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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Jumanji Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another modern classic of modern children's books that I had never read, I had the opportunity to meet Chris Van Allsburg at a book signing and picked up a copy. It's a cute story, but I think it could definitely be expanded into something more. (I've seen the movie, and while that was fun, I think it went a little too over the top.) Either way, for kids this would clearly be a great story to be read aloud with parents.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 by Frank Miller, illustrated by Andy Kubert

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 by Frank Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not much goes on in the second installment of Dark Knight III, but we are given our first look at who/what the Master Race may be, and it sets up nicely the addition of some of the more important players in the story. Still looking forward to how this whole story will play out.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, illustrated by William Nicholson

The Velveteen Rabbit The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another classic that I recently discovered has slipped past me (or at least, if I ever read it as a child, I have no recollection), Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit is a beautiful book and one that I'm glad to have stumbled across as an adult rather than as a child. It all happened because of a quote:

He said,"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

This quote came across my Facebook feed the other day, and in discussing the book with a couple of friends, it then occurred to me that I don't think I had ever read it, so bought a copy that weekend. This book resonated far better with my adult self than I think it ever could have as a child, which speaks volumes for the magic of this slim little volume. A happy addition to my library.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Esad Ribic

Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Originally read in the monthly installments.

Secret Wars was Marvel's big event for 2015, and while I grow a little weary of Marvel's every-year-events, I have to give them credit here for the ambition and scope they put behind this particular event. Basically, the multiverse is collapsing until only the "main" Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe are left, which then crash into each other and are both destroyed, leaving in place a brand new reality called Battleworld, an amalgamation of several aspects of each universe, all based around various events and popular storylines from across Marvel's history, all ruled by Dr. Doom. However, there is a small group of heroes and villains left from the destroyed universes who know the truth and that something is drastically wrong with this new reality.

While the merchandising aspect of the event left something to be desired (each of the events, such as House of M, Civil War, Inferno, etc), in addition to being included in the Battleworld, were also given their own miniseries, so in some cases I think that there was something going on in these series that had some impact on the main series, but since I didn't read these various miniseries yet, I definitely feel that I missed something some of the time. Also, the delays in the release of the individual issues of the main series was a little frustrating, as the "new" Marvel universe was revealed before the story behind it was fully realized. These problems aside, I think the story itself holds up well and creates something of a fresh start for many of the characters of the Marvel universe (which is now comprised of characters from both the main universe and the Ultimate Universe), and this may give new readers a better chance at getting to know these characters without being bogged down by decades of previous history. At least, ostensibly, I think that's supposed to be the idea. Either way, if you're a Marvel fan, I think this is something that you should read if you haven't yet.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There probably isn't anything I can add to the discussion on this book that hasn't already been discussed. Somehow, I skipped/missed reading this in high school, which is when I think most people are introduced to it, and for some reason I had thought I'd tried to read it since then and couldn't get into the writing at all, but I must have been confusing it with another book, as I read this in three sittings (and the only reason it was three was because at 2am of the second sitting, I just couldn't keep my eyes open anymore). As it is, I'm glad that I had not read this until now, as my younger self may not have appreciated the book properly.

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the book, from Lee's writing style, to the characters, to the social commentary of the times. My reading group had selected this and Go Set a Watchman as our December/January book picks, and I'm so glad that we did, at least as far as Mockingbird is concerned. I have some reservations concerning Watchman given what I've heard about it since its release, but I'm going to give it a try.

As for To Kill a Mockingbird, I'm fairly sure that I'll be revisiting this wonderful book again in the future.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Doctor Who: Four Doctors by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Neil Edwards

Doctor Who: Four Doctors Doctor Who: Four Doctors by Paul Cornell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this is Titan Books first big event series, and it's cool because it's a multi-Doctor story, which is always fun. Having just read Paul Cornell's Witches of Lychford], I wasn't sure what to expect with him handling a comic series but had high hopes. Unfortunately, this didn't quite live up to those hopes. I think that falls more on me than anything else, as I haven't kept up to date with the main series for 10, 11, & 12, so I wasn't as familiar with what was going on with their respective characters. Overall tho, the story is still a little on the jumbled side, and part of me really wishes that this would have been something that could have been filmed as a special rather than have it in comic form, as I think this story would have held up much better on the TV.

Either way, we've got 10, 11, & 12, all together for the first time; we've got paradoxes, the Time War, new monsters, and a new villain that I wasn't quite expecting, along with several nods to some of each of the Doctor's larger storylines. I think had I been more up to date on each of the various series, I would have actually enjoyed this way more, so if you've been reading the various comic series and are a fan, I'd highly recommend this volume.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell

Witches of Lychford Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paul Cornell's Witches of Lychford is the third of's new line of novellas, and while I've thoroughly enjoyed the other two (Domnal and the Borrowed Child by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley and Binti by Nnedi Okorafor), so far this has been the best of the lot. Taking place in the English village of Lychford, we're introduced to Judith, the local crazy lady (and possible witch); Lizzie, who has moved back to Lychford to take over as Reverend of the local church and escape her tragic past; and finally, Autumn, Lizzie's former best friend, who has opened a magic shop in hopes of discovering ways to deal with her supposed mental illness. These three unlikely friends are drawn together to do battle with a dark force that is trying to stake its claim in Lychford, which finds itself at the unlikely junction of several magical realms.

While infusing just a touch of social commentary on the evil's of mega-corporations, Witches of Lychford is lodged strongly in the world of faerie, and I would love to see more of the town and its lively inhabitants. This is my first time reading anything by Paul Cornell and I thoroughly enjoyed his style; I'll definitely be reading more from him in the future.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid, illustrated by Terry Dodson

Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Star Wars: Princess Leia takes place right after Episode IV, and chronicles Leia's attempt to gather all the remaining people from her planet of Alderaan who have scattered across the galaxy and gone into hiding from the Empire. Personally, I didn't think this story was actually all that necessary, as there didn't seem to be any far reaching repercussions. For a hardcore SW fan, this would probably be a good read, but the casual fan can easily skip it.

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larocca

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol 1 is the first collected edition of Marvel's new run of Darth Vader comics, and it's an interesting story. Taking place shortly after Episode IV, the story follows multiple threads: Vader trying to figure out exactly who Luke is; Vader and Palpatine's relationship; and Palpatine's hidden agenda for Vader. I was actually impressed with this volume, and liked how it tied into elements from Marvel's main Star Wars title as well.

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

Star Wars: Before the Awakening Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka is a collection of 3 shorter stories, one each about Finn, Rey, and Poe that more or less leads up to The Force Awakens movie. While neither is reliant on needing knowledge of the other (if you've seen the movie, for instance, you don't need to read the book), the book does flesh out a little background on the characters before we're introduced to them in the movie, so if you like the movie, I'd say this would be a great companion piece to read.

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