Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: The Midnight Star

TITLE: The Midnight Star
Book 3 in The Young Elites Trilogy
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
PUBLISHED: October 2016
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Adelina has taken control. But she is forced to reunite with old comrades and her sister when a new danger appears.
MY REVIEW: This trilogy has been...interesting to say the least. When it first started, I liked it well enough but also found it pretty average. Then...I read the second book and Lu took the trilogy in a direction I actually wasn't at all expecting. That doesn't happen much in YA nowadays. I still tip my hat to her for that.
This last book continued to surprise. Once again, there was an ending I didn't expect. The author did not take easy routes with things. Storylines were tied up nicely (and in some cases tragically).
This is one of the few trilogies that has managed to get better with each installment. I am very pleased with how it went and I am extremely excited for Warcross. I think Marie Lu has basically made it onto my auto-buy list.
WHO SHOULD READ: Marie Lu fans, those that have read the first two books
MY RATING: Four out of Five satisfying endings

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: DC Universe: Rebirth

TITLE: DC Universe-Rebirth, Deluxe Edition
AUTHOR: Geoff Johns
ART: Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis
STARTED: May 2016
COLLECTING: Rebirth arc
PREMISE: The DC universe gets another reboot with the return of Wally West who has been lost in the speedforce and needs someone to remember him to get out.
MY REVIEW: This collection is...a bit tricky to review. It's not the entire launch of Rebirth for one. It's just the main issues explaining why the new universe is happening. Spoiler alert: it's Flash's fault. If you watch CW's The Flash, you are probably not at all surprised by this.
As far as explanations go...I guess it makes sense. The explanation of Wally's past was appreciated as I'm...not terribly familiar with the Flash family to be honest. Most of my info about it comes from my time reading the Impulse comic book back in the day (who I mostly became a fan of through the Young Justice comic run), animated Justice League, and CWs The Flash.
Now the big question I've been hearing: Can you read this as new fans? Eh...maybe? If you've been watching The Flash TV show and have minor comic book knowledge...you should be good to go. The Watchman reference at the end might go over your head though.
Now is Rebirth good? Hard to say. Honestly, I think judging how successful Rebirth is will be hard to judge until the story has been going on at least a year or so. The thing with Marvel/DC arcs is a lot of their stories tend to unfold slowly and over 12 issues or so depending on the arc/writer's run. All I can judge is this bit here and this bit here is...a decent beginning. It's far more accessible then New52 was, so that's something.
WHO SHOULD READ: DC fans, CW Flash fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five new beginnings

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Notable Books of the Week: 1/15-1/21

Here are some notable book releases on my radar that were released this past week:

YA:

Carve the Mark Book 1 by Veronica Roth

I'll be honest, it's pretty up in the air if I'm ever going to read this. Divergent and I...I have issues with it, lets just say. I've also heard some iffy things about the representation going on in here that make me very hesitant to pick it up. If I do, it'll be from the library. But it's a pretty big release from this week. So it's on the list,

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This book has been getting tons of buzz and I've heard great things about the author's previous book: More Happy Than Not.







Adult Fiction:

Human Acts by Han Kang

If you're into the literary fiction scene, this is a book a lot of your literary group is probably going to be talking about.

Fever 9: Feversong by Karen Marie Moning

Another one where it's kind of up in the air about whether or not I'll ever read it (I'm kind of over the Fever series, too many issues with how the author handles rape and other things). But if you're still into it, your wait for the sequel is over.





Non-Fiction:

My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King

A autobiography from the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King. Kudos to the publishers for the timing of this book.







Graphic novels/manga released this past week:

Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (more Rebirth arc stuff)
Aquaman Vol. 1: The Drowning
The Flash, Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 2


Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Ahsoka

TITLE: Ahsoka
Star Wars Canon series
AUTHOR: E.K. Johnston
PUBLISHED: October 2016
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Science Fiction, Media Tie-In
PREMISE: A look at Ahsoka and what she got up too in between the time we see her leave Clone Wars and the time she appears on Rebels.
MY REVIEW: If you are just a watcher of the Star Wars movies, you might not know Ahsoka. If this is the case, I strongly advise checking out Clone Wars (that takes place between Ep. 2 and 3, and then Star Wars Rebels (that takes place between ep. 3 and ep. 4). Don't be turned off by the fact that they're cartoons, they still have that great Star Wars feeling and in many cases, flesh out plot holes from the prequel trilogy (which lets face it, there are many plot holes). One of my favorite things about these two series, was the character of Ahsoka. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I learned there was going to be a book featuring her.
So...my expectations for this may have been a little high then I normally have for Star Wars books. But all in all, I think the author delivered. Mostly I just wanted to know how she got involved with the rebellion and this book definitely answered that in a plausible way. It also reminded me: I really want a Bail Organa book. Please, can I have one, Disney? Pretty Please?
Was this as good as say...Bloodlines was? Maybe not. But on the whole, this was a very satisfying Star Wars story and all I can say is...keep it coming guys. You've had a few bumps here and there (the Aftermath Trilogy...sorry Wendig, I am not a fan of your writing style and Tarkin) but overall, I really love what this new Star Wars Canon has been bringing us.
WHO SHOULD READ: Star Wars fans, Ahsoka fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five lightsabers

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

So You've Finally: Watched Your DVR of the Golden Globes

Lets be honest, a lot of us probably didn't watch the Golden Globes live, we dvr'd it for later if we remembered to dvr it at all. If you've finally sat through the whole thing (minus commercials you lucky thing) you probably are curious about all the books these movies/tv shows are based on or you have a favorite movie/TV show and you want more like it. I hear you and am providing such a list.

A Long Way Home
AUTHOR: Saroo Brierley

Some people don't know this, but the film Lion starring Dev Patel is based off of this 2013 non-fiction book.







Deadpool Classic Omnibus vol. 1
AUTHOR: various

I'm still pretty amused that a superhero movie managed to get nominated for a Golden Globe. Deadpool has been around for quite awhile now and I say the best place to start with his story is the beginning with this collection of his earlier appearances.



Song of Ice and Fire series
AUTHOR: George R. R. Martin

I'm sure everyone and their mother knows GoT was a book series before it was a TV show. But just in case you didn't know...





Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music
AUTHOR: Blair Tindall

The comedy series Mozart in the Jungle is inspired by this 2005 memoir.






The Run of His Life: The People V. O.J. Simpson
AUTHOR: Jeffrey Toobin

While I'm sure the writers of the mini-series the People VS OJ used a lot of material, I understand a majority of the basis for the show came from this book.



The Dresser
AUTHOR: Ronald Harwood

The British TV film The Dresser is based on a play of the same name.







The Night Manager
AUTHOR: John le Carre

The mini-series which won quite a few awards at the Golden Globes is based on this 1993 novel by the same author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and other spy novels.




You loved Stranger Things (I'm so with you, might do a rec list for books when season 2 comes out)

Firestarter
AUTHOR: Stephen King

Honestly pretty much any Stephen King novel, particularly his early ones, are sure to please Stranger Things fans. But I especially recommend this one about a government trying to control a girl with powers. This girl and Eleven should totally become besties.




You loved The Crown (I binge watched it too, don't feel bad. Also will likely have a rec list for this show in the future)

Young Elizabeth: The Making of a Queen
AUTHOR: Kate Williams

There are a ton of great bios out there on Queen Elizabeth and her whole royal family. But if you were especially fascinated by the early days of Queen Elizabeth, this book is probably your best bet.





If you are now pumped for the Academy Awards:

85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards
AUTHOR: Robert Osborne

For history nerds out there here's a look the long history of the Oscars.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: In the Country We Love-My Family Divided

TITLE: In the Country We Love-My Family Divided
AUTHOR: Diane Guerrero
PUBLISHED: May 2016
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Memoirs
PREMISE: Actress Diane Guerrero talks about how immigration laws have effected her family and her life.
MY REVIEW: This is a book I've been meaning to get too for awhile now. I'm glad I finally did. As far as memoir writing style goes, it's fairly standard. But Guerrero is a gifted story teller. I seriously would not be opposed to her writing a fiction book sometime. Just throwing that out there for ideas.
The one part of this book that I think is incredibly important for everyone to read is the last chapter. Guerrero deftly explains why building a wall will not do a damn thing to keep out immigrants, why immigrants are not the ones harming the US, and why we need serious immigration reform. I want to print out that chapter and hand it to anyone who rants about how immigrants are somehow the ones ruining this country (but are then quick to insist that they aren't racist).
This is an interesting memoir that leaves a lot to be thought about. Even if you aren't interested in the immigration talk, Guerrero's life and how she got into show business and her witty story telling make for a very interesting and fast read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Orange is the New Black fans, Jane the Virgin fans, celebrity memoir fans, those interested in the topic of immigration
MY RATING: Four out of Five awesome celebrities being awesome

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Goldie Vance

TITLE: Goldie Vance
NUMBER IN SERIES: Vol. 1, issues 1-4
AUTHOR: Hope Larson
ART: Brittney Williams
PUBLISHER: Boom!Box
SERIES START: April 2016
GENRE: Historical Mystery
PREMISE: Got a problem at the Cross Palms Resort? Goldie Vance and her friends can solve the mystery for you!
MY REVIEW: Welcome to the first of hopefully many comic book/manga reviews. I have always read comic books and manga, I've just never really reviewed them on here before. I decided that it was high time I started doing that. So along with a wide variety of books, you're going to get the occasional graphic novel or manga as well.
Goldie Vance is a new all ages comic that started last year and I've been hearing lots of great things about it. Basically Goldie is a kid living in a fancy resort that her father runs and she gets up to all kinds of mischief and adventure. It's sort of a cross between Nancy Drew and Suite Life of Zack and Cody with more diversity then both of those things had. Along with the cuteness is beautiful art that fits the series perfectly.
This particular volume only has issues one through four. So it cuts off a bit and goes into another story arc. If you want to leave it at four issues, you probably can with no problem. But I for one am looking forward to seeing what new adventures Goldie gets up too.
WHO SHOULD READ: Nancy Drew fans, Lumberjanes fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five (for this volume anyway)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Notable Books: 1/8-1/14

Here are some notable books/comics that were released this past week.

Middle-Grade Fiction:

The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey

I've enjoyed this author's work before and between that and the cover, I'm very curious about this middle-grade fantasy.







YA

Roseblood by A.G. Howard

A retelling of Phantom of the Opera from the author of the imaginative Splintered.







Poison's Kiss Book 1 by Breeana Shields

Interesting looking start of a new series based around Indian mythology.








Adult Fiction:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

An original adult fairytale with historical Russian setting? Yes, please.








Veronica Speedwell Book 2: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Okay, this one is just a personal one I'm looking forward too. But if you love historical fantasy and mysteries, look into this fun series.






Some Notable Graphic Novels released this week:

Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen (part of the Rebirth arc)
Superman Vol. 1: Son of Superman (part of Rebirth)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: Difficult Women

TITLE: Difficult Women
AUTHOR: Roxane Gay
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Short Stories
PUBLISHED: January 3rd, 2017
PREMISE: A collection of some old and some new stories from the author of Bad Feminist.
MY REVIEW: I managed to get this book by pure luck. Hoopla already has it in their selection so I grabbed it (as well as a couple of other 2017 releases. FYI, I love Hoopla). As there was a day it was snowing last week, I sat and read this all in one or two sittings. It helps that it's fairly short to begin with and the stories go by quickly.
As always with story collections, this was a mixture in quality. Some were very good, others were so short I didn't really have time to form any feelings on them. They're all sort of quiet character study books that make you think about labels, particularly the labels and judgments we heap upon women. It's all done in Roxane Gay's always memorable writing style.
If you're like me and have been a fan of Gay's for awhile now, this is a great one to pick up. If you're not, it's a good intro to her writing (this or Bad Feminist). This is probably a book that won't be to everyone's taste, but luckily for me, it happened to be to mine. If this first book of 2017 is any indication, we're in for a good publishing year.
WHO SHOULD READ: Roxane Gay fans, literature fans, feminists
MY RATING: Four out of Five short and sweet stories

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

So You've Finally: Read all of the Rick Riordan books

Welcome to the new way of doing recommendation lists. These are basically the same idea as my thematic Sunday posts, but I am going to be doing them on Wednesdays now, so I thought I'd do rename them, as well as do them a little differently.

Now the title is So You've Finally. It'll be a variety of things from watching TV shows/movies to completing that it book of the moment. These lists are to help you get an idea of where to go after you've finally done the thing everyone's bugged you about doing (and presumingly enjoyed said thing).

The first one is in honor of me catching up on Rick Riordan this past year or so. Here's where to go after you've read all the Percy Jackson books, the Kane Chronicles, the Magnus Chase books, the graphic novels, everything.

So You've Finally: Read All of Rick Riordan's Books. Here's What to Read Next:

If you want another middle-grade series with snark and magical hijinks:

The Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

For more fast-paced magical hijinks with humor, check out this series about a boy who gets sent to a magical school, only he doesn't want to be there.







Annabeth was your favorite (as well she should be):

The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Origins

Honestly, any of the Wonder Woman comics will probably please you. But this recent redo of Wonder Woman's origin is probably a good way to familiarize yourself with the iconic superhero who has many ties to the Greek myths.






You want to read the myths Riordan's books were based on:

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

There are several versions of the myths out there, but for Greek myths, this is probably the most well known and widely used versions of them.






The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson

If you're looking for Norse mythology tales, this book is a great place to start.







You want more adult mythology oriented books:

Olympus Bound series Book 1: The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

If you loved the idea of the gods still being around after all these years, this new series about Artemis now being a PI trying to solve a murder case is for you.





The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

A retelling of the tale of Achilles that actually remembers, Achilles liked men.








American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Not necessarily about Greek/Egyptian/etc. gods, but this book about old gods getting by in America should appeal to any Rick Riordan fan. Also check out his upcoming book, Norse Mythology.






You'd like some more YA mythology oriented books:

Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep

Love Veronica Mars along with Percy Jackson? This series, about a girl who goes to a magical academy and solves mysteries for people, is the perfect blend of those two things.






The Chaos of Stars by Kierstan White

For Kane Chronicles fans looking for more Egyptian gods wackiness, this short and sweet book by White should fit the bill.







The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott

If you want another fast-paced adventure series to sink your teeth into, this series involving all sorts of historical figures and mythology and dealing prophecies should please.