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review 2018-02-07 19:41
Witchblade (2017) #1 - Caitlin Kittredge,Roberta Ingranata,Bryan Valenza

Complete reboot of Witchblade written and drawn by a woman. 


It's compelling, because it's got the same feel while being new, too, and I'm loving the trend of novelists writing comics.   


Beautiful art, and Alex Underwood, the former reporter with PTSD, is a fuller character than I'd expected.   She also now works with victims in New York City, and advocates for them.   


And she's got the Witchblade, although she doesn't want to acknowledge it yet.   She thinks her 'hallucinations' are part of her PTSD.  


We get a glimpse of her real power at the end of issue one.   Probably going to keep getting this digitally at this point.   I just don't have the room or money to keep adding paper books to my pull list :/

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review 2018-01-28 11:28
Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Seconds: A Graphic Novel - Bryan Lee O'Malley

The highly anticipated new standalone full-color graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew
And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.






Katie was once a chef on the brink of culinary stardom. Now, she's still a chef but struggling to get a new restaurant development off the ground. Added bonus, she keeps bumping into her ex whom she's not quite over... Yes, over the span of four years her life has been turned upside down, both personally and professionally. 


Then comes that one magical, spooky night when things were at a new low. A mystery girl appears to Katie in her room with instructions on how to get out of her predicament: write the problem in a notebook, eat this magical mushroom, sleep, wake up and get a do-over! 



The idea is for the person to only use this magic ONCE, but when Katie discovers a bed of these mushrooms right on her own property, she can't help herself, she starts trying to fix everything, absolutely everything, wrong in her life.... even going after those mild annoyances most of us shrug off. As you can imagine, things combust into hilarious disaster.



First off, I'm all for stories featuring sarcastic redheads! Add in a unique mix of restaurant staff, a spooky spectral girl with edgy fashion sense and this is one highly entertaining graphic novel. Hazel was also super adorable and provided a nice balance to Katie's jadedness.




I haven't read the Scott Pilgrim series yet (though I did see the film version), but having thoroughly loved the humor in this story -- especially Katie's responses to the narrator -- I'm now excited to start in on that series soon! 

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review 2017-12-24 21:20
Great little horror story but................
Insomniac: A Horror Thriller - Bryan Michaels

When Mason Stone is wakened to the sounds of a neighbours party he notices that his wife Natalie is missing and all that is left is her crumpled red sleeping shirt under her pillow. What follows is the ramblings of an insomniac as he tries to discover the fate of his wife but he is soon to be faced with an horrific reality. This was a fast short read that I really enjoyed and as the book proceeded, the lines between reality and sanity became merged as Mason slipped more and more into his nightmare of paranoia. I do however wish that the author had paid more attention to the atrocious grammar that littered what was otherwise a very addictive read and I list a few examples, with the missing word or wrong word enclosed in brackets...."letting everyone (know) that she didn't come home"...." but this woman was driving a Dodge and was wore (wearing) jeans"....."as Peroni began took (taking) pictures of Mason"...."who were will (willing) to listen"...."I just would like some time alone. You can came (come) back tomorrow"...."He would know it isn't is (his)


There is no excuse for such sloppiness. I read and review many books on netgalley and I expect (unfortunately) mistakes as I am reading an advance/unproofed/uncorrected copy. However Insomniac is "sold" to readers who will hopefully enjoy and review positively, yet the author seems happy to present his work littered with simple grammatical errors. Having said that I decided to review this story on its content rather than poor use of the English Language.....

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review 2017-12-07 00:24
Shocked how terrible the book is.
Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson

I've had this for several years and thought it would be a good time to read after watching 'Crown Heights' (which follows the story of a man jailed for a murder he didn't commit). It seemed like an excellent companion (even if they are not about the same men). 


Author Bryan Stevenson takes the reader though the founding of the Equal Justice Initiative, which defends the poor, the wrongly condemned, the people who are most likely to be victimized by the justice system. And in this story is of one Walter McMillian, a man on death row for a murder he didn't commit. Which is what the back summary told me and is the story that I thought was going to be told.


Instead the book meanders and tells the stories of others who are caught in the same or similar awful circumstnaces. Stevenson isn't very good in weaving the stories together. I thought the subject matter would be something that would definitely keep my interest given how horribly and horrifyingly common this is (plus the other problems with the justice system). Maybe I wasn't in the mood for a book like this but I do not understand the other reviews who say the writing is otherwise good. It was unbearable to get though and I had to begin skimming early because I just did not find the text holding my attention.


There is merit to the book and maybe this is another case where I'm totally wrong and the multitude of awards this book has is completely deserved. I do think Stevenson brings to light many important issues that are never given the proper attention and the justice system really isn't as great and dandy as far too many people seem to think it is. But it just felt like this was not the right vehicle or that Stevenson was the wrong person to tell the tale.


Maybe it just wasn't for me. Another book that I'd recommend is 'The New Jim Crow' although that is not specifically or exactly about the same topic. I bought this but wish I had borrowed it from the library instead. 

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review 2017-12-05 18:29
Mice Templar Series - Series Review
The Mice Templar, Vol. 1: The Prophecy - Bryan J.L. Glass,Michael Avon Oeming
The Mice Templar, Vol 2.1: Destiny Part One - Bryan J.L. Glass,Michael Avon Oeming,Víctor Santos
Mice Templar Volume 5 - Bryan J.L. Glass

When I was in college, I started reading the Redwall novels by Brain Jacques.  I know that I was reading below my reading level, but to say that I had read Watership Down at a very impressionable age would be an understatement.  So, give me animals doing human things or close to, and I will at least try the story.  Therefore, later in college when I discovered William Horwood while on a trip to the Netherlands, I was like WTF, why isn’t he published here in the US.  Bastards.


                Mice Templar is like Redwall in that it focuses on mice.  That’s about it.  There is more blood, there is more violence, there is less feasting, there is more death.  It is Anime and not Disney.


  Mice Templar relates the story of Karic of Cricket’s Glen and his friends and family as they struggle to make sense of a dark world, where light is not.  Karic’s home is attacked and his family and friends taken or killed.  Those that are taken are to be sacrificed in the capital.  Karic is determined to save those he lives, and so answers in the affirmative when he determines upon a course that will change not only him, but his world.


                The world of the Mice Templar is based on various European myths and history.  There are connections to Joan of Arc, to various Norse sagas, and Arthurian legends.  But it is also connection to the Dark Ages, for the mice’s world seems to be on perpetual darkness, there is not day.  Even the inclusion of the Maeven, female mice warriors, has historical precedent.  (To be fair, the inclusion of female characters who are actually truly active takes a bit, yet it is played off quite nicely in the end).


                One of the main themes that the comic series explores is the question of story telling and destiny.  Our lives are stories, and most humans convey wisdom don history though stories.  Kari is willing to take on the quest, but does he lose himself in the process?  He becomes a symbol to more than just mice.  But is that symbol something to be feared or to be worshiped, and for how long?  We tend to blame the English for the death of Joan of Arc, but the French were also culpable. 


                Part of Karic’s struggle is to reconcile the Templars who are split almost along the lines of the time of two popes, though more on a secular level than anything.  The mouse who becomes Karic’s closest friend, Cassius, has been tramlined by this war, and both Karic and his childhood friend Leito almost reenact over the course of the series.


                But what hangs over the story, one of the themes is the idea of story and the power of story.  It forces the reader to confront how story telling plays a role not just in history but in setting us on the paths we chose as well as how we view questions of faith.


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