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text 2017-07-05 18:20
REVIEW BY AMY - Empty Threat (The Black Pages, #1) by Danny Bell
Empty Threat - Danny Bell

Elana Black has the power to make herself fictional. But when she decides to start saving all the people in books and TV shows who die just for the sake of advancing the plot, she quickly learns that she's not the only one with her powers.

All Elana wants to do is save people. But these others don't want the stories to change, and they'll do everything they can to stop her. 

If you had the power to change fate... to create a happy ending where there wasn't one before... would you do it if it meant risking your own?

 

@Mommy_Amers, @XpressoReads, #Coming_of_Age, #Fantasy, 4 out of 5 (very good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/amy/emptythreattheblackpages1bydannybell
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review 2017-06-22 19:47
Interesting if you are a fan.
The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook - Dann... The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook - Danny Bowien,Chris Ying

Can't remember what drove me to get this book but it sounded intriguing. I've never been to the Mission Chinese restaurants but I enjoy the stories of cooks, chefs, etc. and thought it might be a good read.

 

Part-cookbook, part biography, part interview with Danny Bowien, Chris Ying and some of the people they've worked with, etc. the book itself is trying to be too much of everything without being any one thing. I think I was under the impression it was more of a cookbook/biography of Mission Chinese itself (as in the restaurant but not necessarily the people behind it).

 

There are some really gorgeous pictures (the book itself also has a nice picture of a dish on the front cover) but I wouldn't be compelled to make any of the recipes since I am not the type to put in that effort and would trust the experts a lot more. I also wasn't all that interested in either of Danny or Chris (or anyone else's!) stories in the book. 

 

Based on Yelp reviews it seems to be they found some sort of way to make Americanized Chinese food/Americanized Asian fusion food, etc. into a "thing" which is odd because it's not a new concept.

 

As you can tell, I don't get the hype. Skip it unless you really like the concept or like cookbooks.

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review 2017-06-08 15:26
So, I loved this until the ending
Batman (2016-) #24 - Tom King,Jordie Bellaire,David Finch,Danny Miki,Clay Mann,Seth Mann

This was a more nuanced look at Batman, and what it means to be Batman, than I'd suspected when I first started reading.  On some level, it's fairly matter-of-fact, but if you want, there's much more to mine in this issue. 

 

The way that Batman deals with Claire is different than he does with any of his Robins, or Batgirl, or Batwoman.   Of course it is, although it's not because she's a girl.   He simply doesn't know her, and hasn't trained with her, or fought by her side as much as he had with any of the others. 

 

I think, given all she's lost, and given that it was her brother who really wanted to be the superhero, that it explains the difference.   Once someone committed in their world, they committed fully; they didn't fight, or hope for Bruce Wayne, or Batman, to tell them what to do.  A lack of commitment would have gotten Wayne himself, and thus Batman, killed over and over again.   How could he possibly tell a woman to fight if she wasn't sure she wanted to, on his word, and then expect her not to be killed?   (Since using her powers kills her, he couldn't possibly tell her anything expect 'do what you can do without using your powers,' too.)

 

And because he lets her in so closely, because her circumstances match his, and because she's so uncertain, they talk frankly about this life and if he's happy.   Which leads us to the ending. 

 

Which I found, quite frankly, forced.  I wonder if King was told to make this move, to be honest, which would be quite a departure from DCs earlier stance on the subject of superhero marriage.  Or maybe it's not: maybe there's a character death in the near future, although I doubt it given whom he proposed to.  Maybe she'll just laugh it off and say no, although I doubt it given what King's been building up to in this series.  I can't decide if she'll take time, or just say yes, although I'm really, really hoping it's not an immediate yes!

 

I really enjoyed this episode up until the last scene.   I finally nailed down why I felt it so forced at the time: given the talk throughout this issue, Bruce seems to have had these issues of happiness on his mind for a while.   Why he's Batman, and if that means he can be happy.   And yet, one talk later and he makes this huge commitment?   This from the man that researches everything?   This from the man who knows what a huge clusterfuck this can become?

 

I don't buy it.   I think he would at least take time to think about it, and I seriously hope the unnamed she does.   

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review 2017-04-30 01:52
Batman versus Bane continues
Batman (2016-) #19 - Tom King,Jordie Bellaire,David Finch,Danny Miki,John Scott,Sandra Hope

And what I like best about this is that Bane was meant to be a foil to Batman.   Just as powerful physically, just as strong willed, just as cunning, but without the same moral compass.   And in this storyline, he's true to that origin, or what I've heard of it.   This feels very old school Batman, in which he is simply about his code: save the people, don't kill anyone.   And he's determined to do so, and he now knows exactly what Bane is.   Y'know, his foil. 

 

And I'm kinda really loving the old school Batman feel right now.   Love, love, love.   This series has had it's rough patches, but overall?   I'm glad I stuck with it.   It's stories like this that makes me truly glad that Tom King took over Batman.   (And while at one time I would have sold out Batman to have more of King's Vision, I'm sorta only halfway there right now.   Yeah, Marvel effed with me big time, but I love Vision just enough to want more of King's Vision.   Although a King-written Red Tornado series would kinda make me melt with joy... and be 100% okay with King jumping ship and killing that series.   Although, I dunno, I think the sales numbers kinda woulda killed that anyway.)

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review 2017-04-30 01:44
Batman's past versus Bane's
Batman (2016-) #18 - Tom King,Jordie Bellaire,David Finch,Danny Miki

Batman and Bane are both orphaned, both have incredible wills and both could have been either the Bat or the villain.   Except that, arguably, Bruce Wayne is good - and Bane is not.   Except it's not that simple.   While Bruce was rich, and had a devoted caretaker, Bane was not; he was raised in prison, forced to eat raw fish, and had to fight not to drown when his cell flooded.   He wasn't raised with love after his imprisoned mother died, and in Santa Prisca - where Bane grew up, and considered the worst place on Earth by much of the DC universe - he had to depend on himself.  

 

Contrast tis to Wayne's childhood, loved and pampered while his parents were alive, and taken care of when they died.   Alfred was a father figure, who loved Bruce fiercely, and all his needs were seen to.  While Bruce pushed himself to become so strong in body and mind, he was never unwillingly in this position.   (While the panels of Bruce, fearful of the dark right after he's orphaned, are incredibly painful to read, the panel of Bane eating raw fish, and talking to his mommy, telling her he doesn't like it, is gut wrenching.   That scene keeps coming up because it's haunting me.   It's haunting.)   

 

Would Wayne and Bane have turned out to be similar if their situations were reversed?   This comic teases that possibility by showing the parallels, and differences, in their lives.   For people who had such similar, and traumatic, experiences, they also had some incredibly divergent stories, too.   

 

And the brilliance of this comic isn't in the fights, but in the way the action is a prop for these characters, propelling them onward, and revealing the darkest possibilities in between the lines.   More than that, in Secret Six, Bane is shown to be more than a power  hungry monster: he finds a daughter in Scandal Savage, and he doesn't show affection openly, and he's hard on her all the time, but he clearly cares for her a great deal.   He's not a sociopath, but rather he hasn't been shown kindness by anyone, and all life has taught him is that power means a better chance of survival.    

 

I don't think either character - Batman or Bane - would be the same if they'd swapped lives.    That would suggest that genetics, and one's personality, was completely based on nurture rather than nature.   I believe that not only is this untrue - I believe in a fair mix of nature and nurture - but that it would make for a fairly boring story.   It would still be exactly the same story King's already telling, but with the characters switched.   (Marvel's What Ifs, as well as IDWs Deviations, show that this doesn't work: if you have a different story with the same ending, it feels derivative.)   But again, King's genius here is that he doesn't tell that story, and doesn't try.   He instead draws the parallels for you, and lets you question what it would be like if the histories of the characters were swapped.  

 

Love, love, love.

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