Friday, May 13, 2022

Devil's Reign by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Marco Checcetto

Devil's Reign Devil's Reign by Chip Zdarsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having not read any of Zdarsky’s work on Daredevil, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. Even though it’s basically a Civil War redux, I still found it engaging. Zdarsky has a clear vision of these characters and Checcetto’s art is top notch throughout.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Molly on the Moon by Mary Robinette Kowel, illustrated by Diana Mayo

Molly on the Moon Molly on the Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

MOLLY ON THE MOON, written by @maryrobinettekowal and illustrated by @dianamayoillo from #roaringbrookpress, is a beautiful story about the power of creativity, sharing, sibling love, and science. This is Mary Robinette Kowal’s first children’s book and it’s just a brilliant as any of her other books. I had not experienced Diana Mayo’s art before, but it is charming and captures Mary Robinette’s story perfectly. I appreciated the afterword from MRK discussing some of the science behind living on the moon in terms that young readers will understand. Yay science!! @mackidsbooks

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror edited by John F.D. Taff


Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror

edited by John F.D. Taff
Published by Tor Nightfire • May 10, 2022
368 Pages
ISBN 978-1250817327 • Hardcover

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Book description:
Dark Stars, edited by John F.D. Taff, is a tribute to horror's longstanding short fiction legacy, featuring 12 terrifying original stories from today's most noteworthy authors.

Within these pages you'll find tales of dead men walking, an insidious secret summer fling, an island harboring unspeakable power, and a dark hallway that beckons. You'll encounter terrible monsters--both human and supernatural--and be forever changed. The stories in Dark Stars run the gamut from traditional to modern, from dark fantasy to neo-noir, from explorations of beloved horror tropes to the unknown--possibly unknowable--threats.

It's all in here because it's all out there, now, in horror.

Dark Stars features all-new stories from the following award-winning authors and up-and-coming voices: Chesya Burke, Ramsey Campbell, Gemma Files, Stephen Graham Jones, Alma Katsu, Caroline Kepnes, John Langan, Livia Llewellyn, Josh Malerman, Usman T. Malik, Priya Sharma, and John F.D. Taff.

Created as an homage to the 1980 classic horror anthology Dark Forces, edited by Kirby McCauley, Dark Stars also features an introduction by Josh Malerman and an afterword from original contributor Ramsey Campbell--a poignant finale to this bone-chilling collection. 

This delicious book of tasty horror morsels dropped this week from @tornightfire and it’s another fantastic addition to their growing library of releases. Josh Malerman says it best in his foreword, about how we are currently in the midst of a horror renaissance, and I couldn’t be happier. What I’m loving most about this new wave of horror is that so much of it reaches beyond the typical horror tropes and creatures, delving more into a psychological horror that plays with the reader's emotions and challenges what we have typically seen as horror. With an anthology like this, there are obviously some stories that resonated more strongly with me than others, but as a whole, this collection is a solid piece of creeptastic reading fun.

“The Attenionist” by Caroline Kepnes read more as a psychological piece than horror, but the impending sense of doom that pervades the story definitely left me feeling sufficiently creeped out.

In “A Life in Nightmares” by Ramsey Campbell, we witness the life of Maurice as it jumps from event to event through the lens of a fever dream made possibly real.

“Papa Eye” by Priya Sharma is not necessarily something I would consider as horror, but more of a folk tale about the burdens and joys of eternal life. I think.

“Volcano” by Alicia Llewelyn is a tale of cosmic horror that left me feeling a bit lost on where the story went, and while this is intentional, I always feel like I missed something obvious in these types of stories.

“All the Things He Called Memories” is classic Stephen Graham Jones and his genius in building an excellent tale, but this being my first COVID-related horror story, it may have hit a little too close to home.

“Trinity River Blues” by Chesya Burke is another story that I wouldn’t necessarily label as horror but more along the lines of urban fantasy about a woman who can see ghosts and is cursed by one. I think I would enjoy this one even more if it was fleshed out into a full length novel.

“The Familiar’s Assistant” by Alma Katsu - suicide by vampires. That is all.

“Swim in the Blood of a Curious Dream” by John FD Taff follows and creepy AF journey by a father and son after the mother’s death.

“The Sanguinstalist" by Gemma Files is another that doesn't necessarily feel like horror to me, but I would definitely be down for this to be adapted into a longer novel, or a series based in this world. Also, nothing is explained, which doesn't always work for me, but here it definitely does.

“Mrs. Addison’s Nest" by Josh Malerman reminded me of Stephen King in a way, as it deals with childhood friends facing their fears, which is something King does very well. Of course, Malerman handles this same idea perfectly, but in his own way, making something that feels familiar but is ultimately unique to him.

“Challawa" by Usman T. Mallik follows a Pakastani woman as she visits her small hometown with her husband, and things get... weird. Much like "Papa Eye", perhaps it's the folk horror that doesn't really resonate all that well with me.

“Enough for Hunger and Enough for Hate" by John Langan, where a woman confronts her brother's potential killer, is a great way to close out this collection. The suspense is great, and the tension that builds throughout is palpable.
 
Overall, a solid piece of reading. Tor Nightfire has continued to impress with with their releases so far, and with their first anthology, they did not disappoint!
 
A huge thanks to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for supplying a digital eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
 
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Saturday, May 7, 2022

X-Men Legends, Vol 2 by Larry Hama, et al

X-Men Legends, Vol. 2 X-Men Legends, Vol. 2 by Larry Hama
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

X-Men Legends, Vol 2, collecting X-Men Legends (2021) #7-12. Seeing some old-school writers and artists get to bring some ideas from their original runs to life is cool, but I feel like this series will really only be appreciated by those of us who have been reading for the last 40 years or so. Still, a fun collection. The definite highlight for me is seeing Walter Simonson back on the X-characters. He was always a favorite of mine back in the day.

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Thursday, May 5, 2022

The World of Yaxin: Day of the Unicorn by Man Arenas

The World of Yaxin: Day of the Unicorn The World of Yaxin: Day of the Unicorn by Man Arenas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

@magneticpress is at it again, releasing another gorgeous volume! THE WORLD OF YAXIN: DAY OF THE UNICORN by @man_arenas is a beautiful dream of a book, both in story and art. On a magical island, a young fawn marvels at the birth of a unicorn and wonders at what their place will be in this magical land. Both lyrical and poetic, this book is a work of art and one of those books that seems to transcend the page into something marvelous. Highly recommended!

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

Knight Owl Knight Owl by Christopher Denise
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this adorable picture book, young Owl, who dreams of someday becoming a knight, learns that with strength and confidence you can be brave in the scariest of circumstances, and maybe even find some friends along the way.

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

A Mirror Mended A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The follow-up to A SPINDLE SPLINTERED, @alix.e.harrow’s A MIRROR MENDED finds that Zinnia Gray has possibly come to the end of her crusade to save Sleeping Beauties from their preordained fates. However, that doesn't mean her adventure has come to an end, as she is pulled into a story not hers and comes face to face with the Evil Queen of Snow White's story. As in A Spindle Splintered, though, we learn that possibly the tale we thought we all knew about the Queen and Snow White may not be the full story, and in this Fractured Fable, the villain may not be as recognizable as we think.

Harrow's books are fantastic - she takes a story we're all familiar with and completely turns it on its beautiful, queer head and creates something still familiar, but oh so brilliantly fresh out it. I hope we'll be seeing more of her Fractured Fables throughout the years.

A huge thanks to @goodreads and @tordotcompub for an advanced print copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. Out June 14, 2022.

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Sunday, April 17, 2022

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures: The Monster of Temple Peak by Cavan Scott, illustrated by Rachael Stott

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures—The Monster of Temple Peak #1 Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures—The Monster of Temple Peak #1 by Cavan Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually read the entire thing, but because there isn't a collected edition in the works since IDW is losing their Star Wars license to Dark Horse, I'm just using the first issue as a place holder for my review for the time being (it's almost funny, that this was originally supposed to be an original graphic novel that was then split into a 4 issue limited series, now possibly not to be recollected into it's original, intended format). This was an OK story, like most of the IDW offerings. They've all just been OK.

This volume centers on Ty Yorrick, a former Padawan now mercenary and monster hunter for hire. She's been one of the characters that I've found most interesting, as I'm always intrigued by the characters who are disillusioned with the Jedi and the Force. I'm glad that we were able to get a little more of her backstory here (we get to see some of her time as a Padawan, and a definitive event in what made her leave the order), and I'm hoping that we'll be able to see more of her in the future. The rest of the story here is fairly straight forward - Yorrick is hired to hunt down a mysterious monster that is terrorizing a settlement, but of course, nothing is as it seems, and the Monster of Temple Peak may not be who they think it is. I thoroughly enjoyed Rachael Stott's art in the series; I'd definitely like to see more of her work on Star Wars series in the future.

Unless you are a completist like me with Star Wars, you won't be missing anything from the main, overall story arc of the High Republic, but this was still a fun little side adventure.

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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Radiant Black Vol 2: Team-Up by Kyle Higgins, et al

Radiant Black Vol. 2: Team-Up Radiant Black Vol. 2: Team-Up by Kyle Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

RADIANT BLACK continues to be excellent. This second volume delves a little into some mind bending backstory of what the Radiants are, and we get some history on Pink and how she came into possession of her Radiant. The writing is solid and the art is quite impressive - especially with the inter dimensional/intergalactic aspects. This will be a series I’ll be continuing to look forward to. Collecting issues #7-12 of the series from @imagecomics

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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Star Wars: The High Republic: Midnight Horizon by Daneil José Older

Midnight Horizon Midnight Horizon by Daniel José Older
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Still not a fan of Daniel José Older's take on Star Wars. MIDNIGHT HORIZON is full of plots that don't really seem to have much to do with the overreaching arc of the other High Republic books. There is an abundance of characters that are carryovers from his High Republic Adventures comic from IDW, so I feel if you haven't read that series, you're going to be confused about who these new characters are (I was - I've only read the first 6 or so issues, so didn't know who some of the characters even were in this book, which has not been an issue with the other High Republic books). While the book is YA, Older writes these characters in a far more juvenile fashion than they've been written by the other High Republic authors who have written the YA books. The shoehorned mention of the Halcyon (not necessarily Older's doing, but more Disney making sure the new hotel is name-dropped yet again in canon here).

The first 2/3 of the book is some convoluted story dealing with the Nihil possibly getting a foothold on Corelia, with Padawan's Ram Jomaram & Reath Silas getting wrapped up with a security detail on Corelia and something to do with Zeen portraying a pop star at a party to try to flush out the potential Corelian traitor - it all got overly complicated and none of it seemed to make sense to me, quite frankly. It wasn't until the other Jedi showed up and the Nihil make their actual appearance that things begin to happen in the book. Against the backdrop of what is happening at Starlight Beacon at the end of Fallen Star, events in the book finally begin to feel that they are going to have consequences to the main story line.

I hate to say it, but I feel like the biggest fan of Daniel José Older's writing is Older himself. He doesn't write other creator's characters well, and he overemphasizes his own characters. This is one of the few High Republic books that I feel could be skipped, and readers wouldn't necessarily feel like they've missed something in the grand scope of the story.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Gallant Gallant by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Schwab continues to impress with her genre-defying fantasies, this a Gothic tale of family secrets, ghosts, ghouls, and a battle against death itself. At the center of the tale, Gallant, an estate that sits at the edge of the land of the dead, and Olivia, an orphan who has long yearned for a family of her own, only to find that that family is nothing like what she imagined, but she may be the only one who can save them. The book itself is gorgeous, full of art and imagery that vividly brings the dark, haunted world of Gallant and Olivia's family to life on the page. I know this will be a book that I will enjoy revisiting in the future.

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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Spectacle, Vol 2 by Megan Rose Gedris

Spectacle Vol. 2 Spectacle Vol. 2 by Megan Rose Gedris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second volume of Megan Rose Gedris’ SPECTACLE doesn’t really do much to move the story along; if nothing else, there are more layers added to a secondary mystery that has no resolution come the end of this volume, let alone finding out anymore about who murdered Anna’s sister, Kat. So, there’s the continued murder mystery, a mystery concerning a demon who has something to do with Kat, a mystery concerning the circus possibly being cursed, and a mystery about when the twins were young girls and something to do with their grandmother. Lots and lots and lots of mysteries. And little to no movement of the story along this volume. My library doesn’t have the next volume, but I discovered the series is serialized on Gedris’ website, so I’ll pick it up there. I’m invested enough now to know what’s going on, I just wish it was moving a bit faster.

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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Ice Cream Man, Vol 1: Rainbow Sprinkles: Dr. Seuss Parody Edition by W. Maxwell Prince, et al

Ice Cream Man Volume 1: Dr. Seuss Parody Edition Ice Cream Man Volume 1: Dr. Seuss Parody Edition by W. Maxwell Prince
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picked this up the other day because the cover caught my eye, and I’m really glad I did. Collecting the first 4 issues of the series, this gave me a horror-flavored Twilight Zone vibe. The stories aren’t necessarily connected, other than the eponymous Ice Cream Man, who more or less narrates what’s going on in each issue. There may be an overreaching arc, but that’s not made 100% clear in this particular volume. It’s definitely an odd collection of stories, but I enjoyed it enough to want to read some more, so I’ll be seeing if the library can get this one in for me. @imagecomics

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Monday, March 14, 2022

Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows by Daniel José Older, et al

Star Wars: The High Republic - Trail of Shadows Star Wars: The High Republic - Trail of Shadows by Daniel José Older
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just finished STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC: TRAIL OF SHADOWS and it left me very… meh. Unfortunately, I feel this way about almost anything Daniel José Older writes for Star Wars. His plots are usually too big and scattershot, he focuses far too much on his own characters and not the overall cast at large, doesn’t write characters that aren’t his creations like themselves, and sometimes his stuff comes across more like fanfic than actual in-continuity stories, IMO.

I’m not even sure what the point of this series was. I thought it was supposed to be about Jedi Emerick Caphtor and private investigator Sian Holt trying to figure out what happened to Loden Greatstorm at the end of THE RISING STORM. There’s a lot of jumping around in the story, connecting the dots on stuff that didn’t actually seem all that important to the story, and then dropping what seemed like a possible love interest into the story that seemed very unnecessary. For a 5 issue limited series, I feel there were far too many subplots and if this had been tightened down to strictly the investigation, and one that did seem to have some solid resolution to it, I think this would have been far better. I don’t think anyone other than hardcore fans of The High Republic will find this as necessary reading; the casual reader can easily skip this series and not miss anything from the larger scope of the story.

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Monday, March 7, 2022

Secret Identity by Alex Segura

Secret Identity Secret Identity by Alex Segura
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first heard about @alexsegurajr’s SECRET IDENTITY, a noir murder mystery set in the world of 1970s comic book publishers, I knew right off I wanted to read it. What I wasn’t expecting was in addition to the murder mystery, Segura also delivers a story dealing with the hyper-sexist world of comic books in the 70s (which is still prevalent today, unfortunately), as seen through the eyes of the protagonist, Carmen Valdez, who desperately wants to break into the comics business as a writer, but being a woman means that is almost impossible for her. When she is finally presented the opportunity to help create a female hero for the company where she works as a secretary, she thinks she’s found her chance. However, when she’s convinced by her partner, Harvey, to keep her part in the Legendary Lynx’s creation a secret and Harvey is subsequently murdered, Carmen must find out what happened to Harvey if she’s ever going to be able to prove she is really the brains behind the Lynx.

What’s already a great story is improved on with interspersed pages of the comic Carmen helped create. These glimpses into what The Legendary Lynx comics would have looked like just add more of a real-world feel to the story, which is already sprinkled throughout with the names of actual comics greats from the time.

As a lifelong comic book fan myself, I really enjoyed the setting for SECRET IDENTITY, and I wish I could actually read The Legendary Lynx. The murder mystery is well-paced, the characters are all fleshed out and feel real, the writing creates the dirty feel of NYC in the 70s… this is just a great book overall. SECRET IDENTITY by Alex Segura will hit shelves March 15, 2022.

A huge thanks to @flatiron_books and @goodreads for the advanced copy of SECRET IDENTITY in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, March 6, 2022

Spectacle, Book 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

Spectacle Vol. 1 Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anna and Kat are twin sisters working in the Samson Brothers Circus, Anna as a psychic and Kat as a knife thrower. However, when Kat is found murdered, Anna is put on the job of finding her murderer and it turns out there may be more to Anna’s “psychic” powers than anyone first thought. A fun start to the SPECTACLE graphic novel series by Megan Rose Gedris from Oni Press, there’s a little bit of murder, mystery, romance, supernatural shenanigans, and ghosts.

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa, translated by Louise Heal Kawai

The Cat Who Saved Books The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Books have a soul… A book that sits on a shelf is nothing but a bundle of paper. Unless it is opened, a book possessing great power or an epic story is mere scraps of paper. But a book that has been cherished and loved, filled with human thoughts, has been endowed with a soul.”

Just finished this little gem of book. Sosuke Natsukawa’s THE CAT WHO SAVED BOOKS is a love story to books and anyone who loves them.

After the death of his grandfather, high school student Rintaro Natsuki finds himself at something of a loss and not sure what to do with himself. To occupy the time until he’s to move in with his aunt, he keeps up his grandfather’s routine of running the family bookshop. One day, an orange tabby appears in the shop, requesting Rintaro’s help in saving some books from being imprisoned and thus begins this fantastic story of friendship and a shared love of books. A quick read, but delightful none the less. Translated by Louise Heal Kawai. @harperviabooks

An added bonus, this fits the January selection for @a.novel.concept’s #lansingreads22 2022 Reading Challenge: a book by a Japanese writer in translation. I discovered their challenge just recently, so I’m running a little late@to the party, but I’ll catch up!

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Thursday, February 17, 2022

Wicked Stepmother by Michael McDowell

Wicked Stepmother Wicked Stepmother by Michael McDowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No review because the publisher can't handle getting a bad review on one of their books, so I will no longer be reviewing any of their books, regardless of how much I enjoy it.

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

Recitatif: A Story by Toni Morrison

Recitatif: A Story Recitatif: A Story by Toni Morrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

RECITATIF is Toni Morrison’s only short story and is a study in racial identity. The story of Twyla and Roberta bounces throughout their lives from when they meet as young girl at the St. Bonaventure shelter and again as they encounter each other at different points in their lives. Everything is told from Twyla’s first person perspective, and we see how racial tensions put a strain on their friendship built in the past. The important part of this story is that Morrison makes it very clear from the beginning that one little girl is Black and the other white, but she never makes clear which girl is which race, leaving it up to the reader to make their own decisions based on their own biases as to who is who. It’s a fascinating study. There’s nothing overt in either woman’s description, from either the time they are young girls or at any other point throughout their lives, that would point to either being Black or white, yet as the reader, I felt compelled to make a decision in my head, but I’ll keep that decision to myself. @aaknopf

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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Geiger, Vol 1 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, & Brad Anderson

Geiger, Vol. 1 Geiger, Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an unexpectedly great read! GEIGER, by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Brad Anderson from @imagecomics, set in a near-future post-apocalyptic United States, is the story of Tariq Geiger and his mission to save his family from a nuclear bomb dropped in the Unknown War of 2030. Caught outside in the blast, Geiger survives due to the experimental cancer radiation treatments he was undergoing. Now it is 2050, and Geiger, known as the Glowing Man in urban legend, stands guard at the door to the nuclear shelter where his family has been locked away, waiting for the day that he can let them out safely.

This book sets up an alternate history, where in addition to legends such as Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed, there are other urban legends woven into American history, called the Unnamed. In this alternate United States, these Unnamed seem to spring up during times of war, and the Glowing Man is just the latest of these legends. Future series will highlight these legends, such as Junkyard Joe and Redcoat. The storytelling in this initial volume is solid, and the art is great. Geiger is a great character design and looks fantastic when he unleashes his power. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the continuing stories set in this world.

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Gwen, in Green by Hugh Zachary

Gwen, in Green Gwen, in Green by Hugh Zachary
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

WTF did I just read?!

GWEN, IN GREEN by Hugh Zachary is the latest release in the Paperbacks From Hell collaboration, and I think this is one of the more whackadoo books in the series, and that’s saying something as there are a lot of weird books released in this series. There’s some pseudoscience about plants being telepathic, a touch of horror, and lots and lots of sex and outdated sexual ideas about women, which is specifically covered in the introduction by Will Errickson, who tries to explain away the way Gwen is treated as a timid sexually frigid woman as a sign of the times the book was written, while never touching on the fact that Gwen basically statutorily rapes all the 13 year old boys in town. I guess that’s ok because they’re boys? I’m pretty sure if the genders were flipped in that particular scenario, this book would have never seen the light of day in this series. Plus, maybe aliens? I don’t know. The Paperbacks From Hell have generally been a hit for me, but aside from the all-over-the-place writing and storytelling, I think all of the over-the-top sexual identity issues in this book really did not work for me, despite the introduction trying to warn me about this very thing. Perhaps this is one particular volume that should have stayed obscure.

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Saturday, February 5, 2022

Saga, Vol 9 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 9 Saga, Volume 9 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Saga continues to be one of the stronger graphic novels that I've been reading, and the ending to this volume... And a year hiatus to the series... ugh ETA: A year hiatus that turned into 3...

I knew the hiatus was coming after this volume, but I wasn't expecting this ending. Needless to say, there are several THINGS in this volume, especially ONE THING that happens at the end and if you're a fan of this series, you're in for a shock. That's all I can say, because SPOILERS.

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Saga, Vol 8 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 8 Saga, Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Saga is another series that continues to surprise me with how much I enjoy it. I did not like the first volume of the collected editions the first time I read it, and set the entire series aside in my head. Cut to about a year later, and a friend convinced me to give the series a try again, so I picked up the first volume again and something clicked for me this time - the story really stuck with me (Vaughn's writing really hit home for me the second reading), and Staples artwork is spot on perfect for this story.

As the series has progressed, it has become way more timely and aware of what's going on in the real world today and bringing those themes into the story; themes of acceptance for those who are different (or lack of acceptance in some cases), trans rights, women's rights, etc. What started out to me as being a simple battle between two cultures who cannot accept each other's differences has become a story that is still about these problems, but one that is now holding up a mirror to what's going on in the real world. Staples art has continued to shine issue after issue and while there does seem to be a whole lot of nothing happening from one story arc to another, the storytelling is still strong and Vaughn continues to move the characters along, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I'd like, but it still seems to work. I'll continue to read this series as long as Vaughn and Staples continue to out out such strong work.

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Saga, Vol 7 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 7 Saga, Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Saga is another series that continues to surprise me with how much I enjoy it. I did not like the first volume of the collected editions the first time I read it, and set the entire series aside in my head. Cut to about a year later, and a friend convinced me to give the series a try again, so I picked up the first volume again and something clicked for me this time - the story really stuck with me (Vaughn's writing really hit home for me the second reading), and Staples artwork is spot on perfect for this story.

As the series has progressed, it has become way more timely and aware of what's going on in the real world today and bringing those themes into the story; themes of acceptance for those who are different (or lack of acceptance in some cases), trans rights, women's rights, etc. What started out to me as being a simple battle between two cultures who cannot accept each other's differences has become a story that is still about these problems, but one that is now holding up a mirror to what's going on in the real world. Staples art has continued to shine issue after issue and while there does seem to be a whole lot of nothing happening from one story arc to another, the storytelling is still strong and Vaughn continues to move the characters along, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I'd like, but it still seems to work. I'll continue to read this series as long as Vaughn and Staples continue to out out such strong work.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Star Wars: The High Republic: The Battle for Starlight by George Mann, illustrated by Tomato Farm

Star Wars The High Republic: The Battle for Starlight Star Wars The High Republic: The Battle for Starlight by George Mann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very quick recap of the events from THE FALLEN STAR, this children's book does a fairly good job of creating the sense of urgency from that novel, while keeping it at a level that kids will be able to appreciate and understand.

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Saga, Vol 6 by Brian K Vaughan & 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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Saga, Vol 5 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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

I remember reading this and just not vibing with it originally. Cut to a couple of years later, and a buddy convinces me to try it again, and I was HOOKED. Cut to several years later yet again, and re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the release of the very long overdue next issue in the series after hiatus, and damn this story still holds up. I don't know why I didn't like it the first time. It's funny, brutal, violent, naughty, but at the center of all of it, the story has heart. So glad I'm getting to enjoy this series all over again.

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Star Wars: The High Republic: Mission to Disaster by Justina Ireland, illustrated by Pétur Antonsson

Mission to Disaster Mission to Disaster by Justina Ireland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've really enjoyed Justina Ireland's other entries in the High Republic initiative so far, but this one just didn't really work for me. I did listen to it as an audiobook as the print edition was delayed, so I'll try reading it through and see how it holds up that way. Basically, the entire idea of this book is how to move Starlight Beacon around the galaxy via hyperspace, setting up moving it to Eiram so that it is in place for the events of THE FALLEN STAR. Also, it shoehorns the Halcyon Legacy into the story just to make it part of the canon now (the HL being the new, much-maligned-before-it's-even-opened Disney hotel experience). Fans of Vernestra Rwoh and the group of kids who have formed their own little band around her won't be dissappointed, as they all have a chance to shine in this novel.

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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Saga, Vol 4 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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

I remember reading this and just not vibing with it originally. Cut to a couple of years later, and a buddy convinces me to try it again, and I was HOOKED. Cut to several years later yet again, and re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the release of the very long overdue next issue in the series after hiatus, and damn this story still holds up. I don't know

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Saga, Vol 3 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 3 Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember reading this and just not vibing with it originally. Cut to a couple of years later, and a buddy convinces me to try it again, and I was HOOKED. Cut to several years later yet again, and re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the release of the very long overdue next issue in the series after hiatus, and damn this story still holds up. I don't know why I didn't like it the first time. It's funny, brutal, violent, naughty, but at the center of all of it, the story has heart. So glad I'm getting to enjoy this series all over again.

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Saga, Vol 2 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 2 Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember reading this and just not vibing with it originally. Cut to a couple of years later, and a buddy convinces me to try it again, and I was HOOKED. Cut to several years later yet again, and re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the release of the very long overdue next issue in the series after hiatus, and damn this story still holds up. I don't know why I didn't like it the first time. It's funny, brutal, violent, naughty, but at the center of all of it, the story has heart. So glad I'm getting to enjoy this series all over again.

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Saga, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 1 Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember reading this and just not vibing with it originally. Cut to a couple of years later, and a buddy convinces me to try it again, and I was HOOKED. Cut to several years later yet again, and re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the release of the very long overdue next issue in the series after hiatus, and damn this story still holds up. I don't know why I didn't like it the first time. It's funny, brutal, violent, naughty, but at the center of all of it, the story has heart. So glad I'm getting to enjoy this series all over again.

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Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

The Postmistress of Paris The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meg Waite Clayton is my favorite writer of historical fiction. Her ability to create these fascinating stories inspired by real people, especially overlooked women in history, and infuse them with true heart and soul is second to none, IMO. Her latest novel, THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS, is no exception. Here we are introduced to Nanée, a wealthy and beautiful woman who lives in Paris when WWII breaks out. Using her wealth and status as a US citizen, she helps deliver messages to those in hiding, eventually helping the real-life Varian Fry in helping to smuggle artists in danger out of France. Inspired by the real life of Mary Jayne Gold, a Chicago heiress, Clayton again has shed light for me on people who lived through these terrifying times. Often, we know the broader strokes of the story, but it’s the fine details of these lesser known people who risked their lives for those around them that are to time, and through her in-depth research, Clayton helps to shine a light on them. I’ll be looking forward to her next novel. @harperbooks

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Star Wars: The Story of the Faithful Wookiee: A Little Golden Book

The Story of the Faithful Wookiee The Story of the Faithful Wookiee by Golden Books
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The wildly incredible and equally terrible animated short from the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special gets the Little Golden Book treatment, and it is as incredible and terrible as you would expect it to be.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Star Wars: The High Republic: The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray

The Fallen Star The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The closing chapter to the main High Republic novel series, THE FALLEN STAR, is intense. Told from multiple interconnecting viewpoints, which I think is something Claudia Gray excels at (her LOST STARS and BLOODLINE Star Wars novels are other excellent examples of this), we see the culmination of Marchion Ro's plan to bring the Jedi down and show that the Nihil are the ultimate force in the Outer Rim. No one is safe in this plan, so I hope no one has grown too attached to certain characters, as not everyone makes it out of this book alive. A remarkably solid ending to the first wave of stories, there are also plenty of questions still in place for the next wave of books coming later in the year. This is definitely a necessary read if you're a fan of the High Republic series.

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Monday, January 24, 2022

You Are Released by Joe Hill

You Are Released You Are Released by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received this terrifying chapbook in the mail from @lividianpub the other day, and leave it to @joe_hill to leave me completely unnerved about flying in less than 40 pages.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

X-Men: Inferno by Jonathan Hickman, et al

X-Men: Inferno X-Men: Inferno by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

INFERNO wraps up Jonathan Hickman’s run on his X-Men reboot and while there were some stumbles along the way for me, the overall story he created is a solid base for future creators to build on. Bringing back Destiny in this series was so exciting for me, as she has always been one of my favorite characters, and with the next storytelling phase being called Destiny of X, I’m assuming she’ll be playing a larger role in the coming months. @marvel

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