Showing posts from September, 2011

Comics Briefly: American Vampire #19, Avengers Academy #19, Justice League Dark #1, The Fury of Firestorm #1

Favorite Book This Week: Huh. All the books had highs and lows this week. Favorite Writing: American Vampire. Favorite Art: Justice League Dark. All Issues new in stores on 9/28/11 American Vampire #19 Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Jordi Bernet, Colors: Dave McCaig Darn, this issue was not as good as I was hoping it would be. It has some very strong bits of dialogue, although I think adding extended early history between Skinner and Book at the very start of the issue is unecessary and just clogs up the story. Once the plot gets going it gets pretty good, but I really dislike Bernet's art. The cover is pretty, but totally misleading for what's inside. The final splash page, in particular, is awful. I mean, maybe they're trying to evoke a sort of oldfashioned cartooning style, but it doesn't match anything, even in this issue, and I just think it takes a moment that should be scary and awesome and makes it WTF? Avengers Academy #19 Writer: Christos Gage

Elric: The Stealer of Souls

Elric: The Stealer of Souls Michael Moorcock, collection published 2008  (Stories originally published between 1961-1965) Moorcock is one of those authors that as a fantasy fan, I know I was 'supposed' to have read. Somehow I had missed him until recently, so when I saw this book on the used shelf at The Strand , I decided it was time. Premise: This volume collects the first stories written about Moorcock's angtsy albino anti-hero: Elric, Last Prince of Melniboné. He was hugely influential for many modern fantasy writers, and a lot of  darker anti-heroes have their genesis in these tales. In this book, we follow Elric through several loosely connected adventures, then the second half of the book is four novellas that fit together into a full story that expands the sweep of the character and the world. First off, the cover is fairly silly, but the internal illustrations are quite nice. It took me a little time to be drawn into this world, but I expect that

LOTR Read-Along! Fellowship Chapters 16-End

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy Welcome to the Third and Final part of Fellowship of the Ring. Part One   Part Two I'll respond to a few of the discussion suggestions below, but first, another anecdote: Once upon a time, in 1999, in the lands known as Massachusetts, there was a shiny new college student who lived in a dorm. Many such students lived in single rooms in this dorm, and the halls were filled with bright decorations. One day this particular student was walking with some new friends, and they went one floor higher than they normally did, to stop at one particular door. On a piece of white paper, mounted on this door, was printed: Pedo Mellon a Minno. The student who lived behind this door asked if the others remembered the phrase, and joked that they had to know the password, which, of course, was "Friend". The new student thought this was marvelous, because while she loved Lord of the Rings, she h

Follow Friday Sept 23

This is Follow Friday, hosted by  Parajunkee's View  and  Alison Can Read Today's Question is: Q. Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it? Anyone who's been around here for a while knows my answer to this. I own Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga in both print and ebook. Recently I've been making my way through at least 12 out of the 14 books (plus short stories) every 8-10 months or so. I love this series not only because it's well written, exciting, moving, and extremely fun, but because every time I read them, I notice new things. I normally read very quickly, so with books that can take the scrutiny, re-reading can be very enjoyable for me, as I pick up on subtle details and turns of phrase that I missed the first time. Also, as time has passed I become obsessed with different parts of the series. I mentioned in a recent post that Memory , a book in th

Comics Briefly: Batman #1, Cloak and Dagger #2, Darkwing Duck #16, Supergirl #1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2, Ultimate X-Men #1, Wonder Woman #1

Favorite Issue this week: Supergirl #1 (Close run with TMNT, Batman and Darkwing Duck, though) All books were new in stores on 9/21/11 Batman #1 Writer: Scott Snyder, Penciller: Greg Capullo, Inker: Jonathan Glapion, Colors: FCO Plascencia I was actually won over on this one by the art, more than the writing. Yeah, with the twist in the first sequence the writing was pretty awesome. (The ending twist is silly.) But what I really enjoyed was the tone set by a Batsuit with a bit of an old-fahioned touch, combined with "cute" style Bruce. Also, despite my eternal love for the ladies of Gotham, a panel that highlights the clannishness of Bruce and his troop of sons always makes me smile. Cloak and Dagger #2 Writer: Nick Spencer, Artist: Emma Rios, Colorist: Javier Rodriguez Not quite as much fun as Issue #1, but still a beautiful, haunting book. Technically a Spider-Island tie-in, but you can read this mini-series alone. It's got real style. Darkwing Duc

Top Ten Tuesday - Books Everyone Else Has Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at  The Broke and The Bookish This Week's Prompt: Top Ten Books It Feels Like Everyone Has Read But Me Let's See... 1: The Hunger Games is in the category of "Books I'll pick up one of these days if I see an available copy at the library and I don't have anything else I want to get and I'm all caught up with my other reading." I just don't feel the need to go out of my way. 2: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo  I heard a little about this book and shrugged, then I heard a little more and got interested, and then a little more, and it went back into the "maybe, eventually" category. 3: The sequels to Twilight I read the first one so that I could criticize it fairly, but I am not subjecting my brain to the rest. 4: A Feast For Crows/A Dance With Dragons Nope. Not enough hours in the day to read another of these doorstoppers. Not going back to this series unless I hear that it ended and the ending wa

The Rogue (The Traitor Spy Trilogy, Book Two)

The Rogue (The Traitor Spy Trilogy, Book Two) Trudi Canavan, 2011 Recent Release, Copy Provided by NetGalley Premise: Sequel to The Ambassador's Mission (review here) . Lorkin is adjusting to life among the so-called Traitors, trying to find a way to trade for new magical techniques without falling afoul of the faction who wants him killed. Back in Kyralia, Sonea worries about her son, but her hands are full tracking the unknown Rogue magician and dealing with two novices who stumble into dangerous knowledge. Meanwhile, Ambassador Dannyl continues his search for the lost history of magic. I continue to really enjoy this series, but I don't think it's amazing, just solidly good. In this volume, everyone is distracted by potential romantic complications, either old flames or new love. I think my favorite plot thread was the one about a pair of new characters: the novices Lilia and Navi. Lilia gets a lot more trouble than she bargined for when she becomes infat

LOTR Read-Along! Fellowship Chapters 9-15

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy Part Two of FOTR went much smoother for me than the first section. I think I may have just been in the wrong mood last week. Discussion questions are below, but first, an anecdote. The first time I read Lord of the Rings, I was probably in my early teens. I was already passably familiar with the Rankin-Bass animated versions of both The Hobbit and ROTK at this point; I literally don't remember not knowing the basics of this story. I took all three books out of the library one summer afternoon, and started in on Fellowship around dinnertime. At 5am, I closed the book after the last page of FOTR and went to sleep. I did nothing but eat, sleep and read (and the former two grudgingly) until I finished Return of the King in the middle of the third day. With all that in mind, I'll move on to the Discussion Topics, provided by Geeky Daddy (Clarifications/edits added by me) 1. What was were your

Comics Briefly: American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #4, Batwoman #1, Demon Knights #1, Resurrection Man #1

Favorite Book This Week: Demon Knights #1. No Question. All issues were new in stores on 9/14/11 American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #4 Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Sean Murphy, Colorist: Dave Stewart Solid Issue. Snazzy new background information, and lots of nazi vamps get toasted. Not much else necessary to say, really. Batwoman #1 Writers: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, Artist: J.H. Williams III, Colors: Dave Stewart I know, I'm the only one not head over heels for this book. The story seems fine, but I don't know. I really dislike certain aspects of the art. Maybe I need to read all the back story I missed (which doesn't speak well of a #1, I think) but I just don't like Kate yet, so I'm pretty ambivalent on this book. Demon Knights #1 Writer: Paul Cornell, Penciller: Diogenes Neves, Inker: Oclair Albert What a relief! I was concerned after I didn't like Stormwatch (last week, by the same author), but I loved this iss

Top Ten Tuesday - Books Recommended by Another Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at  The Broke and The Bookish This Week's Prompt: Top Ten Books I Read Because Of Another Blogger Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week, everyone! 1: Champion of the Rose , by Andrea K. Host This was r eviewed positively by The Book Smugglers , and I remembered that when I saw it spotlighted on Kindle Nation Daily. This is probably the recommendation that had the most effect on my reading, as I have since purchased all of Ms. Host's novels, and read all but the most recent. More Reviews:  The Silence of Medair ,  Stray (Touchstone) 2: God's War , by Kameron Hurley Reviewed at Little Red Reviewer  Unfortunately, I didn't like this book nearly as much as she did. 3: Star Trek: Harbinger , by David Mack Picked this out after kind words over at This Week at the Library I guess I could also count 4:  Dawn  by Octavia Butler because while it wasn't recommended specifically by any feed I was reading, when I picked this up

Stray (Touchstone 1)

Stray (Touchstone 1) Andrea Höst, 2011 Premise: Cassandra Devlin was just walking home from school when she turned a corner and was suddenly in a forest, somewhere far away from where she had been. First order of business: survive. She is just starting to get a handle on her situation when she is rescued, but her rescuers? Aren't from Earth. Cass needs to figure out how to get along in their world long enough to maybe, just possibly, convince them to help her get home. This intriguing sci-fi series is written in diary style, so we hear everything from Cass's perspective. Her voice is what really sells this book. It's a great combination of snarky humor, matter-of-fact description and the occasional sense that she's balancing on the edge between managing her surroundings and completely breaking down. I really loved the whole first section with her alone, using the diary as an outlet to stay grounded, trying to figure out what happened and what to do next.

LOTR Read-Along! Fellowship Chapters 1-8

Woo! It's time to start in on the meat of the LOTR Read-Along, with the first eight chapters of Fellowship of the Ring . ( The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy ) It's been an interesting re-read for me so far; I find that I'm noticing different aspects of the writing. Of course, I'm also reminded that the beginning of FOTR is slooooowwww . I like these books, but they take their sweet time to ramp up. These are all the chapters that when I heard they were cutting a lot of it for the films, I said: "yeah, okay, I mean, I'll miss it, but that makes sense." (Unlike the big section at the end of ROTK, but we'll get there when we get there.) Discussion questions provided by Little Red Reviewer follow! 1. Hobbits seem to have songs for everything!  I didn't realize this was a musical. . . . how are you liking all the songs?  It's fine. I generally like poems with plenty of rhyme and rhythm, and memo

Follow Friday September 9

This is Follow Friday, hosted by  Parajunkee's View  and  Alison Can Read Today's Question is: Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one? I have a somewhat complicated answer here. I am a fan, from way back, of occasional stories where the villain (or, more likely, the character of ambiguous morals ) comes out just as well as the hero, or gets what they were after no matter what the hero does because of a Xanatos Gambit (i.e. all roads lead to victory). Well developed characters of ambiguous or complicated morality are always welcome, and they should accomplish their goals as often as (or more often than) anyone else. When a book has actually flat-evil villains, I don't like depressing endings, but I do sometimes enjoy the bittersweet. While I am looking forward to the new book  Pirate King , the previous Russell/Holmes novel, The God of the Hive (see review) , is an example of a book where I thought the ending went

Comics Briefly: Animal Man #1, Batgirl #1, Justice League International #1, Static Shock #1, Stormwatch #1, Swamp Thing #1

It's an all DCU Week, and I bought a few more than I otherwise would have because my comic shop was offering a good deal. Favorite Book This Week: Batgirl #1 (Really REALLY close: Animal Man, Static Shock) All books new in stores on 9/7/11 Animal Man #1 Story: Jeff Lemire, Pencils: Travel Foreman, Inks: Travel Foreman and Dan Green, Colors: Lovern Kindzierski The art in this book really threatened to turn me off right away, it's not a style I enjoy, but the writing was strong enough to keep me intrigued. It's creepy and surreal in a fantastic way, and the ending was awesome. Definitely interested to see what else they've got up their sleeves for this one. Although, Side Note/ Spoiler : [highlight to read] Little Girl raises small animals from the dead is also the origin of notorious paranormal romance character Anita Blake. Just saying. Batgirl #1  Writer: Gail Simone, Penciler: Ardian Syaf, Inker: Vicente Cifuentes Strong dialogue, quick action, good

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One Ernest Cline, 2011 New Release! Copy for review provided by Netgalley. Please Insert Coin to Begin. Premise: In the very near future, life is pretty bad. Most people spend their time (and their money) on the OASIS, an enormous virtual system that has replaced the internet, schools, many workplaces, and more. But the late creator of the OASIS left a secret, an easter egg, in the program somewhere. Whoever finds it is entitled to the late billionaire's entire fortune. There are corporations that spend all their time and energy in the search for the egg, but there are also lots of freelancers. Freelancers like Wade Watts, high school kid and gunter (egg-hunter). But no one has made progress on the riddle of the Egg in years, that is, until now... This is the most charmingly adorable dystopia I think I've ever read, and I mean all the words in that sentence. Halliday, the man behind the OASIS and the hunt for the Egg, was a child of the 80's, a

Comics Briefly: Justice League #1

I know, I was surprised too, when I went to check my pull list for this week and it was empty. But since it's an event and all, we picked up the new Justice League #1. Issue new in stores on 8/31/11 Justice League #1 Writer: Geoff Johns, Penciller: Jim Lee, Inker: Scott Williams, Colorist: Alex Sinclair So this is the flagship of the brand new DCU, and after all the hype, I have to say that it's...fine. Even good. But it's a slow start, nothing grabbing me from the first page. It's mostly Green Lantern (Hal) being a whiny, arrogant jerk and Batman (Bruce) being quietly competent and a little weird, with a peek at Cyborg that I don't know how I feel about yet, and a smoldering young Superman on the last page. (I predict new fanfiction in 3, 2, 1...) It felt really short for a 3.99 issue, only 24 pages of content. Superman Beyond #0 last week was 3.99, too, but it was 30 pages. The art is nice, if a smidge busy for my taste here and there. T