ANNOUNCEMENT
After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. With my little C creeping its way back into my life and possible long term treatment now, I need to take a couple of things off my plate for the time being, and the blog is going to be one of those things. As it is, it felt like it was becoming more of a chore than anything else. I need my reading time to be more enjoyable right now, more of the escape that I really need, and what I don't need is the little voice in the back of my head telling me how many reviews I'm behind and trying to come up with what I need to say about the book.

I simply want to read.

I'll more than likely occasionally post on here what I've been reading, and if there is something that really blows my mind, I'll probably have more to say about it and may write up a proper post, but for right now, things are going to be very quiet around here.

As always, happy reading!
2017 edit
I will continue to blog according to my health and ability, and connecting my posts thru Goodreads, so please be patient if things get quiet around here again this year.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not really sure what to say about Alexander Chee's novel The Queen of the Night other than it is magnificent. A sprawling, epic tale that put me in mind of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, we follow Paris Opera sensation Lilliet Berne as she recounts her life from her humble beginnings as an orphaned American child, who tried to make her way to Europe to the only family she new of after the death of her family and ended up being swept up by one circumstance after another into the spectacle that was the Second French Empire. We follow her life from her time with a traveling circus, to becoming a prostitute in one of Paris' more prestigious whorehouses, to her time as a dresser for Empress Eugénie de Montijo at the Tuileries, until she finally makes her debut at the French Opera. Through this tale, she is trying to discover who might know of her secrets, as each time she took on a new role, she also cast off her old life and name and reinvented herself at each turn, trying to finally free herself from her own past and come into the life that she wants for herself.

Chee seems to have thoroughly researched his setting for Lillet's journey, and his writing is strong and precise. Lilliet's life is quite an adventure, but it never seems to be dull, and I never felt like I was wishing that her tale would hurry along. I listened to the audio version, and Lisa Flanagan's narration is spot on; she truly became the voice of Lilliet for me. The only thing that I added to my own listening of the book that I think could possibly benefit other readers is that I listened to selections of the operas and other musical pieces that are mentioned in the book, to add that next level of enjoyment to the story.

Chee is an extraordinary storyteller and I'll definitely be reading more by him in the future.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Shane Oakley

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Basically one long run on joke about all the tropes found in every Gothic tale ever told, this is the weakest of Dark Horse's Gaiman adaptations. I haven't read the original story this was adapted from, so I'm not sure if this is worse/better or if it's Gaiman's story or Oakley's adaptation, but I quickly found myself skimming thru just to get to the end, and when you're reading something only 48 pages long and you start skimming when you're only half way thru...

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Modern Masters, Vol 1: Alan Davis by Eric Nolen-Weathington

Modern Masters Volume One: Alan Davis Modern Masters, Vol 1: Alan Davis by Eric Nolen-Weathington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A nice volume about comic book artist Alan Davis, who has been a favorite of mine since I first encountered his art in Uncanny X-Men back in the late 80s. Including an interview with Davis, the book is also filled with sketches, finished art, previously unseen art, a look at the artists that have influenced Davis over the years, as well as interviews with some of Davis' contemporaries. If you're a fan of the history of comic books and want a firsthand look into the life and influences of Alan Davis, this is the perfect book for you.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Invincible, Vol 2: Eight Is Enough by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Cory Walker et al

Invincible, Vol 2: Eight Is Enough Invincible, Vol. 2: Eight Is Enough by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story continues to impress me; with some great humor, well paced action, and some genuine mystery added in for good measure, this volume is definitely all about later plots. While the first volume, Family Matters, set up the core characters for Invincible, this volume is clearly set up as starting points for future story lines, so while it doesn't actually seem like much happens here, it just makes me want to continue reading so I can see how all these plot threads play out. Cory Walker's art and Bill Crabtree's colors are top notch again; I really like the minimal line art and coloring. The inclusion of different artists working on the introduction of additional characters to the book was a nice touch too, helping each character stand out a little while having the briefest of introductions. On to the third volume!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 Recap


  1. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  2. Star Wars: Han Solo by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Mark Brooks
  3. I Hate Fairyland, Vol 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young
  4. Naughty Mabel Sees It All by Nathan Lane & Devlin Elliott, illustrated by Dan Krall
  5. Star Wars: Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe by Emil Fortune, illustrated by Tim McDonagh 
  6. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 
  7. Invincible, Vol 1: Family Matters by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Cory Walker
  8. Angel Catbird, Vol 1 by Margaret Atwood, illustrated by Johnnie Christmas
  9. Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Book 7 by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, illsutrated by Andy Kubert
  10. Smurfs, Vol 1: The Purple Smurfs by Peyo
  11. Renato Jones: The One%, Season 1 by Kaare Kyle Andrews

Top Book of the Month
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher


January 2017
Number of books read: 11
Number of pages: 1,360

Number of books acquired: 25
Number of those books read: 5


I can tell that this is going to be the year of the graphic novel for me, given that of the 11 books I read in January, 9 of those are graphic novels and 1 is a children's picture book. I don't actually have a problem with this right now. With everything going on in my life, I'm reading what I want and I have no guilt about it whatsoever. Top book for the month by far is Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist, chronically her time during the filming of the first Star Wars movie. It was bittersweet reading, with her passing just a couple of days before I read the book; I thought it would be good timing for me, but it actually just made me all the more sad for her passing. The biggest disappointment for me was Margaret Atwood's Angel Catbird, her first foray into graphic novels. Weighed down by terrible puns and overused super hero tropes, I'm truly surprised that a writer of her caliber would produce something so lackluster and forgettable.


YEAR TOTALS
Number of books read: 11
Number of pages: 1,360

Number of books acquired: 25
Number of those books read: 5

Monday, January 30, 2017

Renato Jones: The One%, Season 1 by Kaare Kyle Andrews

Renato Jones: The One%, Season 1 Renato Jones: The One%, Season 1 by Kaare Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Renato Jones was born into privilege, died because of that privilege, and was reborn again through that privilege, and now he spends his time between being one of the ONES, the top 1% wealthiest people in the world, and the Freelancer, making sure that the ONES still know their place in the world. Making definite nods to Frank Miller (I'm not familiar with Andrews work, so I don't know if his artistic and writing styles are usually this influenced by Miller, but it is quite clear in this book), this first volume of Renato Jones is a hyper-stylized, hyper-violent, hyper-sensational free for all that seems eerily prescient of today's political atmosphere. The book is cleverly constructed, with fake ads throughout that mock the ridiculous over the top nature of the super rich in the book. Personally, I'm thoroughly intrigued to see where Andrews is going to take this series so will be following along for sure.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Smurfs, Vol 1: The Purple Smurfs by Peyo

The Purple Smurfs The Purple Smurfs by Peyo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun little nostalgic read for me. As a kid, I loved the cartoon and had a respectable number of the Smurf PVC figures, so when I discovered that Papercutz has been reprinting the original comics, I thought I'd pick up the first volume and have a nice little walk down memory lane. Coming at these stories as an adult, however, some things that I noticed beyond the "cute" factor: Papa Smurf is kind of an ass in these early stories, demanding that the other Smurfs in the village do his bidding at every turn, without question; the purple Smurfs may have been my earliest (altho unknown at the time) experience with zombies - the fact that the regular Smurfs aren't infected until they are bitten and then they in turn become "evil" purple Smurfs is definitely a reflection of the modern idea of the zombie; holy crap they use the word "smurf" a lot in the dialogue in these stories, almost to the point of being obnoxious. I actually found that I still enjoyed the stories, so I'm sure I'll be picking up some more of the volumes as I find them.

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Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Book 7 by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, illustrated by Andy Kubert

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 Collector's Edition Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 Collector's Edition by Frank Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This continues to be a solid story for me. I do wish that each issue was a little longer, but the overall reach of the story has been a good one. It's been a slow build getting to this point, and I'm really hoping that the coming confrontation is going to be a good payoff. I've also enjoyed the small backup stories that reveal where the other heroes are right now. I'm expecting this to all come together fairly well.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Angel Catbird, Vol 1 by Margaret Atwood, illustrated by Johnnie Christmas

Angel Catbird, Volume 1 Angel Catbird, Volume 1 by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is an unfortunate disappoint for me. I haven't read much of Atwood, but I'm familiar with her and her significance as an author so I was more than intrigued by the idea of a graphic novel written by her. So, imagine my disappointment in what she gave us: from her rather self-serving foreword, where in the first paragraph she reminds us that she is “an award-winning nice literary old lady” and then goes on to great lengths about her lifelong interest in comics, to the flat story that is nothing but one overused superhero trope and bad pun after another, to the lackluster art (sorry, but Johnnie Christmas' art just didn't save this enough for me), to the interjected facts about the number of cat and bird deaths in Canada, the US, and the UK that occur each year, I was shocked that this got published. I would assume that had anyone other that Margaret Atwood presented this project, it would have been shot down. This is nothing to me but a vanity project and one that I just can't see myself continuing. The only reason I can't give it 1 star is because it is Margaret Atwood, after all, and it seems sacrilegious to do so.

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