Monday, March 31, 2014

dust to dust

dust to dust
kovac/liska #2
tami hoag
published 2000

Sorry.  The single word was written on the mirror.  In front of it hung the body of Andy Fallon, a Minneapolis Internal Affairs cop.  Was it suicide?  Or a kinky act turned tragic accident?  Either way, his death wasn't a crime.  The investigation will be a formality, a duty that veteran Homicide detective Sam Kovac isn't looking forward to.  He doesn't want to spend any more time than he has to in the bleak, empty world of the victim's father, Iron Mike, Kovac's old mentor and a department legend.  It's too much like looking into his own future.  But Kovac has a sixth sense for crime, and it's buring.

Together with his partner, the wisecracking, ambitious Nikki Liska, Kovac begins to dig at the too-neat edges of Fallon's death, uncovering one motive and one suspect after another.  The shadows of suspicion fall deeply not only on the city's power elite, but into the very heart of the police department itself.

While Ashes to Ashes was touted as the first Kovac/Liska book they merely had background roles in the book.  Kovac was present more than Liska was, but not much.  Here in Dust to Dust they are both in the forefront working together, but also separately on two different cases.  Both of them involving the police department.

Kovac's case is personal and he's pretty much the only one who thinks that a crime actually occurred.  Liska is following up on a closed case, much to the irritation of their boss.

There are times when I wonder why Liska makes such dumb choices, or ignores something that any self respecting cop would ignore.  And there are times when Hoag goes off describing something or added a scene that was completely unnecessary.  The book was longer than it should have been and to be honest, there were no surprises anywhere.

Who else could the killer have been?  The players could all only fit into certain roles so the pieces all fit in much faster than I think Hoag was aiming for.  

because i'm worth it

because i'm worth it
gossip girl #4
cecily von ziegesar
published 2008

Everyone who's anyone in New York City is suffering from post-college-application cabin fever and it's time to run a little wild!  Could it be that Serena is smitten with Blair's stepbrother or will the Fashion Week parties pull her away from any attempt at true love?  Dan & Vanessa are mad about each other and pursuing their creative dreams - but be careful of what you wish for.  Nate hits and all-time low as Blair's Yale interview with a tall, handsome alum takes an unexpected turn and Jenny makes a new friend who gets a little too close for comfort.  And just who is going to get into college early?  Wintertime has never been hotter in NYC as things steam up all over Fifth Avenue.

Reading these while reading the Pretty Little Liars books only highlight how much better Gossip Girl is.  The only mystery around here that's ongoing book by book is who Gossip Girl really is, but that's not a make or break mystery.  We could care less as long as (s)he's dishing the gossip.

For some reason the brand name dropping doesn't get on my nerves as much as it does in PLL.  I think because it's more subtle or appropriate?  In PLL every time someone picks up the same Coach bag Shepard writes 'Hanna picked up her Coach bag...' and then when she subsequently puts it down we read 'Hanna put down her Coach bag...'  Yes, we get it, Hanna has a Coach bag.

But with so many characters who each have a little story and all of them interesting and separate it keeps things fresh.  They're not all chasing after the same thing and I think that's why I don't get tired of these like I have with PLL.

Dan is still a dummy who is, despite his disdain for it, lured by fame and fortune.  Vanessa, more true to herself than just about anyone is more deserving.  Blair is going through some kind of mid-teen crisis and Serena is just page filler.  I swear that girl doesn't have one intelligent thought in her head.  Nate has met Georgina, so look out NYC and Jenny is getting over Nate by hopping the fence?  Maybe?

Either way, I'm delighted and here's to hoping we see more of Chuck Bass because let's face it, Gossip Girl needs Chuck Bass.

the serpent's tale

the serpent's tale
mistress of the art of death #2
ariana franklin
putnam adult
published 2008

Since she solved a particularly nasty case of a child murder using her forensic skills, Adelia Aguilar is deemed too valuable to send back to the School of Medicine in Salerno where she was trained.  Instead, King Henry II has decided to keep her in England.  This is bad news for Adelia - in free-thinking Salerno, women doctors are accepted but in twelfth-century England they're unheard of and regarded as witches.  Under suspicion, and with her illegitimate child, Adelia is forced to live and practice in the secrecy of Cambridgeshire's fenland.  But at Henry's court, terrible things are happening.  Out of jealousy, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine is not only stirring up revolt against her husband, rumor has it that she has also poisoned Fair Rosamund Clifford - the King's favorite mistress.  If Henry believes the stories, England will be torn apart as King battles Queen.  In a race against time to prove that Eleanor is at least innocent of Rosamund's murder, Adelia is recruitd by Rowley, her former lover and father of her child, to help avoid a civil war.  It isn't easy.  An assassin is on the loose and so is Queen Eleanor with a small army.  Adelia encounters both as, in the middle of a terrible medieval winter, she tries to pierce the physical and metaphorical maze that surrounds Rosamund's tower and they mystery of the dead woman who lies frozen inside.

Historical fiction is not my favorite genre.  It's not even my second favorite genre.  In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of historical fiction books I've read.  Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death was a book I read for a book group years ago and I loved it.  The idea of a woman medical examiner back in the twelfth century was fascinating and the murders she was solving were captivating.

This time around I wasn't so enamored with this Mistress.  Adelia is the same, for the most part, but this story wasn't my cup of tea.  Too much talk of kings and queens and treason and plotting and God.  There were so many characters to keep track of I would forget who was who and the way that Franklin cloaks her mystery from the reader makes things confusing at times.  As if I'm missing something.  And I guess I am.  I was frustrated with Rowley and irritated at Adelia's forced citizenship.

Had this been the first book of Adelia I wouldn't have read any more after it.  As it stands I did purchase the third book so I'll probably read that one as well.  Hopefully the case will be more up my alley.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

going to the movies


So here's the thing.  We finally went to see Divergent tonight.  

Divergent is probably one of my top five favorite books.  I loved that book more than Twilight, more than the Hunger Games.  I actually can't think of another book that I loved as much.  I think because Tris is such a strong character.  A likeable character.  She's human, she's flawed.  She wants to fit in, she wants to be loved, to be liked, but she stays as true to herself as she can be.

So seeing the movie should be at the top of my to do list, right?

Well, not so much.

I started to get an inkling when I saw the preview at the Veronica Mars movie.  I started crying.  I had done a pretty good job of not watching any interviews or trailers.  Ever since New Moon when I watched and read every bit of information I could about the movie I felt like I spoiled it for myself so I've been much more careful.

Anyhow, after friends went to see it without me (I begged off, just not feeling well, Ray wasn't home to watch the girls) I figured I would just wait until it came out on video.  Where I could watch it in the comfort (read: privacy) of my own home.  But Ray wanted to go see it too so that's what we did tonight.  And I loved it.  Of course, it wasn't perfect and if I had the choice I probably would have chosen someone else to play Tris, to play Four and I wouldn't have cast three guys who all look incredibly alike to play three different characters (Will, Al & Peter).  But it was good and for the most part stayed true to the book.

My problem is purely grief and this really does just prove what a freaking book nerd I am.

I feel like I'm mourning the losses again.  When Tris takes that zip line ride for the first time after the War Game I could only think about Four taking that same ride at the end of Allegiant and I could barely hold it together.  Even now, thinking about it again I am incredibly sad.  There were moments during the movie where I hoped, maybe it would be different.  Maybe her mother would not die.  Maybe her father would not sacrifice himself.  When I saw Caleb after their mother dies my lip actually curled in disgust.

All because I know.  I know what's going to happen, what will be revealed.  What they have done and how they all end up and I cried and I mourned for those lost when the books finished and I'm doing it all over again.

And I realize as I'm reading this back to myself how ridiculous it all sounds.  It's a book!  It's not real.  The people don't exist, but for a time, in my head while I read they did and that's enough.

the guernsey literary & potato peel pie society

the guernsey literary & potato peel pie society
mary ann shaffer & annie barrows
dial press
published 2008

January 1976: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject.  Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb?

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends - and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - born as spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island - boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Aahhh!  This book was so good!  When I first read the title I thought 'whaaaaat?'  And that it takes place after WWII made me a little hesitant since I don't read too much historical fiction, but I'm so glad I did.

Juliet is hilarious.  She's smart and independent and doesn't take crap from anyone and I love her for it.  But she's not the only good character in the book.  Not by a long shot!  Amelia, Isola, Kit, Sidney, Eben, Dawsey, Booker....but I think Isola was my favorite.  Holy moley I wish that person existed in real life and she lived next door to me.

But it wasn't just witty.  The stories from the villagers of the days of the occupation were sad and haunting and then the circumstances of the two authors was a story of its own.  I have to admit I cried more reading the afterword than I did the book!

But I was so upset that it was over.  I actually did cry a little, like a spoiled child because the book ended.  I really and truly wanted it to go on forever.  I wanted to read those letters everyday.  Such a perfect treasure of a book.

the iron daughter

the iron daughter
the iron fey #2
julie kagawa
harlequin teen
published 2010

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere.  Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen.  As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey - ironbound faeries tat only she and her absent prince have seen.  But no one believes her.  Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off.  She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help.  Trusting anyone would be foolish.  Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly.  But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-to-human heart.

So here's the thing.  For the first third, maybe half, of the book I wanted to punch Meghan in the face.  On the way to Tir Na Nog Ash kept telling Meghan that they could not be together.  That Mab could possibly kill him if he were to declare his love for the half-Summer faery/human.  At this point, she has spent some time with the fae and she knows how things work.  So when they arrive at Mab's castle Meghan just doesn't seem to get it.  She spends nearly the entire time there whining about why Ash isn't talking to her.  And when she finally does get to hear from the prince he's cold and uncaring (BECAUSE HE HAS TO BE TO PROTECT BOTH OF THEM) she goes into some horrible despairing coma and doesn't want to live anymore.

Case in point:
I stepped toward him, smiling, only to be stopped dead by his cold glare.  Confused, I stumbled to a halt.  Maybe he didn't recognize me.  I met his gaze, waiting for his expression to thaw, for him to give me the tiny smile I adored so much.  It didn't happen.  His frosty eyes swept over me in a brief, dismissive glance, before he stepped around me and continued toward the queen.  I felt a stab of shock and hurt; maybe he was playing it cool in front of the queen, but he could've at least said hi.  I made the mental note to scold him later when we were alone.
See?!  She's an idiot!  Playing it cool?  Could have at least said hi?  And later she would scold him?!  It's so weird and ridiculous.  It's like she's a clueless idiot who is also a grandmother because no one says 'scold' anymore.

I get it.  She loves him SO MUCH that she just can't function.  She's a teenager and that's the way things are at that age.  Everything is the end of the world.  But for god's sake please stop whining!

The other thing I'm over is the whole love triangle thing.  Every YA book has got to have some love triangle nonsense in it.  And it's not even just that there are two guys who are crushing on the same girl.  She loves them both.  Every time.

No me gusta.

But I'm torn because despite her whining the story is interesting.  I don't understand why no one in the story (except, I suspect, Ironhorse knew) knows what Meghan is.  I'm not sure if I'll finish the series.  There are some good points, but there's irritating things too.  Maybe those things will be resolved earlier on in the next book so that I don't have to spend half the book hating Meghan.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


pretty little liars #7
sara shepard
published 2010

In picturesque Rosewood, Pennsylvania, neighbors gossip over picket fences, and gleaming SUVs sit in every crushed-granite driveway.  But recently, friendly smiles have been replaced with suspicious glares and accusatory whispers - and it's all because Hanna, Aria, Emily, and Spencer just can't keep their mouths shut.  First they claimed they found a dead body in the woods behind Spencer's house, only to have it vanish without a trace.  Then when the same woods went up in flames, they swore they saw someone who's supposed to be dead rise from the ashes.  And even after all that, the pretty little liars are still playing with fire.  Hanna's trading in her Dior trench for a straitjacket.  Aria's trying to contact the dead.  Emily's dumped her boyfriend and is skipping town ... again.  And Spencer thinks someone in her family has gotten away with murder.  The friends insist they're telling the truth about what they saw, but all of Rosewood thinks they're simply out for attention - and nobody likes a girl who cries wolf.  So when the big bad killer comes after the girls, will anyone believe them, or will they be the next to disappear?

These girls really just don't learn.  It doesn't matter what happens to them because they will just repeat the same idiotic mistakes in the next book.  And Emily.  Oh my god please stop whining!  And learn to shut your mouth!  In this installment the girls are all given rope and they subsequently hang themselves.

I can't believe I signed up to finish this series!!!  Curse me!!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

storm front

storm front
dresden files #1
jim butcher
published 2000

Lost items found.  Paranormal investigations.  Consulting.  Reasonable rates.  No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.  Harry Dresden is the best and technically the 'only' at what he does.  So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they come to him for answers.  For the 'everyday' world is actually full of strange and magical things - and most of them don't play well with humans.  That's where Harry comes in.  Takes a wizard to catch a - well, whatever.

This whole book reminded me a lot of Laurell K. Hamilton's first Anita Blake book, Guilty Pleasures.  Except, of course, Harry Dresden isn't a borderline sociopath.  Mostly, it was just the same sort of genre.  A world where people kind of half believe in the supernatural and some of them are out in the open, but a lot of what the regular people is is just the tip of the iceberg.  Harry works for the police in a semi-official capacity....there's just a lot of similarities.

And like Guilty Pleasures, I really enjoyed Storm Front.  It was a pretty quick read once I finally sat down and got to reading.  I just hope it doesn't go down the same horrible hole that Anita Blake went.

This story was creepy and funny (Bob is probably my favorite character here), but there was lots of emotion, sadness too.  Harry's past, his childhood is something that he touches upon slightly, but it's his mother that I'm curious about.

I got this book as a deal.  The first 6 books in a set pretty cheap so I'll probably read those and see if I want to read the next EIGHT or so!  But as long as we don't go down Anita Blake's path this is looking to be a pretty good series!

Friday, March 21, 2014

winter's passage

winter's passage
the iron fey #1.5
julie kagawa
harlequin teen
published 2010

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl....until she discovered that she is really a faery princess.  After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron Fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash.  But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck - Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon - who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.  

Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed.  They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter - a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat.

This was one of those short 'novellas' that I usually love because they give me a little more insight into certain characters.  This one was a little drab.  Good for someone who LOVES this series, but other than that it was all mostly rehashed (in some parts a complete copy & paste) in The Iron Daughter.  Not fun to read something and then read the exact same text in the next book.


north world: the epic of conrad, book two

north world: the epic of conrad, book two
lars brown
oni press
published 2009

Conrad has thrown down his sword and picked up the tax forms, and has returned to Coeur du Lac to live a normal life.  But what's normal, anyway?  Can anything ever be normal for Conrad ever again?  When Kailee shows up in town hunting a demon summoner, she throws everything he had been working towards into disarray.  In the midst of that confusion, Conrad discovers that he has to face down his past if he wants to take control of his future, and he'll have to decide whether his future will be swords and sorcery or semi-variable cost financing!

There were two major problems with this book for me.  The first was I shouldn't have waited so long to read this second part because I seemed to have forgotten some key parts.  I found myself lost at times, forgetting who was who or what the back story was concerning a certain characters.  The second was three of the characters, Conrad included, were so similar looking that most of the time I didn't know who was in the frame with him right away.  That always kind of bugs me and bums me out when reading black & white books.

I think if I read this right after reading the first book I would have been more into it, but as it was I couldn't fully immerse myself in the story.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

bokurano ours, vol. 8

bokurano ours, vol. 8
mohiro kitoh
viz media
published 2004

Through battle after battle, the world has known Zearth as an implacable force of destruction.  Now, the monster has a human face, as Anko uses her father's broadcast to deliver a message to the world.  An outpouring of support carries the children into Kanji's battle, a test of endurance that may only be won by a drastic, irreversible decision.

Sooooo depressing!  Why am I still reading these!?  Because they're pretty darn good, I suppose.

This volume was full of some revelations that are not on the favorable side.  The book ends on quite the cliffhanger.

Kanji's battle is the longest the kids have seen so far and it's interesting the Japanese attitude of the United States.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that there is a feeling of America's arrogance because let's face it, the US is pretty arrogant when it comes to military experiences.

Still, more people are lost and there's the promise of more to come, but how will it end?  I have no idea.  I just have to keep reading.

bokurano ours, vol. 7

bokurano ours, vol. 7
mohiro kitoh
viz media
published 2004

Komo's battle takes a shocking turn when the enemy pilot flees for his life...and then comes out of hiding where nobody would have expected.  Anko's battle begins not long after, but this time, the entire world is watching.  A broadcast crew from her father's TV news show comes along for the ride, letting the secret of Zearth out for good.

The kids are now basically under house arrest.  When a stranger comes forward to say that he's the pilot of Zearth, everyone finds out exactly what happens when grief, fear and rage are all put to the test.  The kids can't be seen in public once they're outed as possibly having something to do with Zearth and their parents are in danger as well.

Things are not going well.

Two more pilots take the helm in this volume, although Komo's battle is different from any that have taken place so far.  This volume leaves us with Anko fighting what seems like a losing battle.  Could this be the end of Zearth?

In this volume Mohiro really focused on family, or lack thereof.  Two absentee sort of fathers whose jobs took them away from their families and now they are struggling with those decisions.  I'm still searching for a way out for the remaining kids, but it's looking pretty bleak.

Monday, March 10, 2014

red hood: the lost days

red hood: the lost days
judd winick, pablo raimondi & jeremy haun
dc comics
published 2010

The Joker killed Robin and unleashed a new plague upon the world.  After a Death in the Family, Batman almost gave up.  Robin did not.  Somehow Jason Todd dug his way back up from the dead to become the brutal vigilante, the Red Hood.

Seeing a golden opportunity when she finds the reborn Jason wandering the streets catatonic, Talia al Ghul restores his vitality in a Lazarus Pit, then hones his vengeful wrath into a righteous anger with anyone who harms the innocent.

Target: the Joker.  For countless reasons, including killing Jason to begin with, he must also die.  Also in their sights: Batman.  For his refusal to put the mad clown down permanently, countless murders stain the Dark Knight's hands.  Batman must die as well.

Jason Todd is one character in the Batman world that has always sort of fascinated me.  He wasn't the first Robin, and he wasn't the last.  Somehow he was beaten to a pulp and died - buried and everything - and then he came back to life reborn as the Red Hood.  This tells the story of how he got to the Red Hood, but it doesn't tell what happened between the time the Joker bashed his head in to how he got to Talia.  That's in Under the Red Hood, I believe.

Anyway, I really did like this book.  I was really into getting into Jason's head.  I've read some Red Hood & the Outlaws issues from the New 52 and while there is still that rebellious side it is nowhere near the type of rage we see here.  I've got to get my hands on the in between stuff.

That being said, there was some stuff I was kind of bored with or seemed out of place, but other than that it kept me intrigued and I found myself wanting to start reading more of Red Hood.  Having not read too much of Jason as Red Hood or Robin this was a good introduction.

year one: batman/ra's al ghul

year one: batman/ra's al ghul
devin grayson & paul gulacy
dc comics
published 2005

If one person cheats death, it's luck.  But when an entire city refuses to die, it's chaos.  Batman is in a race against time to find out why the dead walk Gotham City.  Is the master criminal Ra's al Ghul behind it all?  Ra's has cheated death for hundreds of years, and now it seems he may have lived on to fight against last time.

This seemed so promising.  Ra's al Ghul, Batman and, wait for it.....zombies!  buuuuut we didn't really get too much involvement with the zombies. :(  *sad face*

The background story about Ra's was interesting and the idea was great, but there was no real meat to the story.  I wanted more.  I guess I could get more if I read books in which he was actually still alive so I really don't have anything to complain about.

Except for the lack of zombies.

batman: war crimes

batman: war crimes
andersen gabrych, devin grayson, bill willingham, bruce jones, will pfeifer
giuseppe camuncoli, pete woods, eddy barrows, ron randall, thomas derenick
dc comics
published 2005


Stephanie Brown wanted to be the Batman's newest partner.  She failed.  She died.  And now, amid widespread accusations that he was at fault, the Dark Knight begins an investigation into her murder that ultimately leads to Gotham City's undisputed mob boss, the Black Mask.

But as rumors of a violent, almost crazed Batman spread through the city streets, many wonder if the Dark Knight has been pushed over the edge.

Will the sudden arrival of his deadliest opponent, the Joker, coupled with the return of another old foe, long believed dead, make a volatile situation even worse?  And who will survive when Batman at last confronts Stephanie's true killer?

Ok so this is going to be a short review because this is actually a pretty short collection meant to wrap up the events in War Games.  Here's what I liked:  

I liked the wrap up.  After what happened to Stephanie it would have been a bummer not to find out what the aftermath was like.  I liked the closure concerning the media as well.  Just desserts, right?

Here's what I didn't like:
Stephanie's actual killer made no sense.  I mean, they explained it and all, but really?  Meh.  And also, the return of the Joker just seemed like a 'we want to sell issues' kind of move.  He was really not necessary to the plot at all and it seemed weird that he would miss the three days of chaos that just happened only to come back after everything is settled.

It's worth the read if you read War Games, but if you were to just pick this one up you'd definitely feel cheated!

batman: war games volumes 1-3

batman: war games, act 1 - outbreak
batman: war games, act 2 - tides
batman: war games, act 3 - end game
ed brubaker, adersen gabrych, devin grayson, dylan horrocks, aj. lieberman, bill willingham
ramon bachs, al barrionuevo, giuseppe camuncoli, paul gulacy, kinsun, mike lilly, sean phillips, brad walker, pete woods, jon proctor, thomas derenick, mike huddleston
dc comics
published 2004

Gotham City's underworld families respond to a mysterious summons for a summit.  Fear, suspicion and paranoia get the better of them and bullets fly fast and furious.  As familiar warlords fall, a new wave of chaos engulfs the city.  Batman must use every available asset - Oracle, Batgirl, Nightwing, Orpheus, Onyx and Tarantula - to preserve life and contain the trouble, while determining who is the mastermind behind the conflagration.

It's hard to review stuff like this without giving away key plot points that make the story is great as it is.  There are moments here where I thought 'oh crap, didn't see that coming!' and I don't know if it's because I'm not as immersed in this era of Batman or if it really was an 'oh crap, didn't see that coming!' moment for others who read it as well.

I'm not so versed when it comes to Orpheus or Onyx and I didn't even really remember there was ever another Batgirl besides Barbara Gordon so there was a lot of new material for me to digest.  There is a lot of drama in this collection and this was one of those collections where I felt like I should have read the issues before these, but that's a lot of backstory and until I can get my hands on all 630 Batman issues before this one I'm probably always going to be behind.

Nonetheless, this was an engaging, gripping series.  There were a few times when I was a little lost as to who was speaking, but that was usually cleared up pretty fast.  I would surely recommend this one to anyone who was looking to get into the Batman world.  It's got some pretty big moments...

batman: the long halloween

batman: the long halloween
jeph loeb & tim sale
dc comics
published 2011

Taking place during Batman's early days of crime fighting, this new edition of the classic mystery tells the story of a mysterious killer who murders his prey only on holidays.  Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month.

The title was appropriate.  This was the longest Batman book I've ever read.  Not in length per se, but it how long in felt.  I didn't care for the story, didn't care for the art (which is odd since I have enjoyed Tim Sale's art before) and I really didn't care for this Batman.  Mostly, the Mother's Day period.  I mean, I understand that would be a difficult holiday for Bruce/Batman, but he lost his freaking marbles there and it didn't portray vulnerability (which I think Loeb was going for), but I was just embarrassed for Batman.

I will say this, loved the twist....thought that was worth reading the whole book just for that twist.  So yes, I'd recommend it, but I will say that I didn't think we had to have an entire year of a killer to make it an interesting story.

saga, volumes 1 & 2

saga, volume 1
saga, volume 2
brian k. vaughn & fiona staples
image comics
published 2012

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

This is one of those books that I've seen a million times, heard about a million times, read about a million times, but never really felt like picking it up.  Maybe it's because it's written by Brian K. Vaughn and while I did enjoy Y: The Last Man, I didn't completely fall in love with it.  Plus, this sort of fantasy stuff isn't usually my go to.

But I started going through lists geek girls were writing about graphics you just have to read and across the board Saga is one of them.  I happened to be at the library (shocker, I know) one day and they had these two volumes sitting there so I figured, why the hell not?

And I'm so glad I did.  I enjoyed Saga much more than I ever expected.  There's strangely everything in this book.  Love, war, aliens, monsters, robots, villains, heroes, anti-heroes, betrayal, name it, it's in here.

Alana and Marko just want to find a peaceful way out of a war to raise a child that shouldn't exist.  The warring factions send out assassins to kill them because they represent a unity that the rulers just can't let people know is possible.  It's hard not to fall completely in love with Alana and Marko so it seems odd that I found myself sympathetic to almost every character introduced.  Everyone is just trying to make it through this war and amidst all the fighting what seems to be the unifying theme is family.  However you want to define that.

The dialogue is witty and sharp and the characters are vastly different across the board.  The art is flawless and moments jump out and either delight or disgust you.  Either way it's brilliant.

Monday, March 3, 2014

batman: hush, volumes 1 & 2

batman: hush, vol. 1
batman: hush, vol. 2
jeph loeb, jim lee & scott williams
graphic novels/mystery/crime
dc comics
published 2003

Batman: Hush is a thrilling mystery in which Batman sets out to discover the identity of a mysterious mastermind using The Joker, The Riddler, Ra's al Ghul and the Dark Knight's other enemies - and allies - as pawns in a plan to wreak havoc.

I've got to say that some of my favorite Batman books have to be when multiple heroes & villains make an appearance.  I was not disappointed there!  Catwoman, The Huntress, Nightwing, many peoples!  Then it just seemed like an endless parade of all the major villains stopped by to give the Bats a hard time in some way or another.

And the art, dang.  I loved the watercolory flashback scenes best and I'm always a sucker for full color books.

I read these two much faster than it's taken me to read The Long Halloween (which I'm still not finished with).  The story was much faster paced and it kept me pretty hooked!

cover reveal: drawing amanda

Stephanie Feuer's new novel, Drawing Amanda is the winner of Hipso Media's Next Big YA Book competition.  I'm currently in LOVE with this cover and was so excited when I was asked to participate in the cover reveal!  S. Y. Lee's illustration for the cover caught me and I can't wait to see how her illustrations will be incorporated into the eBooks!

From Hipso Media:
DRAWING AMANDA is set in the under-parented, high-expectation world of a Manhattan international prep school.  Fourteen-year-old Inky Kahn, smarting from the death of his father, only wants to have his artwork seen and appreciated.  When he submits a drawing of his secret crush - Amanda - to an Internet game developer, Inky inadvertently draws her into a cyber-stalker's lair.  Now Inky must use his art to save his muse and trap the creep before he ensnares anyone else.

I don't come across too many books written from the male POV and written by a female so I'm pretty intrigued to start reading.  I'll let you know what I think of it, but for now feast your eyes on this:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

a catered murder

a catered murder
a mystery with recipes
isis crawford
kensington books
published 2004

Bernadette Simmons wasn't sure what to expect when she left L.A. - and her no-good, cheating boyfriend - to move back in with her family in New York.  And her sister Libby had no idea what she was in for when she hired Bernie to work for her catering business.  But in between cutting up canapes and dishing up desserts, the two find themselves in the midst of a mystery they can really sink their teeth into.

It's only been a few days since Bernie and Libby started working together at A Little Taste of Heaven, and already they've got their hands full - baking cookies and slicing rare beef tenderloin to serve at a high school reunion.  The dinner has a "Dracula" these and a very strange guest of honor: Laird Wrenn, a New York Times bestselling author of vampire novels.  Libby and Bernie know this will be an evening unlike any other.  And they're proven right when Laird pours a glass of water, takes a long sip - and drops stone-cold dead.

Now with murder on the menu and Libby under suspicion, the sisters will have to put their heads together to figure out whodunit - in a mystery that promises to be deadly to the very last bite.

Exploring the 'cozies' type of mystery I came across this series.  Recipes and mysteries?!  Sounds awesome!  Now, I haven't tried the recipes yet, but I did finish the book and I have to say, I didn't love it.  I think that reading Pure used up all my good book karma this past week.  Out of the last 5 books I've read I loved Pure, A Fatal Grace was okay, hated Evernight and Killer and this one were just meh.

But it happens, right?

**slight spoilers ahead**

The killer ultimately was a surprise because they weren't even offered up as a suspect and there was no backstory given on them.  When revealed though, it didn't really feel like a 'wow' twist.  It felt like a 'what the heck?' out of left field kind of twist.  I like to be able to have a chance to figure out the mystery and wonder how they pulled it off.

And the killer's motive was an interesting one so it's kind of sad it wasn't elaborated much.

I also didn't care for Libby much.  Control yourself a bit woman!  Food, her emotions, nothing.  She would just blurt out the absolute wrong thing to say all the time.  Then there were things like Bernie saying to herself how she truly believes people can change.  Then 5 pages later Libby is asking Bernie if she thinks people can change and she says 'absolutely not'.  Huh?

I will read the second book because there was enough her, enough about Libby, Bernie and their father for me to be interesting in finding out more.  And the book wasn't horrible it was just okay.  Maybe it will get better?  Plus, I got the second book for free and that's why I had to find this one at the library.

So I reserve judgement on the series until I finish at least the next one.  Stay tuned....

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