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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: a Recap

Total Books Read: 115
  • January - 10
  • February - 7
  • March - 7
  • April - 11
  • May - 19
  • June - 9
  • July - 8
  • August - 9
  • September - 15
  • October - 5
  • November - 6
  • December - 9

Stand Out Books
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (somehow had never read this before)
  • Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce (a lovely little story about the love between a toy and his child)
  • Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray
  • Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (I was thoroughly impressed by both of Claudia Gray's Star Wars books this year - I'm hoping she writes more of them in the future!)
  • The Wicked + the Divine series from Image Comics
  • In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett (listened to as an audiobook narrated by Burnett made this an especially great treat)
  • Love is Love (published in cooperation between IDW and DC Comics, all proceeds from this book went to the survivors and victim's families of the Orlando Pulse shooting - heart breaking)

Total Pages Read: 19,723
  • January - 1,425
  • February - 1,557
  • March - 1,468
  • April - 2,104
  • May - 3,273
  • June - 1,424
  • July - 977
  • August - 1,399
  • September - 2,440
  • October - 1,376
  • November - 1,208
  • December - 1,072

  • 0 - 1
  • 1 - 1
  • 2 - 5
  • 3 - 31
  • 4 - 59
  • 5 - 18

Genres Read
  • Childrens - 4
  • Fantasy - 12
  • Fiction - 5
  • Graphic Novel - 66
  • Horror - 3
  • Humor - 1
  • Manga - 2
  • Memoir - 1
  • Middle Grade Fantasy - 6
  • Middle Grade Fiction - 1
  • Non-Fiction - 4
  • Science Fiction - 5
  • Urban Fantasy - 3
  • Young Adult Science Fiction - 2

Author Genders Read
  • Male - 93
  • Female - 22

Publication Years
  • 1922 - 1
  • 1960 - 1
  • 1981 - 2
  • 1984 - 1
  • 1995 - 1
  • 1996 - 1
  • 1997 - 1
  • 2007 - 1
  • 2009 - 2
  • 2010 - 3
  • 2011 - 3
  • 2012 - 3
  • 2013 - 4
  • 2014 - 10
  • 2015 - 20
  • 2016 - 59
  • 2017 - 2

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, illustrated by John Romita, Jr

The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade by Frank Miller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this was supposed to be how Robin was killed and Batman retired, all leading up to the events of The Dark Knight Returns. Except... we don't see any of that. What we're given is half a story, one that stops just short of delivering what it was supposed to - Robin may or may not be killed, and we see nothing of Batman's reaction to this. The only reason I'm giving it 2 stars is because JRJr's art saves the day for this pointless book.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

Catalyst - A Rogue One Novel Catalyst - A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finished reading the last third of this in one sitting after listening to the audiobook version to start with, and while I think the book is well-written, I still believe that this "essential" prequel to the movie got lost in the minute details behind the design/construction of the Death Star weapon. As I saw Rogue One before finishing the book, I didn't really feel the need/felt the desire to finish the book, so I basically skimmed that last third. For diehard fans that need to read ALL THE THINGS, this is obviously a good book for them, but I think most people will have no problem going into the movie without losing anything for having not read this book.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Love, Vol 4: The Dinosaur by Frédéric Brrémaud, illustrated by Federico Bertolucci

Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur by Frédéric Brrémaud
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brrémaud and Bertolucci are back with the fourth installment in their Love series of graphic novels, this time tackling a day in the life of a group of dinosaurs as they navigate trying to survive in the prehistoric world. As with the other volumes in the series, the story is presented with no text accompanying Bertolucci's beautiful illustrations. I continue to be wildly impressed with this series of graphic novels and hope that they continue to develop further volumes in the future.

Love, Volume 4: The Dinosaur will be available February 7, 2017, from Magnetic Press.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher thru NetGalley for a fair and honest review.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Creatures of the Night by Neil Gaiman, illustrated & adapted by Michael Zulli

Creatures of the Night Creatures of the Night by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another excellent graphic adaptation from Dark Horse Comics of a Neil Gaiman tale, this time adapting "The Price" and "The Daughter of Owls", both originally published in Smoke and Mirrors, with both stories illustrated and adapted by Michael Zulli.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not entirely sure that I would be able to do justice in describing Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The book is equal parts nostalgia, beauty, terror, and magic. Nostalgia for a simpler time when magic was all entirely too possible for a young child; the book is beautifully written, nothing forced, it just is; Gaiman's writing is capable of creating such terrifying imagery to what can scare a child, something that would not be possible in less deft hands; Gaiman has created a magic all his own for adults, by reminding us that once upon a time, our childhood selves did believe in magic, and somehow he reawakens that sense of wonder in this small volume he has crafted. It's a wonder that such a slim little book is capable of manifesting so many emotions in such a short time. This is Neil Gaiman we're speaking of, so of course it really comes as no surprise to me when I really think about it.

I think I may just leave this review, for what it's worth, at that. I mean, I could go on and on about the book, but I don't want to give anything away. The magic of the book is in letting it speak for itself, telling you its story, and letting you take it all in.

So, if I haven't made it obvious, this is a book worth reading. I know it will be topping my list of books for the year, and I know it's going to be one that I will be revisiting over and over again through the years. This book and I are going to become best friends.

Go and read it. Read it again. You won't be sorry.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Lost Stars Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won't lie, I wasn't exactly sure that I was going to finish this book. It started off little too "YA" for my liking - I can think of no better way to describe it than that. However, after all is said and done, I'm so glad that I stuck with this book. In Lost Stars, Gray creates a rather complex story as we see the Empire thru the eyes of young cadettes who feel that they are joining the great Empire and are out to do good in the galaxy, while being told that the Rebellion is comprised of nothing more than terrorists and murderers. We watch as these cadettes justify their actions in the name of the Empire, while simultaneously questioning whether or not these actions are actually for the betterment of the galaxy.

Beginning shortly after the creation of the Empire, we see the events of Episodes IV, V, and VI play out as the backdrop for these young people's lives, and see how these events shape and mold them into adulthood. Left vaguely open for a continuation, I'm hoping that Gray revisits these characters in the future and we can see how their lives have changed in a post-Empire galaxy.

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

Life Debt Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great continuation of the Aftermath trilogy. I really like how this is setting up events that we already know happened, but not how or why they happened. This new cohesive Star Wars universe is coming together quite nicely.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Release: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

By Jenny Colgan
William Morrow Paperbacks
September 20, 2016
ISBN: 9780062467256; $14.99
E-ISBN 9780062467263; $9.99

About the Book

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Purchase Here:

About the Author
Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, includingLittle Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

Connect with Jenny Colgan

Praise for Jenny Colgan and THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER:

“Losing myself in Jenny Colgan’s beautiful pages is the most delicious, comforting, satisfying treat I have had in ages.”
   — Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets

“With a keen eye for the cinematic, Colgan (Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, 2016, etc.) is a deft mistress of romantic comedy; Nina's story is laced with clever dialogue and scenes set like jewels, just begging to be filmed. A charming, bracingly fresh happily-ever-after tale…”

 “This is a lovely novel with amazing characters who are hooked on books… at least some of them. The plot is believable and is a joy to read. The main female character, Nina, is the librarian who always figures out the best choice for a patron without fail. Jenny Colgan thinks outside the box and creates a memorable book.”
RT Book Reviews

“This charming tale celebrates the many ways books bring people together”

“This light, fresh romantic comedy is the perfect escape for bibliophiles. Enjoy it with a cup of tea on a crisp day.”
Real Simple

“[A] love story about reading and the joys books can bring to people’s lives.”
All About Romance

Rafflecopter Giveaway:


The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, it’s completely worth it. It seems like absolutely horrible crap now, but I promise it will all come good in the end,” and you could say, “Thank you, Fairy Godmother.” You might also say, “Will I also lose that seven pounds?” and they would say, “But of course, my child!”
            That would be useful, but it isn’t how it is, which is why we sometimes plow on too long with things that aren’t making us happy, or give up too quickly on something that might yet work itself out, and it is often difficult to tell precisely which is which.
            A life lived forward can be a really irritating thing. So Nina thought, at any rate. Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, was telling herself not to cry in public. If you have ever tried giving yourself a good talking-to, you’ll know it doesn’t work terribly well. She was at work, for goodness’ sake. You weren’t meant to cry at work.
            She wondered if anyone else ever did. Then she wondered if maybe everyone did, even Cathy Neeson, with her stiff too-blond hair, and her thin mouth and her spreadsheets, who was right at this moment standing in a corner, watching the room with folded arms and a grim expression, after delivering to the small team Nina was a member of a speech filled with jargon about how there were cutbacks all over, and Birmingham couldn’t afford to maintain all its libraries, and how austerity was something they just had to get used to.
            Nina reckoned probably not. Some people just didn’t have a tear in them.
            (What Nina didn’t know was that Cathy Neeson cried on the way to work, on the way home from work—after eight o’clock most nights—every time she laid someone off, every time she was asked to shave another few percent off an already skeleton budget, every time she was ordered to produce some new quality relevant paperwork, and every time her boss dumped a load of administrative work on her at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon on his way to a skiing vacation, of which he took many.
            Eventually she ditched the entire thing and went and worked in a National Trust gift shop for a fifth of the salary and half the hours and none of the tears. But this story is not about Cathy Neeson.)
            It was just, Nina thought, trying to squash down the lump in her throat . . . it was just that they had been such a little library.
            Children’s story time Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Early closing Wednesday afternoon. A shabby old-fashioned building with tatty linoleum floors. A little musty sometimes, it was true. The big dripping radiators could take a while to get going of a morning and then would become instantly too warm, with a bit of a fug, particularly off old Charlie Evans, who came in to keep warm and read the Morning Star cover to cover, very slowly. She wondered where the Charlie Evanses of the world would go now.
            Cathy Neeson had explained that they were going to compress the library services into the center of town, where they would become a “hub,” with a “multimedia experience zone” and a coffee shop and an “intersensory experience,” whatever that was, even though town was at least two bus trips too far for most of their elderly or strollered-up clientele.
            Their lovely, tatty, old pitched-roof premises were being sold off to become executive apartments that would be well beyond the reach of a librarian’s salary. And Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, bookworm, with her long tangle of auburn hair, her pale skin with freckles dotted here and there, and a shyness that made her blush—or want to burst into tears—at the most inopportune moments, was, she got the feeling, going to be thrown out into the cold winds of a world that was getting a lot of unemployed librarians on the market at the same time.
            “So,” Cathy Neeson had concluded, “you can pretty much get started on packing up the ‘books’ right away.”
            She said “books” like it was a word she found distasteful in her shiny new vision of Mediatech Services. All those grubby, awkward books.

Nina dragged herself into the back room with a heavy heart and a slight redness around her eyes. Fortunately, everyone else looked more or less the same way. Old Rita O’Leary, who should probably have retired about a decade ago but was so kind to their clientele that everyone overlooked the fact that she couldn’t see the numbers on the Dewey Decimal System anymore and filed more or less at random, had burst into floods, and Nina had been able to cover up her own sadness comforting her.
            “You know who else did this?” hissed her colleague Griffin through his straggly beard as she made her way through. Griffin was casting a wary look at Cathy Neeson, still out in the main area as he spoke. “The Nazis. They packed up all the books and threw them onto bonfires.”
            “They’re not throwing them onto bonfires!” said Nina. “They’re not actually Nazis.”
            “That’s what everyone thinks. Then before you know it, you’ve got Nazis.”
With breathtaking speed, there’d been a sale, of sorts, with most of their clientele leafing through old familiar favorites in the ten pence box and leaving the shinier, newer stock behind.
            Now, as the days went on, they were meant to be packing up the rest of the books to ship them to the central library, but Griffin’s normally sullen face was looking even darker than usual. He had a long, unpleasantly scrawny beard, and a scornful attitude toward people who didn’t read the books he liked. As the only books he liked were obscure 1950s out-of-print stories about frustrated young men who drank too much in Fitzrovia, that gave him a lot of time to hone his attitude. He was still talking about book burners.
            “They won’t get burned! They’ll go to the big place in town.”
            Nina couldn’t bring herself to even say Mediatech.
            Griffin snorted. “Have you seen the plans? Coffee, computers, DVDs, plants, admin offices, and people doing cost–benefit analysis and harassing the unemployed—sorry, running ‘mindfulness workshops.’ There isn’t room for a book in the whole damn place.” He gestured at the dozens of boxes. “This will be landfill. They’ll use it to make roads.”
            “They won’t!”
            “They will! That’s what they do with dead books, didn’t you know? Turn them into underlay for roads. So great big cars can roll over the top of centuries of thought and ideas and scholarship, metaphorically stamping a love of learning into the dust with their stupid big tires and blustering Top Gear idiots killing
the planet.”
            “You’re not in the best of moods this morning, are you, Griffin?”
            “Could you two hurry it along a bit over there?” said Cathy Neeson, bustling in, sounding anxious. They only had the budget for the collection trucks for one afternoon; if they didn’t manage to load everything up in time, she’d be in serious trouble.
            “Yes, Commandant Über-Führer,” said Griffin under his breath as she bustled out again, her blond bob still rigid. “God, that woman is so evil it’s unbelievable.”
            But Nina wasn’t listening. She was looking instead in despair at the thousands of volumes around her, so hopeful with their beautiful covers and optimistic blurbs. To condemn any of them to waste disposal seemed heartbreaking: these were books! To Nina it was like closing down an animal shelter. And there was no way they were going to get it all done today, no matter what Cathy Neeson thought.
            Which was how, six hours later, when Nina’s Mini Metro pulled up in front of the front door of her tiny shared house, it was completely and utterly stuffed with volumes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ménage à 3: Round 2 by Gisèle Lagacé & David Lumsdon

Ménage à 3 Round 2 Ménage à 3 Round 2 by Gisèle Lagacé
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Printing the second year of Ménage à 3 , this collection is just as funny and naughty as the previous. Still one of the funniest web comics I've read.

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Ménage à 3: Round 1 by Gisèle Lagacé & David Lumsdon

Ménage à 3 Round 1 Ménage à 3 Round 1 by Gisèle Lagacé
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the funnier web comics that I've read, Ménage à 3 follows the adventures of Gary and his two roommates, Zii and Didi, as they navigate life in Montreal. Basically, think Three's Company, but with way more sex (of every variety - everyone seems to have sex with everyone else at some point). Definitely written for a mature audience, there are several laugh out loud moments in this collection, printing the first year of the online comic.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Calamity Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really great, thought provoking ending to this series. I truly hope that Sanderson revisits these characters and themes again in the future.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Extraordinary X-Men, Vol 1: X-Haven by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Humberto Ramos

Extraordinary X-Men Vol. 1: X-Haven Extraordinary X-Men Vol. 1: X-Haven by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won't lie, I miss the X-Men of my younger years (late 80s/early 90s). I've been trying to reconcile their fall from popularity and the direction their stories have been taking in light of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (don't get me started on the X-Men movie franchise **shudders**), but I've been sticking with it. This book, my first post-Secret Wars X-Men experience, has left me torn: even tho every aspect of this book has already been done before (mutants being hated for being different; mutants needing to go into hiding; mutants being on the edge of extinction for about the third time in a decade now; Sinister conducting his weird experiments and playing around with famous mutant's DNA), it did leave me wondering what was going to happen next, so that's at least somewhat good storytelling, right? Right?! Sigh.

There are things I don't understand in this post-Terrigen bomb/Secret Wars world: what exactly is the difference between being an Inhuman or mutant and why is one seen as seemly being acceptable by the populace at large? Other than needing to push the Inhuman as the new version of being a mutant in the MCU, I see no distinction. What does it matter if the Terrigen mists are making mutants sterile? Don't normal humans give birth to mutants, as well? Maybe it's changing the structure of the entire world's DNA? What if a human with dormant Inhuman genes gives birth to a mutant? What would the Terrigen mists do to the mutant? How long does the Terrigen mist linger in the atmosphere? I'm hoping some of this is addressed at some point.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Bill the Cat Story: A Bloom County Epic by Berkeley Breathed

The Bill the Cat Story: A Bloom County Epic The Bill the Cat Story: A Bloom County Epic by Berkeley Breathed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Filled with his usual wit and humor, Berkeley Breathed tells the origin of Bloom County's very own Bill the Cat in this clever book. Masquerading as a children's picture book, The Bill the Cat Story is really written for Breathed's long-time fans (tho kids will enjoy the illustrations and the not surprisingly touching message), and I'm looking forward to more Bloom County picture books.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne

The Purloined Poodle The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great addition to Hearne's Iron Druid chronicles, starring everyone's favorite Irish wolfhound, Oberon.

Champion dogs have been disappearing up and down the west coast, and Oberon decides to take it upon himself (with Atticus' help) to find out what's been happening to these dognapped hounds. Filled with Hearne's signature humor, and told exclusively from Oberon's POV, this is a genuinely funny book. Will definitely be picking up more of Oberon's Meaty Mysteries!

I received a free ebook from the publisher thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Jolly Coroner: A Picaresque Novel by Quentin Canterel

The Jolly Coroner: A Picaresque Novel The Jolly Coroner: A Picaresque Novel by Quentin Canterel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Nope. Nope nope nope.

I have tried to work my way through 50 pages of The Jolly Coroner, struggling to find something appealing about the book. The protagonist, Billy Rubino, de facto coroner of the town of Hokum, is a supremely unlikable character (which I'm assuming is the point), and after only one chapter dealing with Rubino, I had an immediate dislike for him, but I kept thinking something would endear the book to me eventually. However, the second chapter jumps to a seemingly unrelated narrative about three high school kids who, trying to escape their horrid family lives, kidnap a teacher to drive them to Mexico, where they expect to live like royalty. To be honest, I thought maybe I had been confused about The Jolly Coroner, that it was in fact a collection of short fiction instead of one continuous story, but that's not the case. After reading some other reviews, it would seem the kidnapping does eventually tie into Rubino's story, but by this point, I don't care.

I know there will be an audience for this book, but I'm not part of it. I believe Canterel was trying too hard to prove how clever and gritty a writer he could be, only to the detriment of his story and characters. An unfortunate case of form over substance.

I received a free ebook from the publisher thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Notes from the Shadowed City by Jeffrey Alan Love

Notes from the Shadowed City Notes from the Shadowed City by Jeffrey Alan Love
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Told thru the narrator's illustrations and journal, Notes from the Shadowed City tells his journey through a surreal realm of floating cities and giants. With no memory of who he is prior to the start of the book, we follow the narrator as he researches magical swords in this strange land, and eventually falls in love with a mysterious woman.

I was surprised by how much I was pulled into this story; with only the most sparse descriptions of his illustrations I didn't see how this book would actually tell a complete tale. There is a lot of room left for the reader to fill in the blanks of the story as they see fit, but somehow it worked for me. I'm hoping that there will be future stories detailing the narrator's continuing saga.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope by Berkeley Breathed

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope by Berkeley Breathed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The reappearance of Opus & Co was one of the highlights of 2015 for me. I faithfully read Bloom County, Outland, and Opus (even when my local paper didn't carry the strips, my uncle would send them to me from his local paper), and didn't realize how much I missed Breathed's humor and heart until he brought his characters back to us. This is a perfect collection of the new series, and gives my hope for future editions.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Release: Vial Things by Leah Clifford

Leah Clifford has released the first book in her new Resurrectionist Novel series, Vial Things. I, myself, haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I enjoyed her Touch Trilogy, so I thought I'd let everybody know about her new book. Right now, it's only available as an ebook, so just click on the link below to check it out!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Haunt, Vol 1 by Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane

Haunt, Volume 1 Haunt, Volume 1 by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I think it's safe to say now that I don't like Robert Kirkman's storytelling. The Walking Dead left me cold (no pun intended), Outcast could have potential but not enough to keep me coming back for more, and this... Well, this is just bad. The pacing is wildly fast and sporadic, to the point that I felt I had missed huge chunks of story; none of the characters are all that fleshed out; Haunt feels like the love child of 90s Spawn and Venom. Basically, what this really feels like to me is all the terrible aspects of McFarlane's writing and character development with Kirkman valiantly trying to shine it up a bit, and it does not work. Needless to say, I will not be pursuing this series further, nor much else by Kirkman.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Huck, Vol 1: All-American by Mark Millar, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque

Huck Huck by Mark Millar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You've definitely read this story before (it's basically a slightly simple-minded Superman who only wants to do good deeds and the town that is trying to protect him and keep him secret - even tho you know it's never that simple), but there is a definite level of heart in this story that makes it stand on its own. Albuquerque's art fits the retro feel of the book perfectly. Will be checking out future volumes for sure.

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Black Science, Vol 2: Welcome, Nowhere by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera

Black Science, Vol. 2: Welcome, Nowhere Black Science, Vol. 2: Welcome, Nowhere by Rick Remender
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Book 5 by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, illustrated by Andy Kubert

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5 by Frank Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Book 4 by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, illustrated by Andy Kubert

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 Collector's Edition Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 Collector's Edition by Frank Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Attack on Titan, Vol 1 by Hajime Isayama

Attack on Titan, Volume 01 Attack on Titan, Volume 01 by Hajime Isayama
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not sure that this is for me. The story was just ok, the art was a little less that just ok - I guess I just don't get the hype? Maybe I need to watch the anime? The main character was obnoxious as hell, freaking out at the drop of a hat over every and anything, and everybody else seemed like just background noise (except mysterious Mikasa, the kickass girl who will inevitably save the day every time because ineffectual male protagonist will be too busy freaking out ad nauseam).

I'm going to give this one more volume before I make up my mind for sure, but so far, I just don't get how this is as popular as it is.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Saga, Vol 6 by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 6 Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm so glad that I ended up giving this series a try again (had not enjoyed Vol 1 all that much, but was convinced to revisit it). This has turned into an excellent space opera that is actually all about the bonds of family, both good and bad. I know it's several volumes in now, but if you've been on the fence about giving this series a try, I'd say go for it - you won't be disappointed.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman, adapted and illustrated by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

How to Talk to Girls at Parties How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Fábio Moon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've never read the short story that this graphic novel is based on, but I think I'm going to have to rectify that soon. This was a beautifully told coming of age story unlike any you may have read before, as two young lads stumble into the wrong party and find themselves discovering more than they bargained for from the girls there. Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá art is vibrant and stunning and really brings the story to life. Highly recommended for both fans of Neil Gaiman and anyone who loves the graphic novel form.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

The Art of Disney's Dragons

The Art of Disney's Dragons The Art of Disney's Dragons by Tom Bancroft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautifully presented sketchbook of drawings and illustrations showing the creative process of creating various dragons from Disney's film history. A fantastic addition to any Disney art history collection.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Incal, Vol 1 by Alejandro Jodorowsky, illustrated by Mœbius

The Incal The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While Mœbius' art is beautiful as usual, it could not rescue this book for me from the disjointed story and lackluster dialogue. I won't be continuing to read this series.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Arena by Holly Jennings

Arena Arena by Holly Jennings
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In this dystopian scifi thriller, video games have become a national pastime sport, with tournaments broadcast on television networks and the players in these virtual worlds are just as famous as athletes are in our world, larger-than-life superstars with high end sponsors and all the fame and notoriety that goes along with those roles. Kali Ling, a member of Team Defiance, the number one team in the virtual gaming world until an unexpected and overwhelming defeat in the semifinal rounds of the RAGE tournaments, becomes the first female captain of a RAGE team in its history. She is also of Asian descent, so she also has to deal with that aspect of her life in the gaming world as well.

This is all set up fairly early on, after the Team Defiance upset by an unknown team. The team is sent out to the clubs by their sponsors to make sure that everything still seems normal. After a night of partying, Kali's teammate and friend-with-benefits, Nathan, ODs on the drug HP and dies. She's clearly torn up about this until Nathan's replacement is introduced the next day. (Nathan who?) Burdened with everything the virtual world throws at her, she too turns to drugs and sex and wild living, until she realizes that she's slowly throwing her life away. (Hello, after school special).

Overall, there was a lot of potential here, but I felt it got bogged down in trying to redeem Kali. The gaming world seemed really intense, given that anything that happened in VR, the players felt IRL. However, the games themselves didn't seem all that exciting; I guess I was just expecting more from the VR gaming world here, other than what felt like glorified capture the flag, but with swords and virtual death. I also felt that Jennings was having a hard time deciding what type of book this was supposed to be: was she going for edgy YA? Moral lessons wrapped in adult ambiguity when it comes to sex, drugs, and clubbing? Spiritual coming of age? I also felt that Jennings was trying far too hard to make everybody happy, and checking off all the necessary ticks on a list: Female lead? Check. Character of Asian descent? Check. Lesbian couple? Check. Black character? Check. Making sure female lead is a total kick ass character? Check. 

To be honest, by the end of the book, I found myself skimming huge swaths of text, as I really just wanted to get to the end of the story, and I didn't really care all that much about what happened to anybody. Clearly, this book just wasn't for me.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chrononauts by Mark Millar, illustrated by Sean Murphy

Chrononauts, Vol. 1 Chrononauts, Vol. 1 by Mark Millar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Kinski by Gabriel Hardman

Kinski Kinski by Gabriel Hardman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Weird, weird, weird. Joe finds a black lab puppy while on an out-of-town business meeting and decides that it's his responsibility to rescue the puppy from its owners, who may or may not be neglecting it. Thru a series of more and more bizarre events, we watch Joe's life spiral out of control over the course of one weekend as he takes one extreme action after another in order to "rescue" this dog. He loses his job, alienates his friends, is beat up, and eventually arrested. All in this weekend, all over a dog he had never seen before. I'm not really sure what the point of the story is? Maybe there isn't meant to be a point, but the feel good ending didn't quite somehow mesh with the rest of the story. The art and writing are sparse and direct, which helps add to the story's semi-noir crime feeling.

All around, this is a pretty loose 3.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Dali & Disney: Architects of the Imagination

Dali and Disney: Architects of the Imagination Dali and Disney: Architects of the Imagination by The Walt Disney Family Museum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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The Walking Dead, Vol 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Tony Moore

The Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone Bye The Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Much like the TV series, I'm still left very much "meh" when it comes to this story. The art here, presented in B&W, is good, and the writing isn't necessarily bad, it just leaves something to be desired for me. I'll give the second volume a try and if it doesn't really capture my attention more, I think I'm going to give up on TWD entirely.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Birthright, Vol 1: Homecoming by Joshua Williamson, illustrated by Andrei Bressan & Adriano Lucas

Birthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming Birthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming by Joshua Williamson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A different take on the "young boy from our world is destined to save the fantasy world" trope. A great start to the series, and a nice little plot twist in the middle. Will be reading more.

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