Review: A Slippery Slope in an Ad Agency (Forced to Work in Girls’ Dress) by Yu Sakurazawa

A Slippery Slope in an Ad Agency (Forced to Work in Girls' Dress)A Slippery Slope in an Ad Agency by Yu Sakurazawa

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ETA: Damn, posting a review minus the actual review?  Senior moment.

I had some issues with this one.  It is, on the surface, a cracky romp that addresses trans issues in a fairly superficial way, playing for laughs and yanking the reader along with it.  To an extent it succeeds in this aim.  But it left me feeling rather uneasy at the complete lack of affect displayed by prominent characters, over their own morally dark, dark grey actions and the damage done to at least one MC as a result.  Yeah, it’s crack, yeah it’s a romp.  There’s a limit, though.  Even in the glossiest most superficial soap, the MC him/herself wouldn’t usually 100% treat his/her own sufferings as if casually experienced at one remove.  Surgery without consent, medical negligence, assault, deception, lies and fraud are treated as if barely meriting a journal line, still less a page or two.

Beyond that, the author’s command of English is not impeccable, and the whole book would have benefited from a professional edit.

I can’t give the title an honest rec bearing in mind these issues, although it certainly has a lot of personality and energy, and is a long way from standard fare.


Review: In Catcher’s Box or Batter’s Box? by Gayle Keo

In Catcher's Box or Batter's Box?In Catcher’s Box or Batter’s Box? by Gayle Keo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I might have rated this three stars, except that it really needs an intensive edit to fix persistent grammar issues, especially a problem with constant tense switching throughout the main story and the additional free stories in the edition I read. It’s a pity because the characters in the main story are engaging and have credible chemistry. I was a bit baffled by their early interactions, and had difficulty deducing their motivations sometimes from the information the reader was given, but their attraction was strong and clear enough to override that. I would quibble a bit that the story ends a bit abruptly, and reads more like an intro to a longer book. (Which the characters could probably justify.)

Out of the additional free stories, the one with the fairy threesome was cute with some interesting ideas. But really the standout besides the primary story was ‘Jasmine – Life Is Hip, Love Is A Gift’. The charismatic and determined heroine engages the attention and sympathy of the reader, and the credibly sympathetic beta hero is unusual and interesting. (Although given his stated personality and history, his level of sexual experience is a bit of a mystery.)

Overall the tense issue really does detract from the reading experience, and a professional edit might be justified.

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Review: The Moment by Lawrence M. Schoen

The MomentThe Moment by Lawrence M. Schoen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very densely and complexly written short story, so much so that I had a little trouble following it at times. It was much more about ideas than feelings, when I tend to favour the opposite weighting. But the Marx Brothers mention was very funny, and the closing lines quite poignant.

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Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

#GIRLBOSS#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great fun read, and Amoruso seems like she would be the funnest person to hang out with. Her sheer drive and wit and energy are inspiring – it’s just a shame that Nastygal itself seems to have crashed and burned, judging by the news stories. Still, I’m sure that Amoruso will rise from the ashes. (I just hope she’s managed to hang on to some of the money, after all her hard work.)

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Review: Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman

Signal to NoiseSignal to Noise by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very sombre book. The delusions of the scriptwriter/main character initially when he became sick were very sad, certain that he was getting better. The whole book seems packed with metaphor and meaning, but how you choose to interpret it is another thing. The story that will never be told, never seen onscreen, but the writer labours at it anyhow. The oncoming apocalypse within his story, that fizzles like a damp squib. What does it mean, eh? The reader is left to decide. Much like life.

I found it an enjoyable read, in a melancholy way. But I think there are probably better places to begin exploring Gaiman’s work.

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Review: Little Big Books by Robert Klanten

Little Big Books: Illustrations for Children's Picture BooksLittle Big Books: Illustrations for Children’s Picture Books by Robert Klanten

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was delightful, and the chance to experience the artwork of so many wonderful artists was a joy. I was slightly disappointed that only a small number of the artists featured were actually interviewed for the book, as I found the interviews to be as much of a highlight as the illustrations. Kitty Crowther’s interview especially was wonderful, funny and enlightening, in addition to her beautiful pictures. I did mark the book down slightly from four to five for this reason. Although if all the artists had been interviewed, it would of course have been a much longer and more expensive book!

However it’s a beautiful book and wonderfully presented, and I would still recommend it to anyone interested in art and book illustration.

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