It’s time today to share some mini-reviews from some of my NetGalley reads. I’ve been pretty terrible at keeping up with it this year, so some of these reviews date back to February. But better late than never, right?
Butcher by Natasha T. Miller
This is a beautiful collection of poems talking about family, grief, addiction, and what it means to be black and Queer in America. There are some really gorgeous poems in here—ones that are extremely moving, and ones that feel like a punch to the gut. It’s quite a small collection, but I think it shows promise for Miller’s future work so I’ll be keeping an eye out for anything else she publishes. The one thing I will say about this one is this; I hate reading poetry collections off NetGalley. I don’t know what it is, but they are never formatted properly and it really affects my enjoyment of the collections. I like knowing when new poems are starting and is this one didn’t have spaces between the poems. That’s really nothing to do with the actual poems—I just needed to rant about this somewhere. This was released on February 23rd from the best poetry publishers in the business, Button Poetry. Seriously, those people know how to pick their poets and put together gorgeous books.
Space Is Cool As Fuck by Kate Howells
This is not the sort of book I’d usually pick up, but one of my goals for 2021 is to expand my non-fiction horizons. I usually just read books about feminism and art history, but it was time to try something new and space seemed like a good place. I really enjoyed learning about space as a kid—yes, I was one of those kids who was upset about Pluto’s demotion to a dwarf planet. I also have a low-key crush on Brian Cox but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, this book is hilarious. I was genuinely cackling my way through it, so I was also just really enjoying what I was learning along the way. It also gorgeous—it’s filled with all types of art; illustrations, graphic art, collage, and even some NASA photographs. It was honestly such a joy to read and I’m really glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and picked it up off NetGalley.
Gods and Lies by Elizabeth Vail
When I saw Gods & Lies was available on NetGalley, I instantly jumped on the opportunity. I’d seen this around a bit, most notably from Serial Box as a sort of serialised/episodic audiobook. I have to admit that I don’t really know how that works, but it had intrigued me a few months back. I can definitely see how it would work as an audiobook—I think that you can tell that it’s written for that medium, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. However, I do think this probably works better in that form but that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable to read like this either.
This is very much a novella so there’s very little worldbuilding or character development. Again, I think this is probably where it leans into the serialised audiobook form a little better—a different kind of atmosphere and storytelling can be set up that way. That being said, I thought the plot was intriguing enough to keep me interested and I didn’t really notice that though things were lacking until I really thought about it for this review.
All in all, this was a fun read and I’d be interested in reading the next.
Refraction by Naomi Hughes
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to finally be sharing my review for this one. This was the oldest book on my NetGalley TBR from way back in 2019 and I finally managed to get to it this month.
This has got to be one of the trippiest books I’ve ever read. There are so many twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming because I was enjoying being taken on this wild ride so much. Books like that are honestly the best. But anyway, so the plot was fantastic and really unique and intriguing. I’m happy that this was just a standalone and it wrapped up where it did, but I could’ve happily read more about the world too.
The best thing about this though was the representation of OCD. I don’t personally have OCD so I can’t speak to that, but I can say that I loved the way it was included in the story. Marty has OCD but that’s not the whole story and I think those kind of disability representations in books are extremely important. People with complex health issues, disabilities and mental illness can have lives outside of those things too—we fall in love, laugh with friends and can survive in science fiction too. Refraction is just such a great example of that.
Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke and Hannah K. Chapman
I absolutely love books like this—illustrated mini-biographies of female writers/artists/whatever. Quite a few of them have popped up in the last few years and this is another beautiful example of one. Each author has a little one-page biography followed by a few pages of a comic usually detailing an important moment or theme in their life. The comic parts are very pretty and easy to follow, and the biographies are short and sweet. This has a pretty interesting collection of women in it, including some of my personal favourites like Austen, both Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley and more, but I do wish there was a little more diversity but I suppose they’re limited somewhat by choosing classic authors with enough information about to create a comic.
Anyway, this would make a beautiful gift for someone interesting in classic literature and female authors or for someone looking for a bit of inspiration for their own writing.
That’s it for this round of mini-reviews! I’m hoping to have some more for you soon!