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.

2017 edit #2
I am happy to report that my bone marrow transplant was a success and that I'm feeling more like myself everyday. That said, I'm going to try to start blogging a little more frequently, but please bear with me as I still continue to recover.

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 disappointment 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. Well, 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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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Invincible, Vol 1: Family Matters by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Cory Walker

Invincible, Vol. 1: Family Matters Invincible, Vol. 1: Family Matters by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a reread for me, but it had been awhile since I'd read this and the mood struck me. I enjoyed this just as much this time as I had the first time around. I've tried Kirkman's other works, The Walking Dead, Outcast, and Haunt and they all fell flat for me, and to be honest, I'd forgotten that Kirkman had written this too, so I guess it's just his horror titles that I don't like. I thoroughly enjoy the family dynamic in Invincible, with Markus Grayson and his mom, Deborah, fully embracing knowing his dad, Nolan, is the superhero Omni-Man. When Markus' powers manifest, he decides to join his dad in crime fighting as Invincible. I think I like Deborah most of all, as her matter of fact acceptance of the danger her husband and son face on a daily basis hides the concern she actual feels for her family.

This is a quick introduction to the core and supporting cast, and the actual superhero aspect of the story is really just the backdrop to Markus' family and him discovering his powers and how he is learning to balance them with high school. I really liked the minimal line art and color palette used; it's marks a stark contrast from other superhero books and their hyper detail and layered color effects, which I think is the point. This book is a superhero book, but it's different from the rest. I'll definitely be continuing with this series.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Ghosts Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute and somewhat touching story about the bonds between sisters, told with the backdrop of Dia de los Muertos. Catrina and her family has moved to the northern coast of California so that her sister Maya, who has cystic fibrosis, has a better time breathing with the cool salty air off the ocean. Catrina does not like having to have moved away from her friends, but has done so begrudgingly for her sister. When she and Maya discover that there are ghosts in their new town, they are taught about some of the history of Dia de los Muertos and also learn a little about respecting those that have passed. I sometimes think that the explanations around Dia de los Muertos seemed maybe a little too simplistic, but that may just be me. If nothing else, it has made me want to learn a little more about the history and traditions surrounding the day.

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Star Wars: Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe by Emil Fortune, illustrated by Tim McDonagh

Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe by LucasFilm Book Group
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Star Wars, especially of the new interconnected canon, this book is for you. Including a timeline, a who's who of important figures in the Star Wars universe, information on the more important planets in the Star Wars galaxies, and then more detailed maps of the areas of importance on each of these planets, this books has a little bit of everything to help you map out the where/when/who of the new canon. Very informative and artistically detailed, this is an excellent addition to any Star Wars fan's library. I'm hoping that as future movies, books, and cartoons are released, they will release updated editions of this book to include the new locales. A Star Wars geek's dream!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Naughty Mabel Sees It All by Nathan Lane & Devlin Elliott, illustrated by Dan Krall

Naughty Mabel Sees It All Naughty Mabel Sees It All by Nathan Lane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Naughty Mabel makes her return with this second volume, which I found a huge improvement over her first story (Nathan Lane is such a comedy genius, and for him to resort to fart humor, regardless of how funny kids will find it, left me disappointed). This time out, Mabel is seeing things, which makes her inherent naughtiness even worse, and until her parents can figure out why she's seeing things, Mabel continues to wreak havoc. Dan Krall's illustrations are perfect once again, and I'm actually now hoping that we'll be seeing more of Mabel in the future.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

I Hate Fairyland, Vol 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young

I Hate Fairyland, Volume 2: Fluff My Life I Hate Fairyland, Volume 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Picking up directly where the first volume leaves off, this volume of I Hate Fairyland, with Gert now Queen of Fairyland, and that goes about as well as you'd expect. She is eventually ousted from the throne and continues her search for a way home, dragging the unfortunate Larry along the way.

While Scottie Young's writing is still funny and his art is as madcap as ever (and Jean-Francois Beaulieu's eye-popping colors are eye-popping!), this volume was far more episodic than the previous story arc, with each issue more or less playing out the same scenario each time: Gert finds a "new" way home each issue, which of course turns out not to be a way home and then she fights her way out of the situation in the usual bloodbath, end of issue. The final issue of the collection does offer an interesting post-apocalyptic view of Fairyland, but it's actually not made clear whether the series is continuing after this volume (which there will be after a short break until the monthly series picks back up again in March), so the casual reader may be confused about whether this is actually the close of the series.

I'll be picking up the next collection of the series for sure, regardless of the slight disappointment that came with this issue, because I Hate Fairyland is still one of the most original comics that I've read in a long time.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Star Wars: Han Solo by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Mark Brooks

Han Solo Han Solo by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I believe this volume takes place shortly after Episode IV: A New Hope.

After deciding to take a break from the Rebellion and go back to being a smuggler, Han Solo is abruptly pulled back into the Rebellion by Leia with a proposal he finds hard to turn down: a chance to race the Dragon Void run, a prestigious racing competition. Of course, Leia has ulterior motives for needing Han, but all he sees is a chance at the prestige of winning this race. The race itself made me feel a little like this was a galactic version of the Hunger Games, as the race's organizers set up specific obstacles for the racers to avoid (not that this is a race to the death, but I just got the impression of that idea). There was also a little more science fiction than I'm used to with Star Wars, with the inclusion of wormholes and other dimensions, but it worked really well here. Marjorie Liu really had a grasp of the characters and handled them quite well; I had no problem hearing Han's and Leia's voices in my head. Mark Brooks' art is fantastic here and I'm hoping that Marvel utilizes him more frequently on the Star Wars titles. Overall, this is a solid addition to the Marvel portion of the Star Wars universe.

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is Carrie Fisher's memoir of her time during the filming of Star Wars Episode IV, including entries from the diaries she kept during that time that she recently discovered. I think this was the first time that Fisher really talked about her relationship with Leia, and what Leia has offered to her over the years. She also talks about her fans, and how much they mean to her and everything about the ending of the book was so much more heartbreaking given the circumstances. I was genuinely surprised by how touching her closing chapters were, in regards to her relationship with Leia and the Star Wars community as a whole.

It was a little surreal reading this so soon after both her death and her mother's, as she talks frequently about her mother in the book, as well as mentioning a couple of times, in an offhand manner, how she would like to be remembered for certain events. Perhaps it was too soon for me after her death. Not that I was ever necessarily a huge Carrie Fisher fan, but I've certainly been a Star Wars fan my whole life (I saw the original Star Wars when it was released - I was 3), so while there was never necessarily a Carrie Fisher in a my life, there has always been a Princess Leia, and it seemed to hit home a little for me. It also made me unreasonably angry that Carrie Fisher died; in a year of so many celebrity deaths, it seemed like just another death to some, but it made me angry because she overcame so much, and still had so much to do and offer to the world. So, yeah - maybe I should have put a little time in between her death and reading this book, knowing it was her last, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. It is typically funny in that Carrie Fisher way, but equally sad given the circumstances. I fairly certain, however, that again, in that typically funny Carrie Fisher way, she would have found some way to turn her death into an appropriate epilogue to this book.

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