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 NanĂ©e, 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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Friday, January 21, 2022

Moon Knight, Vol 1: The Midnight Mission by Jed MacKay, illustrated by Alessandro Cappuccio

Moon Knight, Vol. 1: The Midnight Mission Moon Knight, Vol. 1: The Midnight Mission by Jed Mackay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finished reading the first 6 issues of the new Moon Knight series by Jed MacKay & Alessandro Cappuccio (@alessandro__cappuccio) from @marvel and it’s a solid start to the new series. Heavy on the action, it’s establishing some new characters (the /other/ Fist of Khonshu), and bringing back some familiar faces (Tigra), and setting a great villain against MK (Zodiac), while also handling MK’s DID issues. I’ll definitely be keeping up with this series, as Moon Knight has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters, and the story and art in this new series is great. Also a great way to set up great expectations for the new @themoonknight series on Disney+.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler's Run by Greg Rucka, adapted by Alec Worley, et al

Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler's Run Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler's Run by Alec Worley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

Another graphic novel adaptation from @idwpublishing of an earlier published middle grade novel by Greg Rucka, STAR WARS ADVENTURES: SMUGGLER’S RUN takes us on an adventure this time with Han Solo and Chewbacca, on a top secret mission for Princess Leia, trying to rescue a Rebel lieutenant before the Empire can apprehend him. We get to see that Han Solo is not entirely the scoundrel that he likes people to believe he is, as he proves yet again that he’s willing to step up and do the right thing when needed, especially when he’s got Chewbacca pushing him in the right direction. Like THE WEAPON OF A JEDI, this is definitely not a necessary read, but something fun for fans of Star Wars to enjoy. @starwars

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Saturday, January 15, 2022

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky

Chouette Chouette by Claire Oshetsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not even going to pretend to understand what I just read. CHOUETTE by Claire Oshetsky from @eccobooks is about a mother who gives birth to an owl-baby and the lengths that she’ll go to to protect her daughter, who is a savage, wild, untamed thing. It is a fascinating, sometimes unnerving bit of magical (sur)realism that I couldn’t put down, but don’t know that I can adequately explain. You’ll need to experience the book itself to understand what I mean.

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Juice Like Wounds by Seanan McGuire

Juice Like Wounds Juice Like Wounds by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Juice Like Wounds, a short interlude in @seananmcguire’s Wayward Children series from @tordotcompub, drops us back into Lundy’s time at the Goblin Market and we are given answers to what happened to Mockery and why Lundy left the Market for the first time. While being a short story, this tale is no less powerful than any of the other novellas that comprise the main series. For fans of Lundy and her time at the Goblin Market, this will be a heartbreaking yet beautiful return to that world. You can find the story on Tor’s website or by simply googling Juice Like Wounds.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry, et al

Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and try to consume as much of the media as I can. I especially enjoy the books and comics when they fill in holes from the main film narratives, such as STAR WARS ADVENTURES: THE WEAPON OF A JEDI attempts to do. Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, this story somewhat fills in how Luke seems to have improved in his understanding of the Force, despite having yet to meet Yoda.

It’s a fairly simple story, as Luke, R2-D2, and C-3PO are stranded on a remote planet and Luke discovers a lost Jedi temple where he learns to feel the connection of the Force through the myriad of all living things around him, by simply sparring with a trio of training remotes.

While still far too simple an explanation for Luke’s improvement in the Force with no teacher, it still attempts to fill that gap. Based on a middle grade novel of the same name written by Jason Fry released prior to the release of The Force Awakens, it originally promised clues to the new film, which at the time I was sure was going to be the new character Sarco Plank, but that character was only a brief cameo in the film, and I’ve never figured out what the clue was supposed to be. Either way, as the original novel or this new adaptation, it’s a fun bit of Star Wars fluff to enjoy. @idwpublishing @starwars

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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire

Where the Drowned Girls Go Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are schools other than Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, and in @seananmcguire’s latest from @tordotcompub, Where the Drowned Girls Go, we are introduced to the Whitethorn Institute and its staff of nameless matrons and a headmaster who is remarkably unmemorable.

After her journey to the Moors and her brush with the Drowned Gods there, Cora decides she needs a different path than the one Miss West’s school is offering her. She transfers to the Whitethorn Institute and quickly discovers there is something very wrong with this school. When Sumi also transfers to the Institute with the express purpose of bringing Cora home, the friends quickly discover that if they are to survive in this world or any other, they need to escape the seemingly impenetrable walls of Whitethorn. Turns out, sometimes all you need is a little inner strength and faith in yourself to defeat your demons.

McGuire gives us our first true villain in the “real” world, and I’m here for him. There is so much mystery surrounding Whitethorn and his institute and he’s so damned unnerving. An excellent, if not slightly terrifying, addition to the cast of characters for these books.

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Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Across the Green Grass Fields Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won’t lie, @seananmcguire’s Across the Green Grass Fields from @tordotcompub, the sixth book in her Wayward Children series, is my least favorite of the series. Perhaps it’s because this is a complete standalone novella, not attached to any of the previous narrative. Perhaps it’s because I feel McGuire hits the inclusiveness nail a little too firmly on the head this time, making it feel less natural in the telling than her previous books (at the same time, an intersex MC for the win!). Perhaps it’s a little too much middle school love for all-things-horse. Perhaps it’s just me, and this story simply doesn’t resonate with me the way the others have, and that’s ok. Not every book is for every person. It still says something that even with a book that I feel is the weakest in the series, it’s message and telling are still powerful, even if it’s not for me.

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Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Come Tumbling Down Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy shit, Seanan McGuire doesn't disappoint in the fifth volume of her Wayward Children series. Picking up Jack and Jill's story from their introduction in Every Heart a Doorway and their backstory in Down Among the Sticks and Bones, we are returned to the Moors this time, and we are given a much wider view of this dark, terrifying, and beautiful world. This time out, there is another quest, even though Eleanor West continually forbids them, as Kade, Christopher, Cora, and Sumi help Jack take back something dear that Jill has stolen from her.

The continuing beauty of McGuire's Wayward Children, apart from her always fantastic narrative, is her inclusiveness with her characters. She makes such an important part of what makes these characters themselves, yet it doesn't feel forced. Sometimes I feel like authors have a checklist that they use to make sure they tick off all the important or proper points to show representation, and while this is needed in so many ways, it still comes off clumsy. McGuire writes her characters with such ease and understanding, it simply feels natural.

There is so much under the surface of Come Tumbling Down: what makes a person uniquely that person, and how devastating it can be when something happens to make that person not feel like themselves, however insignificant it may appear to others; how important it is to have people understand that every single person is unique, and surrounding yourself with people that understand you for who you are can make you so much stronger. It's OK to need help and to ask for it.

These characters are so near and dear to my heart. Sumi is becoming a favorite; her no bullshit view on life hides such a powerful caring for those around her, I think she's become one of the strongest characters in the series. And of course, Jack and Jill... I adore these girls and their crazy duality. I want to always see more of Kade, he's just so interesting to me.

As with all the books in this series, there is an overwhelming sense of hope throughout, but there is always a sense of sadness and loss that underlines this hope. We lose people in our lives, things are taken from us, life takes unexpected turns, but we can still find our way out of that loss.

This will always be the series that I push on my friends. I have reread the entire series before the release of each book next year, so some of the earlier are like dear friends I'm catching up with after a while. Another part of the magic of McGuire's writing: even after multiple readings, these books have not lost any of their magic.

I dearly hope that McGuire can continue writing these stories for years to come. There is so much potential, so many stories, so many characters that I want to learn more about: Kade & Christopher, Sumi's continuing story, more worlds to explore, Eleanor's finally going home. It will be a sad day when these stories come to their close, but it will also have been one hell of an adventure getting there.

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Monday, January 3, 2022

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series of books gets better with each addition, with the latest, In an Absent Dream, by far being the strongest story to date. Following the established every other book sequence, this volume tells Lundy's portal story, as she finds her door to the Goblin Market. McGuire offers up some serious ideas to ponder, such as idea of fair value for everything and what that means to either the recipient or the giver. It's some heavy ideas, and after finishing Absent Dream, I had to take some time to really mull over the notions that are put forth, and it really made me think about my own interactions with those around me and how the idea of fair value can applied to our real world.

McGuire doesn't just write one hell of an amazing book, but she pushes us, the readers, to consider how we can actually be better people by understanding how we can, and should, be fair to each other. It's really quite a remarkable book. And her writing; it's more beautiful with every book. There are so many potential stories to be told, I hope deep down that she never leaves this series and continues to offer us such amazing books forever.

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Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in @seananmcguire’s Wayward Children series from @tordotcompub, finds us back at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children and dealing directly with ramifications of events from the first book, when Sumi’s daughter Rini comes looking for her mother, who has been inconveniently murdered before Rini was even conceived. Despite Eleanor’s rules of “No Solicitations. No Visitors. No Quests.”, Sumi’s friends embark to help find her soul and set things right in the land of Confection, before reality catches up to Rini and realizes she shouldn’t exist anymore. Being able to see a portal world through the eyes of the contemporary students was a treat, but the real beauty of this book is the students coming together and creating their own true, found family. Having a found family of my own whom I love more than I can say, I can relate to these kids and the love they feel for each other, despite their occasional differences. McGuire continues to tackle subjects that I wish I’d been able to read about when I was younger and this is one of the many reasons I push this series whenever anyone asks me for a book recommendation.

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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Next in @seananmcguire’s magnificent Wayward Children series from @tordotcompub, Down Among the Sticks and Bones drops us into The Moors and the portal story of Jack and Jill, two of the students introduced in Every Heart a Doorway. A prequel in essence, DATSAB sets up a pattern where every other novella takes place in our world, followed by a story taking place in a portal world. Raised as the ideas of what perfect children should be like by their strict parents, twin sisters Jacqueline and Jillian never knew what it was like to be children, nor individuals. Once they discover their door to The Moors, the sisters are thrust into a world where they can become their true selves, to whatever glorious or dangerous self that may be. Still one of the best books in the series.

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Saturday, January 1, 2022

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Starting my year off with my annual re-read of @seananmcguire’s magnificent Wayward Children series in anticipation of the release of the new book in the series. Regardless of how many times I read these stories, they never lose their magic. A portal fantasy for the children who have lost their portal, Every Heart A Doorway introduces us to Eleanor West, her School for Wayward Children, and its class of eclectic, lost students who are trying to find their way in a world they no longer belong to. At turns both beautiful and brutal, McGuire doesn’t shy away from the darker side of fairy tales. Recommended for engine feeling out of place in their world and trying to find their way. From @tordotcompub

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