3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Comics/Graphic Novels · politics · War

Graphic Novel | Yallah Bye by Joseph Safieddine

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Yallah Bye by Joseph Safieddine, illustrated by Kyungeun Park

Published: January 16, 2015

Publisher: Le Lombard

Pages: 168

Genres: comics, graphic novels, political, war

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: political graphic novels, engaging ways to bring complex events to the masses

Foodie Vibes: a few drops of water at the bottom of your glass

 

Synopsis:

July 2006. Gabriel El Chawadi says goodbye to his family at the Paris airport as they leave for their summer vacation in southern Lebanon. But a conflict at the Israel-Lebanon border escalates into a full-blown aerial attack, and for the next few harrowing weeks, the family hides for cover with friends and relatives, watches helplessly as people and buildings are destroyed all around them, and hope against all hope that France will evacuate them to safety. Back in Paris, Gabriel watches the events unfold on television with growing horror and sends out desperate calls for help to anyone who will listen.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Le Lombard, the author and illustrator for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Yallah Bye is a beautifully illustrated, heartbreaking graphic novel. It shows the atrocities of war through it’s depiction of families struggling to survive a conflict at the Israel-Lebanon border. It shows how different people are coping with the terror, but yet are still all terrified, hurting and trying to get through each minute. The people’s fear of getting bombed is palpable throughout the intense writing and illustrations. 

Yallah Bye is a great way to learn about parts of history that often overshadowed by bigger wars. I can see it being required reading in high school history or literature classes, as a foray into teaching about these conflicts. A great way to get teens and young adults excited about history! 

However, I still didn’t fully understand all of the political and historical aspects mentioned throughout. I’m not that familiar with these, and the graphic novel can only cover so much. I wish there was a little bit more education for people who are a bit unfamiliar with the political scene during the conflicts. 

All in all, Yallah Bye is great graphic novel that educates, entertains, and connects on a human level with the readers. 

 

Have you ever read a graphic novel/comic for education purposes?

What was your experience like?

2 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · suspense

Dead in the Water by Simon Bower

 

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Starting a fun bonus question!

 

Random Question of the Review:

What’s something that you absolutely do not like in a book?

 

Dead in the Water by Simon Bower

Published: May 9, 2018

Publisher: Middle Farm Press

Pages: 404 

Genres: mystery, suspense

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: characters you can rage hate the entire book, mysteries set in Europe

Read with food: croissants ~ because France! And they sound delicious right now

 

Synopsis:

When the mystery is all but solved The thrilling race against evil truly begins.

A female corpse floating in the warm harbor water in the Mediterranean Sea. An unappreciated local detective, more acquainted with cases of petty vandalism than murder, is assigned to investigate – but he’s in failing health and time is against him. A Laguna Beach waitress finds lust in the Philippines, but is it love? A Geneva businessman lives the high life with his yacht on the Med – but is he capable of sustaining it?

A New York mother finally discovers who her father is, but it would not be long before she would regret ever searching. A Georgetown University law graduate is struggling to accept her philandering husband, starting to look elsewhere… And a down-on-his-luck Londoner finds love, lust and desire, but has he got the verve to prevail?

An international plot unfolds with increasing pace as eight lives become entangled in a dark snare with no-one safe from danger.

 

Review:

I won a ebook copy through Goodreads Giveaways for free. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and publisher. As always, an honest review.

Where do I begin with this book? 

While the storyline does follow the summary given on Goodreads, there’s so much more to it than that. I think it overtakes the mystery.

The main aspect that I didn’t like was how smarmy so many of the male main characters act. Vulgar, offensive to women in the book, the complete opposite of a feminist, and generally cringe worthy all around. While characters do not have to be good people, I could not get over their awful behavior to focus on the mystery of the book. I was just constantly enraged by their appalling behavior. Also trigger warning for incest. Technically legal incest, but absolutely cringe worthy for me still. Also there are so many characters that are somewhat connected, but at times it felt hard to make sense of it all. Especially in the beginning. 

Now onto the redeeming qualities, and yes there are some. The female POV chapters were interesting, especially the paternity storyline. I wish their chapters were longer. Also the author is clearly familiar with France, as his writing shines with a wonderful authenticity while the characters are traveling there. 

Overall, the book is not my cup of tea. However it might be for you if you enjoy stories in which you love to hate certain characters. That’s not a bad thing at all, but not something I’m looking for in a book. I’ve found that personally I need to like, understand and connect with the main character to enjoy the book.

 

2.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · historical fiction · LGBTQIA+ Books · Literary Fiction · Uncategorized

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Published: June 19, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Pages: 421 

Genres: literary fiction, historical fiction, LGBTQ

Rating: 2.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: historical fiction about the AIDS epidemic in the 80s

Read with food: Chinese takeaway

 

Synopsis:

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy. As always, an honest review.

I was disappointed by this read. The story takes place in the art world in 1980s Chicago and also present day Paris. The main focus is the lives of the gay community during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, which the author does justice. Despite what could be a phenomenal book, it fell short for me.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, nor did the story draw me in. Therefore I went through the book appreciating and enjoying certain moments, but overall not invested in either story due to lack of connection. Also the two separate stories barely had anything to do with each other. They honestly could have been 2 separate books or even eliminated most of the present day Paris storyline.

The Great Believers had some redeeming benefits though. It told a story that isn’t always portrayed in the media and actually went into detail instead of glossing over unfavorable moments. A part of the history books that isn’t always done justice.

If you can connect with the characters, then you will probably enjoy it more than I did. But if not then take my thoughts into consideration. The tone of the book and writing doesn’t really change as you get farther along in the book.

 

I liked the overall concept, but it didn’t pan out for me.

 

Anyone have any other similar books that you really liked and would recommend to me?