Book review: Gothic Tales of Haunted Love by Hope Nicholson & S.M. Beiko

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love by Hope Nicholson & S.M. Beiko
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Source: Sent by publisher

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love is a new comics anthology curated by Hope Nicholson (The Secret Loves of Geek Girls) and S.M. Beiko (Scion of the Fox).

In 1950s Vietnam, a lost soul comes to the aid of his lover’s field under attack by American troops.

In Victorian Boston, a new governess comes to care for the rogueish widower of a stately manor and his charming brood of children.

A fashion journalist lands the interview of her dreams – but it unearths the deadly secrets of Taiwan’s most popular fashion designer.

A Sioux elder revives a recently deceased woman who sets out to recover her lost love.

A Jamaican slave faces the horrors of her hateful mistress, on the eve of her liberation.

A Brazilian writer-in-exile discovers the dark history of an abandoned mansion inhabited by a charming and sensual ghost.

And a young bride spins a story of murder and deceit that paints her husband as a killer . . . but is there any truth to her tale?

Featuring 19 original stories from some of modern comics’ finest talent, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love collects fragments of lovers torn apart, romantic liasons with the unliving, ghostly revenge, and horrific deeds, in the vein of the short-lived 1970s gothic romance comics.

A foreword on gothic romance comics is provided by historian Jacque Nodell, and the collection also features a reprint of the 1970s Korean horror-romance comic “The Promise” by Sanho Kim.

I generally have mixed feelings about anthologies, but when I got an email offering me a free copy of Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, I couldn’t resist. After all, I’m on a huge graphic novel kick. Reading something that was at least a little out of my comfort zone didn’t sound so bad, either.

As usual, I had wildly varying thoughts about the stories in this anthology.

Crush by Janet Hetherington, Ronn Sutton, Becka Kinzie & Zakk Saam: ★★★★☆

I was getting some Sound of Music vibes from this one, and even half-expected some clothes made out of curtains, until the end. I did not see that ending coming!

Rose’s Heart by Colleen Coover: ★★★★☆

I wasn’t loving this one at the beginning. I thought it would go the very cliche way of Jim ending up as the villain, and I’m glad he didn’t. That ending, though, totally saved this story. My goodness!!!

Secrets in the Silk by Nika: ★★★★☆

This one was so much fun! Or, at least, as fun as murderous mayhem can be…

L’Heure Verte by Femi Sobowale, Caroline Dougherty & Zakk Saam: ★★★☆☆

I thought this story was cute, but the twist was (1) much less exciting than the previous three stories and (2) honestly kind of obvious.

Goldblind by Hope Nicholson & Scott Chantler: ★☆☆☆☆

I feel kind of bad, but I did not understand the point of this one. Like, at all.

Minefield by Hien Pham: ★★★☆☆

This is primarily written in Vietnamese, so I’m not 100% sure that I fully understand what was going on, but it made me very, very sad and I’m calling that a success.

The Return by David A. Robertson & Scott B. Henderson: ★★★☆☆

An interesting enough premise, but the execution was pretty cliche. It basically just followed every fable ever.

Green, Gold, and Black by Cherelle Higgins & Rina Rozsas: ★★☆☆☆

The art was great and the story was heartbreaking, but what exactly was the point? I feel like this was too big of a story to tell in this short amount of pages and it would have been improved a lot if it were at least twice as long.

Ladies of the Lake by Sarah Winifred Searle: ★★★★☆

I love twists on Arthurian legends, so this one was right up my alley. I fully expected that final twist, but still appreciated it. This one was a great story.

Fazenda do Sangue Azul by H. Pueyo & Dante L.: ★★★☆☆

There are some definite plot holes here when it comes to the ghost’s appearance (and actions), but I still enjoyed this one. Surprisingly, even with the torture and war and everything, it was pretty cute.

A Heritage of Woods by S.M. Beiko & Maia Kobabe: ★☆☆☆☆

Oh dear. This one was too much.I could have happily lived my life without seeing someone have sex with a tree.

Lovers’ Moon by Chris Stone & Dani Bee: ★★★☆☆

So, first of all, I’m not a doctor but I don’t think you get Graves disease from walking around at night. That said, this one had an interesting twist, and I loved the conversation between Andrew and John.

Mistress Fox by Megan Kearney: ★★★★☆

Another twist I didn’t see coming! I was already on board with the idea of the main character recounting her dream, but that twist really took it to another level.

My Heart Still Beats for You by Amber Noelle & Allison Paige: ★☆☆☆☆

I’m sorry, but is this the novelization of every text post from 2009 Tumblr?

One More Cup by Barbara Guttman: ★☆☆☆☆

I was 100% on board with this until the end. These tragic, supernatural love stories are just not my thing.

Ouroboros by Svetla Nikolova & LAB: ★☆☆☆☆

Not sure what’s up with all of these dramatically emo stories all of a sudden. This honestly reminded me of something that one of my more dramatic friends would have tried to convince me was amazing back in like… 2004. It’s everything she used to find on Xanga and covertly print out in the school’s computer lab. It wasn’t my thing then and it’s still not my thing now.

I Am the Song by Cecil Castellucci, Willow Dawson, Becka Kinzie & Zakk Saam: ★☆☆☆☆

What… in tarnation. There was no point.

What’s Best by Katie West, Ray Fawkes & Zakk Saam: ★★★☆☆

Interesting art style. Odd storyline. But above all else, this was entertaining.

The Promise by Sanho Kim: ★★★☆☆

I can’t really say that this is my favorite story that I’ve ever read, but I have to say that the soldier really got what was coming to him.

Grave Misfortune by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris: ★★★★★

I have never not loved something by these authors.

Overall: 2.65 stars, rounded up to 3

#mm19: one sitting reads
#romanceopoly: creature crescent


Have you read Gothic Tales of Haunted Love? Have you read any other graphic novel anthologies? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Neurocomic by Hana Ros

Neurocomic by Hana Ros

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • GoodreadsTBD
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Source: Borrowed

Do you know what your brain is made of? How does memory function? What is a neuron and how does it work? For that matter what’s a comic? And in the words of Lewis Carroll’s famous caterpillar: “Who are you?”

Neurocomic is a journey through the human brain: a place of neuron forests, memory caves, and castles of deception. Along the way, you’ll encounter Boschean beasts, giant squid, guitar-playing sea slugs, and the great pioneers of neuroscience. Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella provide an insight into the most complex thing in the universe.

When I was reading this one, I thought it was going to be 4 stars. But after I finished and walked around a bit thinking about it, I decided it was really more of a 3.

You see, this is a really good introductory book on neuroscience and psychology. It goes into basic detail without really being overwhelming or overly simplistic. It reminded me a lot of the very basic things I had to learn about each field of medicine before I could become certified as a medical coder. I think it would be really useful for a visual learner and it would also be very interesting to see similar books for each field of medicine.

That said, I’m not really sure what the book wanted to accomplish. Is it just that, a quick primer on the field of neurology? Or did it actually want to say something? The ending made it seem a bit like the author wanted to make a point about memory, but whether she succeeded or not, I’m not sure.

All in all, it was an educational book, a quick read that I finished over one lunch, but nothing groundbreaking.

#mm19: cover love
#mmd19: a book you chose for the cover


Have you read Neurocomic? Have you ever read a nonfiction graphic novel like this? Let’s talk in the comments!


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Book review: The Secret Loves of Geeks by Hope Nicholson

The Secret Loves of Geeks by Hope Nicholson

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • GoodreadsTBD
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Cartoonists and professional geeks tell their intimate, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories about love, sex and dating in this comics and prose anthology, a follow-up to 2016 best-seller The Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

Featuring work by Margaret Atwood (Hag-Seed), Gerard Way (Umbrella Academy), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Cecil Castellucci (Soupy Leaves Home), Gabby Rivera (America), Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet), Amy Chu (Poison Ivy), Sfe R. Monster (Beyond: A queer comics anthology), Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers), and many more.

Normally, when I review an anthology, I break it down into mini-reviews for each story and then average the ratings. But this anthology… it was too long for that. Or maybe “long” isn’t the right word. There was a lot going on in this one.

Let’s start with why exactly I read this one. I read it because I went upstairs in my library to see if they’d gotten any new graphic novels in (they hadn’t) and then turned into the teen section, even though it makes me feel super old to go in there. (Everybody in that section is like thirteen years old! It makes me feel ancient!) Anyway, I looked at the table of featured books and saw this one. Not only is the cover full of cats (instant way to my heart), but it features a story by Patrick Rothfuss!

As with many anthologies, I was a big fan of some of the work and also disliked a bunch of it. I tended to like the comics more than the essays, mostly because I didn’t expect flat-out essays in a book with this kind of cover and this kind of title that I found in the YA section.

I think my favorites were Margaret Atwood’s comic and Patrick Rothfuss’s essay.

#mm19: new to you author
#ps19: a book with “love” in the title


Have you read The Secret Loves of Geeks? What’s the best anthology you’ve read recently? Let’s talk in the comments!


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