Through the Woods by Emily Carroll & a Blip About ShortBox

Book Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics

New Image Through the Woods was a random recommendation from Barnes and Noble, and the book that inadvertently made me a fan of ShortBox.  (Where’s the connection? I stumbled on the ShortBox website looking for more of Emily Carroll’s work after finishing Through the Woods.)

ShortBox has such a great collection of work. I’m really looking forward to their next quartlery pre-order box coming out. Pre-orders only last for a 12-day period, so move fast! The last pre-order was just this July, so like me, you’re probably wasting away waiting for pre-order #10 to come out.

Each pre-order box comes with 5  brand-new comics, an A4 print, and candy to sweeten the deal. (Yes, that pun just happened.) You can still buy the comics from their online store after though, if you don’t care much for the collection.

I really loved Through the Woods. Cover to cover this thing is a work of art; the 7 20180821_192254_2stories/comics in it are great, with just the right amount of darkness to them, and the typography and artwork is incredible. The cover is beautifully and thoughtfully textured and the pages inside are glossy, too. If you look closly at the cover image with this post, you’ll see the texturing on the trees on the left.

Above, you’ll see a picture I took from my personal copy. This particular page is from my favorite story in Through the Woods–“A Lady’s Hands are Cold.” “A Lady’s Hands are Cold” is about a woman who is visited by her new husband’s dead ex-wife. As you can see, the typography makes it a really interesting read and becomes part of the artwork.

Emily Carroll really showed just how creative and talented she is in this book.

This is a great read for anyone who appreciates good art and a good creepy story.

 

-E

 

 

The Book of Onions by Jake Thompson

Book Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics

“Ranging from the relatable to the utterly nonsensical and bizarre, the comics within The Book of Onions explore themes of loneliness, desperation, and perverted talking fruit.”

-From, The Book of Onions

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Note: I received a digital ARC to review this book. The Book of Onions won’t actually be available to buy until this October.

I’ll start by saying that I love this book cover!

I didn’t find this collection of comics knee-slapping funny but, the comics are cheeky and you’ll definitely get a chuckle out of a few.

The comics in The Book of Onions are short with excellent graphics (at least the comics were short, mostly 4 images per page, in the digital version I read). Some of them are dark and violent, and the occasional cuss word is tossed in; definitely something to consider before handing this book to someone else to read.

You’ll recognize some of the characters in this book–Darth Vadar, the Evil Queen from Snow White, Ronald McDonald, Scooby etc. The recognizable characters only make the comics even more relatable.

There were a few comics that I really liked and some that I didn’t care for. For example, “We All Have a Dream Person” flew right over me but I particularly  liked, “There are no stupid questions.”  “Rejection,” was actually pretty funny. In “Rejection,” aliens abduct someone but decide not to after finding someone who is better looking.  I don’t know why, but I found “Whelp” to be really funny, too. I think anyone who has had a job they dislike will get the joke.

This one is definitely worth a look at.

-E

Dull Margaret by Jim Broadbent & Dix

Book Reviews, Graphic Novels & Comics

I recently hopped on the Dull Margaret bandwagon, then catapulted myself right off. DM Int

Whoever wrote the back synopsis deserves an award because after reading it inside Barnes and Noble, I was pretty excited about buying this book. Unfortunately, after I took it home and read the entire thing, I couldn’t figure out why Dull Margaret received the shining editorial reviews that it did.

I think the creators should have included a section at the very end that clarifies what their vision for this book was, and how it’s meant to be interpreted. The greatest positive is that the illustrations are well done (see interior image to the right). If you like gory books and nudity, then this book is for you.

In short, Dull Margaret is about a strange woman who lives by the sea and does a lot of gross stuff. Margaret is a barbaric, self-absorbed loner who likes to interact with dead bodies, chow down on eels, and perform black magic. There is light character development for her as she does make a “friend,” but she berates and tortures him. The book starts with Margaret swimming in the ocean buck naked and ends with the same scene. The end.

-E

Review of The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

Book Reviews, For Book Lovers, Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense, Publishing

I was offered a digital copy of The Sea Was a Fair Master for review and it’s a collection worth reading. I don’t publicly review every book I’m offered, so pay attention.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is currently on pre-order for just under $3, a generous price you can afford. Anyway, you can’t afford to miss this title…unless you’re a younger reader, who shouldn’t be reading books laced with curse words and  murder, anyway. Curse words are light, FYI.

After reading the first 3 stories, I knew that this collection was going to be a winner. It’s a collection of 23 short, thought- provoking stories that have one thing in common: they’re all dark and twisted somehow.  If you thought I was going to say that the common thread is the sea, don’t worry, I thought it would be, too. But, no. The subjects in the stories extend past, just ocean references.

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Calvin Demmer, author of The Sea Was a Fair Master.

Short stories aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s appropriate for today’s instant-gratification generation, or for anyone caught up in the daily hustles of life who can’t commit to reading a full-length novel. The stories are short (just a few pages or less) and well-written enough that it would be worth to spend a few minutes every night to read one story. It’s the kind of book to keep on your nightstand.

My favorite story in the collection is, “Underneath,” because of the twist at the end. A married couple end up burying a secret over another secret–literally. “Graves,” a story about a ghost is a sad one to consider, too.

My least favorite was, “Trashcan Sam,” a short about a garbage society members–think hobos gone wild or deranged–who compete to one-up each other.  I think it was still good, but felt it paled in comparison to the others.

Very excellent! And recommended!

-E

 

 

Review on The Art of Fully Living by Tal Gur

Book Reviews, Other Genre, Publishing

Tal Gur gave me a copy of his book, The Art of Fully Living, recently to review. I think his work speaks for itself; it has a near-perfect 5-star rating on Amazon. Maybe it can do something for you, too.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise to say but, I’ll say it anyway: life is complicated so it’s always nice to get wisdom where you can.  We all need a pep talk or help with perspective once in a while. And if you haven’t found yourself in a slump, just give it time.  Trust me. Life’s just around the corner…wearing punching gloves. This book would best benefit those who are beginning their journey toward happiness. If you’re feeling lost or that life has become this impenetrable wall, check this book out.

The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals is part memoir and part self-help from someone who has done what many are too afraid to do: he didn’t like his life, so he did what he had to, to change it. He even moved to another country (Australia) to pursue happiness. Now, that’s a big jump! His motives are explained in the quote below–a quote too many of us can sadly relate to.

But some longing kept gnawing at my insides. That morning, anger at traffic inspired unusual introspection: is this life truly my dream? Waking up, getting ready for work, driving to work, heading back from work, unwinding from work, going to bed. Rinse and repeat. How did I end up here, in this shadow of a life?

–Tal Gur, The Art of Fully Living

My biggest takeaways from Tal Gur’s work relates mostly to changing one’s perspective. It’s true that your thoughts become actions and actions become your destiny so, it’s important to harness control over your thoughts and how you look at adversity. I think Tal says it best:

“When a setback or a crises happens, don’t think of it as a curse. Maybe it’s exactly the inspiration you needed. When you can see a “negative situation” from a positive angle, you can reflect on what’s important and maximize your growth. The difficult emotions that usually accompany crises are catalysts for dramatic change.”

– E

 

Island Wildlife Now Released!

Art & Design Work, Cover Art, Editing, Portfolio, Publishing

Just wanted to share! Island Wildlife: Exiles, Expats and Exotic Others by Robert Friedman is now released and available for purchase. This book is a little more special to me because not only did I edit it, I designed the cover.

The story takes place in the late 80s in Puerto Rico and runs through the lives of a few characters who are tied to one place: the Solimar Guesthouse.

Buy a copy on Amazon here: Buy Island Wildlife by Robert Friedman.

-E