meghan rose allen

Review of Wonder Woman Volume 1: The Lies (Rebirth) by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp

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First, let's get this out of the way: Wonder Woman's boobs are distracting.

Seriously? I admit, I do have some nice bras that might give me the Wonder Woman look (huge boobs, teeny waist), but she's out there, fighting crime (or evil demon-gods in this one), without adequate mammary support. Seriously, she needs a sports bra. I read through this book and saw her bouncing all over, doing her thing, my chest and upper back just ached. I can't even do a jumping jack sans sports bra without pulling about ten muscles in my chest and having a boob smack me in the face; how can Wonder Woman be all hi-ya kick punch take that! without some serious soreness? After much pondering on the matter, I've decided that her sports bra must be invisible like her airplane because otherwise I think my mind is going to explode.

Am I missing the point of Wonder Woman? I don't remember the chestiness being such a focus in Wonder Woman Cheetah on the Prowl, my only other exposure to the Wonder Woman universe (I bought my copy, used, at a church rummage sale in December 1989. I paid twenty five cents. The cassette was missing, but my nine year old self was in it for the reading, not the being read to by a cassette tape. The Berlin Wall had just fallen. It was an exciting time for all of us.) I think I might have also seen some episodes of Super Friends when I was five; the wikipedia picture has Wonder Woman in it, so I'll take that to mean she was a character in it. Still, compare these boobs:

to

TOO. MUCH. BOOB.

As to the story, Wonder Woman feels like her memory is unraveling and can't get back to Themacypefinae4r3958 (I can't remember how to spell it). There's actually some cleverness with the unraveling memory: this is a reboot, there have been other reboots with differing origin stories, imagine if suddenly the memory of all these stories were thrust into your mind. Confusing, no? So I liked that. But then:

in my face.

I'll stick to looking at my We are all Wonderwomen poster on my wall.

Wonder Woman Volume 1: The Lies (Rebirth) by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp went on sale February 28, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of The Cat in the Box by John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin

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Is it strange that a book about experiments is titled after Schrödinger's Cat? I guess that's a thought experiment, but it was a thought experiment meant to illustrate the ridiculousness of a scientific theory, so in a book that's all about scientific thingies (and yes, that is the scientific term), is that an odd choice for a title? The Gribbins (I assume they are related somehow) even mention that Schrödinger's Cat was supposed to be somewhat in jest. So is it a paradox? Am I spending too much time wondering about the title of this book? Hmm...

So it's a list of experiments, with a little write-up about each one. All the big names are there: Newton, Curie, Einstein. As always, reading these books I get sad by how few women and POC were able to contribute to science because of sexism and racism and intersections of all that. As always, there's some Feynman, who creeps me out, and a lot of astrophysics since people like stars. I like math personally, but math books may be a harder sell. Also, experiments in math are a bit more sitting down with a pencil and proving things on paper, so definitely lacks some of the *glam*.

So it's a coffee table book of experiments. Lots of glossy pictures and I kept getting frustrated because I couldn't always understand exactly the science behind some of the thingies (see, I used it twice so it is totally a valid scientific word), but then there was a glossy picture and I moved on. I don't have to understand the nitty gritty of everything, right? Instead I'll stare at the Feynman diagrams and feel sort of slimy inside.

The Cat in the Box by John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin went on sale September 1, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais

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Oh my goodness -- this book is so beautiful and dark and scary and wonderful and I just want to print out every page on a high quality coloured printer and hang them around my house. It's a gender-swapped/creature-swapped version of Little Red Riding Hood that I just want to have written myself. I devoured the book like a wolf devouring a little girl, and, normally, I'm a bit meh about picture books. But not about this one. I wanted to wrap myself up in it like a warm blanket.

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais went on sale October 1, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of How To Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman

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I fall in and out of like with The Oatmeal. I used to read it fairly regularly, but now -- I blame the demise of Google Reader. Still I requested this on Netgalley because why not. And so I obtained a short fifty-page treatise on happy; more exactly on how not being happy doesn't imply being unhappy.

As a fundamentally sour, pessimistic person myself, it's a concept I've read about before -- happiness is some sort of nirvanic state where all needs, wants, and desires are met. But needs, wants, and desires are constantly shifting -- everything is nice and happy and perfect and then suddenly your car breaks down or you lose a pair of socks or a huge, multinational computing conglomerate decides that google reader isn't monetizable so shuts it down and how are you supposed to read your freakin' RSS feeds now, huh? Huh? Well f*$# you google.

Instead, be interested in things. Be creating things. Be learning things. Keep busy and maybe that nagging voice that lives in the back of my head will get distracted from criticizing and start to wonder what I'm doing, then watch, then contribute.

Not that I do what Inman does (me run fifty miles ha ha ha ha ha ha), but I write. I sew. I crochet. I duolingo. It isn't that I have to learn that that is enough, but rather that chasing the dream of happiness is not something my actions can necessarily create for my mind. So yay, random dude on the internet reinforcing my world view! Everyone agree with me!

How To Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman went on sale October 31, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of Betty Boop by Roger Langridge

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Previously, my entire exposure to Betty Boop was her bit in Roger Rabbit, although, like Star Wars and pop music, Betty Boop as a cultural-concept has long buried its way into my subconscious. Plus, like me, she has a middle part (in her hair), so I feel we should stick together (although my middle-part is a lot more Joey on Dawson's Creek than Betty Boop). I'm also somewhat concerned, as I am with Wonder Woman, as to the state of Betty Boop's back due to her mammary endowments. That and she's apparently sixteen. I don't really know if this:

is a good look for a sixteen year old. I mean, the Jazz Inspector, who is clearly an adult (and who calls the Jazz Police!), is hitting on her in a way that a grown man should not be hitting on a sixteen year old. Thankfully for all her questionably appropriate attire, Langridge's Betty Boop never uses her sexuality as a performance: she's a waitress who wants to be a singer and she just so happens to look like Betty Boop.

How much boob tape (Boop tape?) do you think someone needs to keep that dress up? My enquiring mind wants to know.

So this book is a collection of four Betty Boop comics, in which the Devil sends a lizard to try and steal Gramps' house so that the Devil can claim Betty Boop's innocent soul for his own and ... well, it doesn't work obviously (I guess that's a spoiler, but this isn't some gritty reboot of Betty Boop where Gramps is a junkie and she's been sold into sex slavery or anything like that). It's seems rather convoluted a premise, but maybe the old Betty Boop cartoons (again -- all I know is this) are as wacky and convoluted. The whole thing read like watching a cartoon -- when I think back to last night (when I read it before going to bed), it isn't as if I read a book, but as if I watched cartoons. I like cartoons. And for all its silly twistiness, I liked this Betty Boop comic collection too.

Betty Boop by Robert Langridge went on sale May 16, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

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Ahh, to once again be a swooning high school student, with true love meaning a struggle against miscommunication, errant text messages, and interference by meddling friends. Without a physical Cyrano around, our heroine Phoebe resorts to cribbing behaviour and repartée from her favourite paranormal YA novels. Does she get the guy (it's a teen romance novel, so the answer to that should be obvious)? Do we know the outcome pretty much from the get-go (again, teen romance, obvious answer)? Did that stop me from greedily rushing through to the end to make sure (randos on the internet may not know me, but rest assured, this is another obvious answer)?

It's an escapist, romance novel where I can pretend that all high school are like fictional American high schools with football teams and clubs and friends whose parents give them cars, rather than the hellish, lonely, public transit slog that my high school years turned into, and that even if I am a bookish, antisocial crafter, I can Mary Sue myself up and get a hot guy and it'll all be wonderful (I originally typed worderful, which I think may be an even better word to describe Bookishly Ever After) fantasy and doesn't high school seem much better in fiction? In my nightmares where I'm back in high school, I'm going to start hoping for some fictional locales.

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira went on sale January 12, 2016.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of Meet Me in the In-Between by Bella Pollen

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So, part way through the chapter I was thinking of as The Godfather chapter, I started to wonder if maybe I was reading a fiction book and not a memoir. I mean, book started out with an incubus, and I was cool with that as non-fiction, but the dappled Italian summers filled with olive trees and mafioso in-laws, my mind could not process that as anything other than fiction. Is that a failure as a memoir or a success for a creative non-fiction piece? We have a Woody-Allen-1970s-New-York childhood crisis, a Godfather quarter-life crisis, a Thelma-and-Louise roadtrip-type crisis, a Cormac McCarthy forties crisis, and a British stiff-upper-lip NHS healthcare crisis. And an incubus (we'll call that a pale Paranormal Activity crisis). And comics (Fun Home?). The whole book has a cinematic feel, a poor-little-rich-girl-wandering-to-try-and-find-herself feel that may not be relatable: I, for one, do not have a vacation house in Colorado and a non-vacation house in England; I've never tried to cross the Mexican-US border illegally for a magazine story; I'm not married to a prime minister's grandson, etc.

So something about Meet Me in the In-Between doesn't seem real. I'm guessing that's the point of meeting Pollen in the in-between. Real, not real, incubus, mafioso, Colorado, sharp, unexpected turns like in a dream. Off-putting but neither in a bad nor a good way.

Meet Me in the In-Between by Bella Pollen went on sale June 16, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of Tremulous Hinge by Adam Giannelli

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(or wherein I once again prove that the parts of poetry which intrigue me may not be what I am supposed to be talking about)

You know what I really appreciated about Tremulous Hinge: the layout of some of the poems. Like the indentation. Seriously. Or there'd be a thin poem, maybe only eight or nine spaces worth of letters on each line. Then each verse would be only lines long and it would be these little rectangles like a path down the page.

I can hear one of my high school English teacher's sarcasm right now: That's what you think is important about poetry?

Yes. I mean, how do the poets know

   where to end lines and

how much to

             indent?

So I read Tremulous Hinge and thought about that. The poems that were over a page were too long and could have been tightened. One poem mentioned a Catholic grandfather, which made me think of my Catholic grandfather. The poems felt working class, close houses, thin walls lacking insulation (I don't mean that in a negative way, because I read what I just wrote and it sounds super classist. I mean more like you felt you were walking through that sort of neighbourhood as you read the words; some of the poems drew the scene like a photograph).

I wonder how one becomes a poet. It's so different than how I see the world. Sometimes I feel like an alien when I read poetry. I didn't mind so much with Tremulous Hinge though.

Tremulous Hinge by Adam Giannelli went on sale April 15, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

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I am rarely this enthused about my ARCs.

But yes. All the yesses.

A collection of comic strips from a book-loving, anxiety-feeling, over-thinking, always-cold introvert whose uterus often just pops up and surprises her? You can bet your bippy that when it shows up on Netgalley with the Read Now button right there I'm going to stop everything I'm doing, click on it, and then devour it immediately, actual work be-damned!

It's basically me, in comic book form, and it's funny, and I laughed laughed laughed laughed laughed, which I rarely do.

Granted, if you're not exactly like me/Sarah Andersen, maybe it won't be as wonderfully awesome, but it'll still be, if not wonderfully, then at least adequately awesome. I might even buy a paper copy of it just to have around for smile-needing, surprise-uturus-depression emergencies.

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen went on sale March 7, 2016.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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February 2017

Posted by in this month I ...

I read:

Thoughts:

Regeneration by Pat Barker: I read this book in high school I think. Not for high school. Maybe the first year of university, but I think high school. I read it then and realized that people still wrote literature. Like it hadn't occurred to me at eighteen that there were books other than mystery novels and Stephen King coming out now that could be affecting.

So I read it again. I don't think I could have told you one thing that happened from memory. My whole memory of that book was a feeling.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui: Review to come closer to the publication date.

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre: Reviewed earlier this month.

Wonder Woman Volume 1: The Lies (Rebirth) by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp: PAMSCAF reviewed earlier this month.

Bullies by Alex Abramovich: Not the story I thought it would be; not that this is bad, but it wasn't what I thought I'd be reading.

The Red Ripper by Peter Conradi: Reviewed earlier this month.

Favourite book:



Most promising book on my wishlist:



I watched:



I wrote: The only thing left for me to polish up in my faerie story is the Epilogue! Yay me!

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