wouldn't believe how long this post took me... phew!




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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Month in Review(s) - May 2016

And so another month is well on its way to faffing off into the sunset.









I actually haven't reviewed any graphic novels this month (I know - who am, and what have I done with Cee?)

I'm probably making up for last month, which had graphic novels falling from the ever-loving rafters.

I've been on a bit of a contemporary YA binge lately - which led to me reviewing 3 contemporary YA titles this month.

'The Art of Being Normal' was beautiful, 'One' was unique, and 'Boy Meets Boy' was your favourite rom-com in book form.






My stand-out book this month, though? 'Swan Boy.' Wow. Just wow.





Kids




Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan - Contemporary, Magic Realism








Young Adult



The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson - Contemporary, LGBTQ+
One by Sarah Crossan - Contemporary, Poetry* (*novel in verse)
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance (M/M)









Adult




alt. sherlock. holmes - Anthology, Novellas/Short Stories, Crime, Contemporary*, Historical Fiction*, LGBTQ+* M/M* (*one or more stories.)







Non-fiction




Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig





Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Review! (Yay!) - alt.sherlock.holmes

Title: alt.sherlock.holmes

Author: Gini Koch, Jamie Wyman, Glen Mehn

Genre: Anthology, Novellas/Short Stories, Crime, Contemporary*, Historical Fiction*, LGBTQ+*, M/M* (*one or more stories.)

Amazon: UK - USA



Individual Novellas:

The Case of the Tattoed Bride (UK - US)
A Study in Starlets (UK - US)
The Power of Media (UK - US)





A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley from the publishers Abaddon, an imprint of Rebellion. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
I'm a fan of pretty much anything Sherlock-Holmes-related, so when I got the chance to read this collection of alternative takes on Holmes & Watson, I was there.




Premise:


A Scandal in Hobohemia (and) The Case of the Tattooed Bride by Jamie Wyman
 
Sanford 'Crash' Haus (this story's version of Sherlock,) is the owner of a travelling carnival in 1930s dustbowl-America.
Fate throws him together with Jim Walker (John Watson,) a black amputee war-veteran, who also happens to be one hell of a doctor.




All the Single Ladies (and) A Study in Starlets by Gini Koch
Murder and reality shows bring together Dr John Watson with Ms Sherlock Holmes, a consulting detective with the LAPD.
Will Southern California ever be the same?






Half There/All There (and) The Power of Media by Glen Mehn


This Sherlock is hanging out with some very interesting people - Andy Warhol's hangers-on, to be exact, and their drug-dealer, Dr John 'Doc' Watson.

But Sherlock is bored - and decides to find some cases to occupy his time. 




Best bits:

A Scandal in Hobohemia (and) The Case of the Tattooed Bride by Jamie Wyman

I really loved the romance between Jim Walker (this story's John Watson,) and Mrs Hudson - it was sweet but not overly, and gave a nice sub-plot to the whole thing.

I also liked that Jim was a black man in 1930s America - along with all the prejudice that comes with that, despite being a wounded war veteran.

Jim's the narrator here, and never lets himself be pigeon-holed as a victim.

I also love the careful balance of the PTSD elements - a realistic struggle, but not something which overwhelms Jim's whole life.

The 1930s circus/carnival (not entirely sure which,) setting gave it all a slightly Carnevale (UK - US) vibe, which I kind of loved.






All the Single Ladies (and) A Study in Starlets by Gini Koch

I think this was the scenario where Sherlock seemed most like Sherlock - despite being a woman instead of the traditional male role.

She's clever, cutting, but also occasionally playful.

She has a strong edge to her which just spoke totally of Sherlock Holmes to me - determined and non-nonsense; as far as I'm concerned she rocks.

I liked the part-showbiz setting, and the title of 'A Study in Starlets,' is just fantastic ;)



Half There/All There (and) The Power of Media by Glen Mehn

I really liked the prose here in particular - it was incredibly well-written and was quite beautiful in places.

I also loved the Holmes/Watson relationship dynamic here - totally made sense, and was believable and sweet t'boot :)

Plus there was always the sense that everything interweaved with everything else in this one, even if not directly, which gave it a really unique vibe.

Hard to explain it really, but I liked it, whatever it was.

I liked that this novella tried to deal with the racial tensions, and the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people in the 1960s - unfortunately it maybe didn't always get the balance right.




Not so great bits:

There's various instances of violence and swearing throughout the collection, which won't be to everyone's taste.



A Scandal in Hobohemia (and) The Case of the Tattooed Bride by Jamie Wyman

There were moments when I felt that things just didn't quite gel together with this take on Holmes.

I'm not sure why exactly - maybe it was just trying to achieve too much in too short a time, but this made it seem a little jumpy and incoherent in places.

Also, it kept switching from a circus to a carnival, and I'm like: which is it?!

I felt like maybe we could've done with a stronger show of Sanford (this version's Sherlock,) or 'Crash,' and his general character.

He didn't seem all that detailed, character-wise, and, to me at least, I would've liked some more depth.

That's a personal thing though, and I think a lot of people will be happy enough with Wyman's portrayal.






All the Single Ladies (and) A Study in Starlets by Gini Koch

There were moments here where the prose seemed to drag a bit. It wasn't too bad, but it did slow me down in places.

Largely speaking it zipped along, there was just the odd moment where the prose slowed down a little too much for my liking.

Also, occasionally Sherlock acts like a bit of a douche - but then, the character always has been a bit of a douche. (In the best possible way.)




Half There/All There (and) The Power of Media by Glen Mehn

I wasn't too thrilled by all the casual-drug-taking here. In places, it felt like it was a little too normalised, and that's not great. *Shrugs.*

I was also a little confused by the 1960s references in places - I'm not from New York in the '60s, you may have to explain a little more. Just saying.

Also, if the author could've dialogue-tagged the speech a little more? Explained who was talking and when? That would've been great.

I did feel a little uncomfortable with the way some of the racial and LGBTQ+ issues were dealt with.

Referring to LGBTQ+ people as 'homos,' for example, may be historically accurate (i.e. for the 1960s,) but it doesn't feel right to a 21st Century mind-frame.

It's highly uncomfortable - at best.




Verdict:

I really enjoyed this collection overall.

Each one of the interpretations somehow managed to bring a freshness to a story that's been told time and time again (and very well at that.)

Sure, there were hiccups here and there, but largely speaking? An enjoyable read.







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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Month in Review(s) - April 2016

Lots more reviews this month! Especially of graphic novels.

There've been some truly rocking graphic novels out this month - my faves are probably Blood Stain and I Hate Fairyland.

Check out all the lovely reviews! :)


book



Kids

Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley - historical fiction



New Adult

Growing Up by Tricia Sol - contemporary, LGBTQ+, short stories, romance (m/m)



Adult

Play Hard by J T Fox - LGBTQ+, romance (m/m,) short stories, contemporary
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult - contemporary, crime*, witches*, magic realism* (*ish)



Graphic Novels

Golem by Lorenzo Coccetti - dystopian, sci-fi, manga
Paper Girls, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan - sci-fi
Blood Stain, Vol 1 by Linda Šejić
Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov - horror, crime
I Hate Fairyland, Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young - fantasy, fairies/fae, humour

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Review Time! - Growing Up by Tricia Sol

Growing Up Tricia SolTitle: Growing Up

Author: Tricia Sol

Genre: Contemporary, New Adult/NA, LGBTQ+, Romance (m/m,) Short Story/Novella

Release Date: 13 April 2016

Amazon: UK - USA




A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publishers, Less Than Three Press, via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Something about this one caught my eye - I don't know why.

I guess I was interested in where the premise was headed, and whether the author would be able to pull it off without it going wrong somewhere along the lines.

So I requested it for review, and was happy to have my request accepted by the ever interesting Less Than Three Press.

It's quite short: about 74 pages, depending on what e-reader you're using.

And I read it in a day (partly because I wanted to know what happened, dammit!)

This book is in ebook format only.



Premise:

Kelly is back in his hometown, Glenn.

Although it's just a few hours away from his college, he tries not to go back too often - not least because no-one back home knows he's gay.

And then he runs into his former high-school teacher - Mr Bastion.

Except he wants Kelly to call him Luke now. And Kelly has had a crush on him since forever.

But Mr Bastion - Luke - he couldn't be interested in Kelly at all, could he?




Best bits:

Sol got this oh-so-right where it could've gone oh-so-wrong. Kelly is an awesome character - you 100% feel for him, and feel with him.

The awkward moments? The tension? The worry over his unaccepting family? You can totally feel the emotion in those paragraphs.

And those moments are where Sol truly excels - those moments are real.

I also liked the way this was a book about a guy who falls in love - not a book about love and sex that happened to have characters in it.

Kelly has a life outside of Luke - and there's a real sense of him trying to find his way in the world as an individual.

The love-scene is no less steamy for all that (fans self profusely,) but it's sex with real love and intimacy, not just porn for the sake of porn.

The balance of love, everyday life, character, etc. is pretty spot-on. It doesn't get overly-gooey, or overly-trashy. Which is great - and shows a potential for thoughtful plots on the part of Sol.

And the writing? Sol is a debut author, but she clearly has some talent. And I hope she keeps writing.



Not so great bits:

There is explicit sex here. Which isn't going to be to everyone's taste, no matter how well it's done.

There's also some swearing - again, not for everyone.

And there's some domestic violence and threats of sexual violence which may be distressing to some people. I personally, though, thought the subject was handled quite well.

The writing does get clumsy in places. Overall it's fine... but there are moments when it clunks instead of chimes.

Not the end of the world, but it's slightly jarring when you're reading.

I also felt like some places were a bit sketchy on detail. Some points could've been expanded and explored more.

We really could've done with Sol zooming in on the detail - the emotional detail, rather than buttons and carpets - particularly in terms of Kelly's ex, who sometimes feels more like a plot device than a flesh-and-blood character.

And if Kelly could stop going on about how inexperienced in love/sex he is at 21, that would be great.

21 is not old. Sex is not the meaning of life. Get over it.



Verdict:

This could've gone so wrong - it could've come across creepy, or over-sentimental, or overly-trashy.

Instead we have a story with heart and complex characters that I really enjoyed, and managed to give real moments of emotion and the complexities of life.








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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Mini-Review! - Play Hard by J T Fox

Play Hard book coverTitle: Play Hard

Author: J T Fox

Genre: LGBTQ+, Romance (m/m,)Short Stories, Contemporary

Series: Hot for Him (#1)

Amazon: UK - USA

Verdict:

18+ only

I picked this up for free on Kobo, because I have an addiction to free smut.

This is about two American football players who play for rival teams... and just happen to fancy the pants off each other (quite literally - this is a steamy romance dammit!)

I didn't understand a word of the American football stuff, but luckily it served as background more than plot.

Amongst all the naughty goings-on (which are mighty hot, might I add!) Jordan and Eric are dodging match-fixing scandals, helping out sports programmes, doing news interviews, and hiding in the closet so far that they can probably see Narnia!

The closet-thing is for their careers (the inference being that gay players will be dropped from the team.) But they just can't seem to keep their hands off each other...

And all this in just over 50 pages!

Seriously, this is quick and breathless and damned hot. Luckily there are plenty of references to showers, so you can cool down.

There's also actual relationship stuff: will-they-won't-they moments and some feelings stuck in for good measure. So it's not just about the pretty faces ;)




Monday, 22 February 2016

Mini-Review! - Omega Beloved by Aiden Bates

Omega Beloved Aiden Bates coverTitle: Omega Beloved.

Author: Aiden Bates.

Genre: Romance (m/m,) Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves, Short Story, LGBTQ+

Series: Omega Beloved #1

Amazon: (UK - US)

Verdict:

This is an 18+ book - I mean it! (Stay in school, don't commit crimes, etc. etc. - don't let your parents yell at me. Please.)

This is a book that I mentioned in my post on guilty pleasures - and how we need to ditch the 'guilt' part.

Basically, what we have here is a fairly steamy m/m werewolf romance. It follows the Omegaverse trope - something which will be fairly familiar to fanfiction readers like myself.

It's also quite sweet in places, very well-written, and there's signs of real character development, and real heart.

So, yeah, I thought it was pretty damned awesome - even though, at 35 pages, it's short to say the least. Time well spent.