Showing posts from November, 2011

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Cross-Posted for Mainlining Christmas! Hercule Poirot's Christmas Agatha Christie, 1939 I find Agatha Christie to be an acquired taste that I've never quite acquired. I enjoy her work, usually, but it takes me a long time to get into each book. This was no exception. Once the story got going I quite liked it, but there were a lot of character introductions to get through first. Once the extended family was all together at the manor house, they got right down to the business of Christmas: acrimonious backstabbing, awkward flirting, and murder. Poirot is brought along to assist the local police when patriarch Simeon Lee is found dead in a locked room. He'd assembled his clan of children together for the holidays to emotionally torment them, then threatened to make a new will. So everyone has a motive, but only Poirot can peel through the misdirections and lies to figure out what happened. I especially enjoyed Poirot's amusement at the very British nature of t

LOTR Read-Along! Return of the King Part Three

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy Previous Posts: FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three Bonus One: Photos of Books TT: Part One Part Two Part Three Bonus Two: TOYS! ROTK: Part One Part Two Welcome to Part Three of Return of the King! It's the end of the Read-Along! I'm sad to see it end, but it's just in time, as the holiday blog that I run with my husband is going to be taking up a lot of my blogging energy for the next month. Come visit us there: Mainlining Christmas! Due to time and what I actually have to say, I might skip some of the prompts this week, because mostly I want to talk about the fact that we finally got to my favorite chapter. Yay! What did you think of the two weddings? Do you think Eowyn will eventually find happiness with Faramir? I talked about this a bit last week: I think Eowyn and Faramir are well matched in background and temperament and will balance each other nicely. Holy Cow I was not expecting t

Comics Briefly: Princeless #1, Wolverine and the X-Men #2

Favorite Book This Week: Princeless #1 All books were new in stores 11/23/11 Princeless #1 Story: Jeremy Whitley, Art by M. Goodwin and D.E. Belton, Colors by M. Goodwin and Jung-Ha Kim I had heard a review of this book on the 3 chicks podcast a few weeks back, so I thought I knew what to expect: a humourous flipped fairy-tale. I got so much more than that. I got characters with heart and warmth, a world with fascinating corners we've barely glimpsed, and an utterly charming story about a princess off to save the day. The art is adorable and effective, the writing mostly very snappy. It's super small press, so you might have trouble tracking it down (I snagged the last copy at my comic shop) but whether you have a young comic lover (or young fantasy lover, especially female) in your life or you're just sweet on awesome All Ages books like I am, this is highly recommended. Wolverine and the X-Men #2 Writer: Jason Aaron, Pencils and Colors: Christ Bachalo, Inke


Snuff Terry Pratchett, 2011 Premise: Commander Sam Vimes is taking a vacation to his wife's estate in the country. But just because you drag the copper out of the city doesn't mean he won't drag his sense of justice with him, and when mysterious and nefarious things are being done to the local goblins, Sam decides maybe the country isn't so boring after all. Another reviewer put it well when she said that it's a Monsters Are People Too plot , this time around focusing on goblins. Pratchett himself basically lays out the main theme on page 93: The City Watch appeared to contain at least one member of every known bipedal sapient species plus one Nobby Nobbs. It had become a tradition: if you could make it as a copper, you could make it as a species. But nobody had ever once suggested that Vimes should employ a goblin, the simple reason being that they were universally known to be stinking, cannabalistic, vicious untrustworthy bastards. Of course,  everybo


Thud! Terry Pratchett, 2005 Premise: It's Koom Valley Day, or soon will be, and the city is restless. The anniversary of a much-argued historic battle between Trolls and Dwarves, firebrands are using it to stoke racial tensions until Ankh-Morpork's melting pot is threatening to crack. As usual, The City Watch is on the front lines. On this re-read, I didn't like this book quite as much as I remembered, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to like. Much of the immediate plot hinges on solving the murder of a dwarven leader, and Vimes and the usual crew spend a lot of the book scattered over the city, picking up pieces of the puzzle. I love the subplot about Vimes reading to his son, and Angua dealing with her own racial issues in adapting to a vampire in the watch. Mr. Shine is a worthy addition to the background cast of characters, and there's both humor and poignancy in how Vimes deals with a paper-pushing investigator sent by Vetinari. My on

Night Watch

Night Watch Terry Pratchett, 2002 This was a re-read for me of one of my favorite Discworld books. Some spoilers in the premise for earlier books, and a few light spoilers in the review, because otherwise I couldn't talk about my favorite parts. Premise: Samuel Vimes has come a long way from a kid who joined the Watch. Under his leadership, the City Watch actually became a force for law and order. He eventually married and is now expecting the birth of their first child. This is all suddenly torn away when Vimes is thrown through a rip in time into his own past, along with the murderous psychopath he was chasing. I sometimes wonder if you could construct an interesting personality test from the Discworld series, based on which characters and which plotlines you most enjoy. For example, I know plenty of people like the Witches of Lancre books best, but they might be my least favorite. I really enjoy the books about Death, but my very favorites, the ones I go back and r

LOTR Read-Along! Return of the King Part Two

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by  Little Red Reviewer  and  Geeky Daddy Previous Posts: FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three Bonus One: Photos of Books TT: Part One Part Two Part Three Bonus Two: TOYS! ROTK: Part One (PS: For more fantasy, come back this Mon-Wed for a short string of Discworld reviews, culminating in a review of  Snuff , the newest one, on Wednesday. But back to Tolkein for now...) Welcome to Part Two of Return of the King! This section took us through the main plot climax, and into the actual returning of said king. I love the whole sequence on Mount Doom, always have, although I'm still looking forward to the rest of the book! 1. After witnessing the events of Denethor's demise, what are your thoughts on him as a father and as a ruler, especially when compared to what happened with Boromir and the Ring. Denethor is a pretty sad character. I mean, he's arrogant and foolish, but as the leader of a city under siege (and I don't jus

Blue Beetle: Shellshocked, Road Trip and Reach for the Stars

Blue Beetle: Shellshocked, Road Trip and Reach for the Stars John Rogers, Keith Giffen, Cully Hammer and Rafael Albuquerque, 2006, 2007, 2008 Okay, I get it now. Jaime Reyes is awesome. Premise: These are the first three collected trades of the recent Blue Beetle series. (Not the brand new one, the one that started in 2006.) Jaime Reyes is a teenager in El Paso, who finds a scarab that seems to be made of stone. It's actually alien technology that bonds to his spine, giving him semi-sentient armor and the superhero identity of the new Blue Beetle. (There were two previous Blue Beetles, neither had the scarab react to them in this way, and both are dead at this point. It's not necessary to know anything about the previous Blue Beetles to enjoy these books.) Immediately after he discovers his new powers, he's drafted by the Justice League on a seriously far away mission. When he returns home, he finds that he lost a year somewhere. His family thought he was dead,

Comics Briefly: Batman #3, Supergirl #3, Wonder Woman #3

Favorite Issue this week: Batman #3 All books were new in stores on 111/16/11 Batman #3 Writer: Scott Snyder, Pencils: Greg Capullo, Inks: Jonathan Glapion Decent issue, if mostly exposition heavy. My favorite thing was the use of odd panel angles; they really enhanced the off-kilter feeling Bruce is getting about the owl people. This book has pretty art. And a cliffhanger. Supergirl #3 Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson, Artists: Mahmud Asrar & Bill Reinhold, Colorist: Paul Mounts Decent amount of action and exposition here, but if Kara doesn't punch that obnoxious guy's face in soon , I'm going to be very put out. I know she's learning, but she needs a solid win. Soon . Wonder Woman #3 Writer: Brian Azzarello, Artist: Cliff Chiang I thought this issue was narratively disjointed, plus the whole world heard about the Zeus-reveal two months ago. I don't really understand what's going on here, why these characters are saying and do

The Silent Tower

The Silent Tower Barbara Hambly, 1988 New E-Edition 2011 New Ebook Edition. Copy provided by NetGalley. Premise: In the world of Ferryth, mages are forbidden to interfere with people's lives, but factions in the government and the Church are still looking for a reason to move against them. They might get it when a minor mage is murdered by someone manipulating the dangerous Void, releasing abominations into the land. Caris, bodyguard and nephew to the Archmage, is traveling with him to try and solve the mystery. The first stop is the imprisoned mage Antryg Windrose, mad apprentice to the late Dark Mage who knew the most about the Void. The other piece of the puzzle, however, is held by a computer programmer named Joanna who is being hunted from across the Void by their unknown foe. How did I miss this one until now? Admittedly, I was a little skeptical of the world-jumping premise, but it's well handled throughout. The fantasy world is grounded enough, and Joan

LOTR Read-Along! Return of the King Part One

The Hobbit and LOTR Read-Along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and Geeky Daddy Previous Posts: FOTR: Part One Part Two Part Three Bonus One: Photos of Books TT: Part One Part Two Part Three Welcome to Part One of Return of the King! If you missed my Bonus Post last weekend, here's a link: LOTR Bonus: TOYS! Man, I am having a harder and harder time only reading the assigned chapters as the plot speeds up in this final volume. This week focuses on Return of the King Chapter 1-6, which brings us mostly through the Battle of Pelennor Fields, but not entirely. Some aspects of my answers may reflect the next few chapters, too, but I've tried to keep that down. Rather than answer the prompts directly (they're kind of vague this week), I'll just use each as a bit of a jumping off point. On the Paths of the Dead: I'm ashamed to admit that this is a section of the book I had forgotten about when I saw the movies, and I had to ask how much of it was from the

Comics Briefly: Batgirl #3, Batman: The Brave and the Bold #13, Batwoman #3, Demon Knights #3, Huntress #2, Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes #2

Favorite Book This Week: Batman: The Brave and the Bold #13! All issues were new in stores on 11/9/11 Batgirl #3 Writer: Gail Simone Penciller: Ardian Syaf, Inker: Vicente Cifuentes, Colors: Ulises Arreola This issue gets much more interesting once Nightwing's involved, but I'm just not that emotionally connected to NewYoung!Babs. I don't feel like I get her, I find her villain boring and her motivation murky. A few really gorgeous panels bring this up to good overall, but I'm really tired of this plot. Batman: The Brave and the Bold #13 Writer: Scholly Fish, Pencils: Rick Burchett, Inks: Dan Davis, Colorist: Guy Major YAY! Awwww, this was freaking adorable! A parody of a classic Batman comic, starring ALL THE ROBINS. Yes, ALL OF THEM. Everyone gets a little moment, and Nightwing (in full 70's awesome-costume) organizes the troops. The plot is fun, the resolution fantastic. Carrie mocks Damian! Tim and Stephanie hang out! Jason tries to be all c

The Unfinished Song: Taboo

The Unfinished Song: Taboo Tara Maya, 2011 I received a free copy of this book in return for a review. Premise: Sequel to Initiate , this is the continuing story of Dindi the aspiring dancer/shaman and Kavio the young prodigy, outcast from his tribe. The core cast expands some, as does the world. I liked this volume more than the first by quite a bit. The world became clearer, the structure of the magic became clearer, and best of all, the history that seems so important to the future of these characters was clarified. Fewer typos, fewer narrative missteps, this is overall a stronger book. Also it was quite a bit longer. It is a sequel, so from here out there may be slight spoilers . One part that I didn't like was a sex scene. It came basically out of nowhere, and was surprisingly graphic. I don't mind that the characters had sex, that felt right, and some description of it is necessary for understanding their relationship, but the style of the writing took


When the LOTR movies came out, of course there was merchandise! Some of the best was the action figure lines produced by Toy Biz. We (my husband and I) actually collected the entire Fellowship in 6 inch scale, but those are currently in storage. So really the only LOTR stuff on display in our apartment is this: Uh, yeah. That's still a lot of stuff, isn't it. Most of it is the smallest scale, figures that are less than two inches tall. They're from a series generally called "Armies of Middle Earth". The characters have a tiny amount of articulation, but are basically just statues. Here's the 2-inch Fellowship, coming out from between a set of Argonath bookends. Wow, that shelf is really dusty. Sorry about that... These sets and scenes were actually pretty nice for their size. Especially the ones that were playsets, like The Bridge of Khazad-dum:   Frodo hides from a Winged Nazgul in the ruins of Osgiliath: The Palantir chamber in

Comics Briefly: Action Comics #3, American Vampire #20, Animal Man #3, Swamp Thing #3

All books new in stores on 11/2/11 Action Comics #3 Writer: Grant Morrison, Pencillers: Rage Morales and Gene Ha, Inkers: Rick Bryants and Gene Ha, Colorists: Brad Anderson and Art Lyon The first section, a flashback to Krypton, is really good, but the rest seems disjointed. I'm not sure when all these vignettes are happening in relation to each other, or how any of them resolve. I read it twice, but I feel like I'm missing a through-line. The back matter about the other "Super-" titles is much appreciated, and the kind of thing they should be doing in the back of the issues, instead of the same preview or interview in EVERY book in a given month. Of course, it just made me surer that the only one of those books I'm interested in is Supergirl, but I think the idea is right. American Vampire #20 Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Jordi Bernet, Colors: Dave McCaig I found this stronger than last month's, at least for the flashback in the first part. I