Friday, October 30, 2015

Book/Graphic Novel Review: Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

Descender, Volume 1: Tin Stars
by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen
Publication Date: September 9, 2015
Publisher: Image
Buy It: Amazon / TBD
Source: NetGalley

""Your new sci-fi obsession is here, and its name is Descender..." - Entertainment Weekly

"Jeff and Dustin are accomplishing something special... " - Boing Boing

"Jeff Lemire has dreamt up an emotional, imaginative new universe, lavishly brought to life by the great Dustin Nguyen. I can't wait to see where they take TIM-21 next." - Brian K. Vaughan, Saga

Young Robot boy TIM-21 and his companions struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. Written by award-winning creator, Jeff Lemire, Descender is a rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey. Lemire pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling epic. Collecting issues #1-6 of Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Trillium) and Dustin Nguyen's (Little Gotham) critically acclaimed, bestselling new science fiction series!

Collects DESCENDER #1-6

My Review:

A science-fiction graphic novel set in the future when people left Earth and settled in a nine-planet galaxy. It takes place 10 years after an attack by Harvesters on all nine planets. The Harvesters were giant robots that killed millions of inhabitants and no one knows much about them. Because of this the survivors melted all the robots on the planets they could find. We are taken to a mining planet on the outskirts of the galaxy where one last robot exists, TIM-21. TIM-21 has just been reactivated and finds his 'family' deceased due to a massive explosion just after the Harvesters arrived. TIM-21 may hold the key to understanding the Harvesters and it seems everyone in the galaxy wants him. This is TIM-21's story, along with his friends.  

The art fits the story and was well done.  The colors used help you get a sense of the coldness and bareness of the landscape on planets like the mining colony and in space. The story itself is well-written and thought out. The inhabitants and the planets were so creative. I want to know more about the inhabitants of the galaxy- the different races- and know more about the planets! Reading this was really enjoyable.  

This first volume includes issues 1-6 and I heard there may be a total of 24 issues planned. From the first volume you can tell the later volumes will have many developments plot-wise and many more planets to get acquainted with. I am more interested in the galaxy created and how/why the Harvesters arrived. This first volume of Descender set the background and introduced the characters to show their strengths and flaws. As is necessary in many first volumes of series. This has great potential and would recommend this to anyone who loves science fiction. 

About Jeff Lemire: 

Jeff Lemire is an award-winning Canadian cartoonist, and the author of the Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth and The Nobody. Lemire is known for a his moody, humanistic stories and sketchy, cinematic, black-and-white art.
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen

Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs
by Erik Didriksen
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Quirk Books
Buy It: Amazon / TBD
Source: NetGalley

"The Bard meets the Backstreet Boys in Pop Sonnets, a collection of 100 classic pop songs reimagined as Shakespearean sonnets. All of your favorite artists are represented in these pages—from Bon Jovi and Green Day to Miley Cyrus, BeyoncĂ©, and beyond. Already a smash sensation on the Internet—the Tumblr page has 20,000+ followers—Pop Sonnets has been featured by the A.V. Club, BuzzFeed, and Vanity Fair, among many others. More than half of these pop sonnets are exclusive to this collection and have never been published in any form. "

My Review:

A big Thank You to Quirk Books!! 

A great gift for those who love Shakespeare and music. An innovative idea and in an aesthetically appealing hardcover edition. It was fun to read them out loud to my husband and have him try to guess the song. Of course, it is better if you already know the songs. You will want this in hardcover since the edition is gorgeous and your friends can look through when they visit. Some of the songs that stood out to me were: "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix Alot, "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, and "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette.

Pop Sonnets is divided into five sections:
1. Sonnets of Love
2. Sonnet of Despair 
3. Songs of Time and Mortality
4. Rogues, Rascals and Wanton Women
5. Ballads of Heroes 

5/5 Stars
More sonnets here: 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Top Five Wednesday: Halloween Recommendations

I am ashamed to say I haven't read many horror novels. I tend to go towards Gothic or fantasy, but here is a variety of genres to choose from that I have read and recommend you try: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Gothic classic, quirky horror, and classic witches and ghosts. 

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Books On To-Buy TBR

+Dracula by Bram Stoker

+We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

+Locke and Key Graphic Novel Series by Joe Hill

+NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

+Let The Right One In by John Lindqvist

+Bird Box by Josh Malerman

+Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

+Pride and rejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

+Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

+The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road 
by Erin Bowman
Date of Publication: September 1, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Buy It: Amazon / TBD
Source: NetGalley / Bought own copy

"When Kate Thompson's father is killed by the notorious Red Rose Gang for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation."

My Review:

“That sound real nice, boy,” he says. “Now for the love of God, lower that damn pistol.”

“All right,” I says.

And I do.

Right after I shoot him through the skull.

Vengeance Road is a YA novel based on The Lot Dutchman lore from late 19th-century Arizona with liberties Bowman took surrounding some of the characters in the myth. It follows tom-boy Kate who's out to seek vengeance for her father's murder by the Rose Riders. The Rose Riders is a gang notorious for their brute behavior and little mercy given to their victims. This stand-alone Western takes you on a journey through Arizona to the Superstition Mountains in 1877 as Kate tracks down the Rose Riders with great scenic imagery for ambiance. Vengeance Road introduces you to several endearing side characters. Kate meets Jesse and Will, brothers who are entertaining and a necessary binary attribute in temperament to Kate's fearless and ruthless mentality. We also meet Liluye, a Native American girl who imparts her wisdom to Kate and helps show the diversity of people who inhabited Arizona in the 19th century.   
One thing that I enjoyed about this book was the brutality. I didn't know YA could be so cutthroat and I loved it! It reminded me of the classic Western movies and the plot with the descriptions made it easy to picture in my mind as if it was one. I personally love historical fiction and appreciate Bowman's attention to describing the clothing, buildings, and landscape in the novel. 
I felt Vengeance Road was incredibly well written: incorporating the dialect for authenticity and the prose! Kate is a brave heroine who is trying to cope with her father's murder. You come to love her, Jesse, Will and Liluye in the novel. While reading you'll feel anger, sympathy, loss, happiness, among other emotions. Erin Bowman did a wonderful job with this novel. I hope she writes a companion sometime in the future.  

Lasting Impression:
I love the Erin Bowman's writing style and she did great with incorporating a Western dialect in the prose and dialogue! I normally don't gravitate toward westerns, but after reading Vengeance Road I feel YA needs more of them. It shows Bowman did her research given the extensive scenic descriptions, the folklore surrounding the story, and the incorporation of historical authenticity (clothing, people in the area in 1877, etc). I love historical fiction anyway so this was a 4.5/5 star book for me! 
I received a copy for review and before finishing with that copy I bought my own. I knew I would want this book in its physical form and to reread it someday. I can easily imagine this being on the small or big screen. Now I am eager to read her Taken series!

Vengeance Road Pinterest Board made by Erin Bowman:

Key Points:
No insta-love, constant action, Wild West, entertaining side characters, great writing, awesome & fearless protagonist, historical fiction. 

Buy the Book
The cover feels gritty like a desert, the colors are great, the cover art is great, and the book naked fits the theme.

About the Author:
Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.
Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. She is the author of TAKEN, FROZEN, and FORGED (4/14/15) from HarperTeen.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Top Authors You Discovered This Year

I started reading from many new authors (to me) this year. I found some that I would love to continue reading their works! 

5. TIE: Laura Dockrill / Julie Mayhew

4. Douglas Adams

3. Stephanie Perkins

2. Brian K. Vaughan

1. Erin Bowman

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Wishes

This week's topic is: 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me. 
 This could be anything: a new book from a certain author,  a reading superpower, a library that is your absolutely #librarygoals, a character to come to life, to met a certain author etc. etc.) 

10. More bookish friends in real life. 

9. I had unlimited amounts of money for books and bookish things.

8. Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood got married and lived happily ever after. 

7. Sirius Black was still alive. 

6. Etienne St. Clair was my boyfriend in high school. 

5. Matching Lord of the Rings Trilogy that goes with my edition of The Hobbit. 

4. Hogwarts was real.

3. The Library of Alexandria to to come back.

2. The library of my dreams.

1. The power to read faster.

What would be your wishes?
Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review: Irona 700 by Dave Duncan

Irona 700
by Dave Duncan
Date of Publication: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Buy It: Amazon / TBD
Source: NetGalley

"Fantasy at its most enchanting: An original and absorbing tale from a master storyteller about the profound effects of a single life on the battle against ultimate evil

It is Midsummer Day, the beginning of the year 700, in the city of Benign. All the children born in the year 684 celebrate their joint sixteenth birthday by passing in front of the statue of the blind goddess Caprice—but only one will become the Chosen and join the Seventy who govern and guide the city.
Much to her surprise, Irona Matrinko, one of the many children of an impoverished fisherman, is chosen. Irona 700 moves into the palace and, with the help of a new mentor, recognizes and cultivates her great talent for guiding wars: strategy and tactics, leadership and inspiration.
As Irona gives her life to the city, an ancient enemy, Maleficence, attacks again and again, corrupting Irona’s friends, destroying her lover, and continually defeating her grandest plans for peace and harmony. Along the way, Irona becomes a masterful politician, a shrewd judge of character, and, even at great cost to her personal happiness, a true heroine."

My Review:
 A stand-alone fantasy novel set in a world similar to ancient Phoenician, Mycenaean, an Babylonian periods. To me at least. A place where men fight with swords, servants carry their masters in litters, and Maleficence is tucked away in the corners of the world. The novel follows the political life of Irona 700, one of the Chosen of Caprice to lead the Empire of Benign. Every year all the 16 year-olds of Benign are paraded to the old city to throw a disk into a basin at the temple to see who will become the next Chosen for the goddess Caprice. These Chosen comprise of The Seventy who rule of Benign and the surrounding Empire. They then elect Seven of themselves as head officers and one First who outweighs all in political procedures. There are no royal lineages and women are treated equally.
 Irona is one of the few morally adept of the Seventy to understand the Empire has flaws in its policies and how it treats other tribes. One thing I enjoyed about this novel is that it has a strong female protagonist who succeeds politically and doesn't preoccupy herself too much with love. While I liked the main character, the character development itself wasn't extraordinary. I didn't feel much empathy for the characters even though I followed them throughout most of their lives. Always lurking is an fantastical element that is referred to as Maleficence that the people of the Empires have fought against and feared. The world itself is interesting. There are elements that remind you to ancient Mediterranean civilizations and those of more arid areas like the Levant area. The story in some parts didn't really seem to go anywhere and felt like it was just a compilation of Irona's successes and failures. Each chapter covers a certain year(s) that were the major points of her career as a Chosen. I was more interested to see how the author created this world and if Irona would advance politically. 

The Good: 
Irona's wit and political savvy; diversity of tribes, people, and lands; political scheming and military scheming; Irona's leadership and intergrity

The Bad: 
Character development; sometimes lack of direction

Recommended For Those Who Like:
Ancient history, strong female protagonists, little romance, war, political fantasy, trogs.

About the Author: 
Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, and The King's Blades. He is both a founding and honorary lifetime member of SF Canada. Dave and his wife Janet, his in-house editor and partner for over fifty years, live in Victoria, British Columbia. They have three children and four grandchildren. Visit his blog and webpage:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Oh man. So we got a 10 week old puppy this month. = Not as much reading done or posts made. I didn't finish all I wanted to finish and blog about. I am currently reading four books for review. It is not the fault of any of the books that it is taking so long to read. I have been zombie-like and my life is centered around a puppy who eats, potty, sleeps, plays constantly. We have to carry her up and down 4 flights of stairs for potty to take care of her hips. I haven't been able to focus on my classes as well which started this month. I am happy I had such a great month in August, but it has not carried over to September. I am hoping October will be when we have better routines in our household. My quiet, organized life is over.
I found a bookstore in the city with a few of the rubbery Penguin English Classics in stock!!! I grabbed as many as my bank account could handle. There is still one more there that I hope they still have when I go back next month. I had a couple Amazon orders this past month as well. I purchased Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews to hold over until the Kindle price goes down on Magic Shifts or my library gets it. I also went to an independent bookstore and got A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride.

What I Read:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. 4.5/5 Stars. I loved this book! I wanted to be 10 years younger and live in Paris. I understand the huge hype now around the book. It is so adorable and funny! I used my Luna Lovegood magnetic bookmark while reading it.

Currently Reading:

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman. I am really enjoying this book! I was so taken away with it before the puppy came. I am upset I had to pause reading it.

The Courtesan by Alexandra Curry. The story of a real life Chinese courtesan who lived in the late 20th, early 21st Century.

Irona 700 by Dave Duncan. A fantasy novel that reminds me of ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean. Follows a girl from the outskirts of a kingdom becoming a Chosen politician by the Goddess Caprice.

The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson. A dense, yet interesting nonfiction book on how to construct your own language from the creator of the televised Dothraki of Game of Thrones.

October TBR:

I might as well try to finish my currently reading first. However, here are the books I had planned on reading in October.

Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles. Published by Switch Press. This is for review and a great book to read in October.

Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen. Published by Quirk Books

Blonde Eskimo by Kristen Hunt. Published by Spark Press.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.

Blog Posts:

The Banned Books I have read and want to read:

Chocolate Book Tag:

My Top 10 Fall TBR: