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review 2016-09-17 16:31
"This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki
This One Summer - Mariko Tamaki,Jillian Tamaki

I read this last night after dinner. It's a 346 page YA graphic novel - a shorty.


Rose and her parents spend part of every summer in a lake cottage at Awago Beach, a small, somewhat rural summer tourist village. She and her summer friend, Windy, who has been her vacation friend since the age of 5, reconnect after a year of being a part and discover all the ways they've both changed in the last year. Meanwhile, Rose's parents are struggling, she stumbles into some town drama, and has to sort out her own feelings of attraction.


It would be hard for me to recommend this to anyone - on one hand, I appreciate how good it is at nailing some adolescent feelings and emotions against the back-drop of some heavily adult situations but where some teens would gobble this memoir-like story up, others would likely be turned off by it.


There's not resolution, no driving story, and some uncomfortable moments during Rose's summer at the lake cottage with her friend, Windy. Touching moments are made real with some great splash pages. Honestly, the art is what lifted this book to another level and gave it the emotion it needed to carry it through to the end.


As a parent, this is the type of book that I'd want to read first before handing it off to my kiddo because I'd want to ask questions/open a dialogue. While nothing graphic occurs, and while seen through very innocent eyes, it does deal with teen-pregnancy and like issues. The protagonists are 14-15, a precarious time for girls who are not quite children and definitely not adults.


I will put here that there should be a trigger warning for miscarriage and infertility.


So, I'm torn. I didn't really enjoy it but I appreciated that it was created in such a way that we get to explore complex feelings of growing up and maturing without having to see our protagonists suffer through life altering choices.


This One Summer was my real life bookclub selection for September.







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review 2016-06-18 06:19
what happens in Vegas...
Still Life Las Vegas: A Novel - James Sie,Sungyoon Choi

Really good writing with a graphic novel layered in, creating a story within a story.  I have recently enjoyed a few graphic novels, and while they are not my favorite medium, I do appreciate them.  That said, I really liked this author's writing and I would really like to experience it as just the written word. 

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review 2016-01-13 03:17
Is it possible to anthropomorphize a human torso?
Saga, Vol. 2 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan

Inventive, funny, intergalactic soap opera that features a romance novel as a plot device. What's not to love? Highly recommended.

This headless stud with eyes for nipples and a tongue sticking out of the belly button is a guard on a planet called Sextillion, a sex tourist's paradise. Also, a funny faced codpiece!

Hot interspecies sexy times, look how useful those horns are.

Ever wonder where you mind goes when you are critically injured? Look closely!

Then there is the micro-peen monster. You can him in other reviews.

PS - I almost got caught red handed working on this review, at work. I really shouldn't do that. My boss walks in and I jump to minimize the screen, but I'm nervous so I can't seem to center my mouse over that damn red X.

2016 reading challenge - satisfies 22. A graphic novel.

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review 2016-01-02 17:29
Is there an ancient proverb...
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home - Joss Whedon,Georges Jeanty,Paul Lee,Andy Owens,Dave Stewart,Richard Starkings

...about how understanding where you are going makes you a wise, rich man (or woman)?


I wish there was - I could use that kind of positive thinking.


What I'm trying to do here is put a shiny view on how I get a lot of things backward. I make out okay in the end, usually with some laughs and a good story (like how I knocked the side mirror off my car backing out of my garage last weekend...only AFTER correcting my angle so that I WOULD NOT knock off my mirror). But still, I'm notorious for doing some silly stuff.


So, I guess it's no surprise that I picked this volume to test run Buffy. Unfortunately, this series picks up in an eighth season of Buffy type of way. In other words, I began at the end. I had no idea.


This is the foil of picking up things on a whim in the meager graphic novel section of the library. (And perhaps me being a little ignorant of graphics to begin with, I should by now know that you really should put a little effort in research first).


So, having never seen a single episode of Buffy, I gave myself a little pep talk by telling myself that surely there is some wisdom out there about knowing the end.


Maybe I shouldn't say wisdom, it sounds more like astrology, now that I think about it. Darn.




I really liked this! With it's snappy dialogue, and seemingly, a fun plot that seems to strike a balance between humorous and killing stuff, I was most definitely intrigued. I immediately regretted not ever watching one single episode of Buffy - I felt like I missed out on a really spectacular concert that all my friends went to but me.


Thank goodness for Netflix.



  I'm only slightly disappointed that I know Amy is going to turn into a real evil bitch. She seems so nice in the episode where Buffy vanquishes her crazy witch of a mom.

(spoiler show)



So this is what I did on New Years Day - started from the end, on a day that's supposed to mean the beginning. The plus side is that I found something I think I'm really going to enjoy AND also put the Buffy Omnibus on hold at the library, which is actually the beginning (I think).


Side Note:


What is with comics and sound effects? I mean, for them to be effective, you'd have to actually understand the sound, right? What does this even sound like??



And why are comics allergic to the letter "C"? Or alternately, passionate about the letter "K"?





And this one doesn't even have vowels!




Is there some type of initiation I should go through for me to understand?


You know what? That's probably something else I have to research. Comiking is hard.

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review 2015-12-29 04:07
If you're a fan...just look away.
Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel - Emma Vieceli,Leigh Dragoon,Richelle Mead

Everyone looooves this book series. Seriously. Meade's Goodreads rating is among the highest I've seen. I don't think she's written one book that isn't massively rated over 4 stars.



But for me? This was so dumb.


Rose is a snarky, know-it-all, really gosh-darn-beautiful teenager vampire guardian, who is insanely interested in being the guardian to her vampire princess best friend.


At first blush, I thought that this was the beginning of a theme of friendship and loyalty. I  changed my mind after the part where Rose allows her BFF to drink her blood (which is needed for survival, obvs, BFF is a vampire!!) but the act is described as 'dirty' and 'please don't tell anyone', and Rose secretly liked it oh-so-much.


That coupled with Rose's guardian trainer,  Dimitri (a very muscly older boy-man with luscious long hair and Russian accent), and really, the theme of this book is sex.


Vampire sex and scandal. And political intrigue.


That's it. Nothing new to see here folks, just another hormone infused lusty teenager vampire adventure with no nice, redeemable characters. Well, except the one nice girl that was ingloriously killed. But, yup, just a whole lot of beautiful, privileged (though perhaps orphaned or abandoned, need some back story here) kids who have 3 square meals a day and super natural abilities.


Now, to be fair, I've not read the actual book. This here is a graphic novel that is unique in the sense that the entire first book of the series was crammed into this volume. One could say that they skipped all the detail that makes the book richer - I wonder at this choice. Was it because there wasn't enough material to create a multiple volume series out of the first book, or just another attempt to cash in? Either way, isn't very flattering to the original material.


The art, though not of my taste, was consistent at least. Everyone looked the same from page to page. I couldn't tell the difference between several of the side characters, but they weren't sex objects, ahem, love interests, so it didn't really matter. 


Maybe the book is a million times better, maybe I'm just in a bad mood tonight, but I think it's just that I have reached my tolerance threshold for ass-hat characters in unbelievably soap-opera like stories with zero depth. I guess this is set in 'high-school', so I should have known.


I guess I'm so dumb too.


(for those who may not understand the weird way my brain works, the gif is from the 1988 John Carpenter flick called They Live, which is about aliens who keep humans tame by using subliminal messages. It's watchable, I recommend it)


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