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review 2019-02-18 14:23
Review of Papi by David Ortiz
Papi: My Story - David Ortiz

As a life-long Red Sox fan, I of course am a huge fan of David Ortiz. Some of my greatest memories as a fan involve his clutch hitting and larger than life personality. I was excited to read this book to get a behind the scenes look at the Ortiz and his life.

 

I enjoyed the book and feel like I learned a lot about Ortiz's personality and motivations. I don't think the book went deep enough in many places and I definitely wanted to read more about specific baseball games and situations. I would recommend this for Red Sox fans or hardcore baseball fans.

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review 2019-02-17 23:37
YA graphic novel about the teenage Catwoman; falls short of expectations, lacks depth, and is full of foul language
Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale - Lauren Myracle,Isaac Goodhart

Life pretty much sucks for Selina Kyle, at least for as long as she stays living at home with her mom and the endless stream of boyfriends she brings home. None have been as bad as the latest guy, Dernell, who’s cruel and will even lock Selina up in a closet when he wants to teach her a lesson. When something happens to Selina’s new cat, she can’t take it anymore; life on the streets will surely be better than staying where she feels so unhappy.

Selina joins a small ‘pack’ of street kids, learns parkour, gets close to an old friend and takes on the new name and persona ‘Catgirl.’ Usually more of a loner, she begrudgingly learns she has to trust others if she is going to survive. And she also plans to carry out some not-so-small heists in gritty, crime-addled Gotham City.

 

This YA graphic novel is fresh from the DC Ink line and is written by author Lauren Myracle, who is no stranger to teen and tween lit, writing the bestsellers ttyl, ttfn, l8r, and g8r. This also means some pretty high expectations, because of Myracle’s familiarity with her audience and her success.

‘Under The Moon’ also happens to be about probably one of the coolest female comic book icons, Catwoman, although here we really have a version of her unlike any that has been seen before. Since this Selina is only fourteen years old, she really is a girl, and so calling it ‘A Catwoman Tale’ is definitely a bit of a stretch. And so begins the problems, because if anyone has read or seen any incarnation of this character before, it’s really hard to remove that image or knowledge (only just recently Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas came out as #3 in the DC Icons series).

 

In previous comics and the novel I just mentioned, we see an older Selina, who takes care of her younger sister and is trained under Carmine Falcone, as well as a past that included her mother dying, being a prostitute, as well as training and living in Europe.

 

‘Under the Moon’ gives us a Selina with a wealth of issues: she’s a runaway, she stops going to school as a result (making her a high-school dropout), and resorts to cutting to relieve her emotional pain. While I understand the notion of presenting a teen character who has the inclination to run from her home situation (abuse in the home is a pretty valid reason), or has a problem with self-harming (I will warn readers now about this, because it’s a big trigger), since these may be relatable issues for some readers, I also take issue with that being done in a responsible manner. I feel like these are risky, BIG topics to so lightly insert into a slim 96-page graphic novel, with very little insight. It’s irresponsible to add in a topic like self-harming so casually.

 

Since this is aimed at teens who are 13 to 17, I also feel like the flagrant use of foul language was wholly unnecessary. Unlike another teen DC graphic novel coming out soon after this, Kami Garcia’s ‘Teen Titans: Raven,’ that doesn’t have expletives and talk about things like penis size thrown in, this probably will be the reason for reconsideration for libraries (especially school libraries) carrying this book. I am not naïve about the use of swearing in YA lit, but it seems excessive in ‘Under The Moon’ and distracted me from the story, being used in a way that seemed like it was used to pander to  young readers (who may think it’s ‘cool’ to talk like this).

 

I also got a very mixed notion as to who Selina is because of the swings in her characterization. Her portrayal is quite inconsistent, at once dismissive of the few friends she has, then she acts the opposite way soon afterward (although her compassion towards Rosie in the latter part of the novel is heart-warming). The self-harming comes out of nowhere. She is sometimes self-assured and then not remotely confident. And her connection to Bruce Wayne, which apparently starts in preschool, feels more confusing than it ever is in most literary and cinematic portrayals of Catwoman so far. Him being at public school is yet another diversion from his own origin story.

Something else that irritated me, is Selina’s inconsistent connection to CATS. I wasn’t convinced entirely by the way she came to call herself ‘Catgirl’ despite the event that preceded this juncture.

 

I wanted so much to love this graphic novel: the sentiments of her being a stray and her loneliness are powerful, with these being reasons for her ‘cat-burglar’ behavior, but I found too many problems that I couldn’t look past. Fleshed out and with paying more attention to the deeper issues in this story I would maybe go along with Selina’s backstory, but I can't recommend this, as it is right now (*as always, edits may be made before publication), to the targeted reader group.

 

**Points/extra star for cool artwork.

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38452822-under-the-moon?ac=1&from_search=true
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review 2019-02-17 22:35
Rasante Achterbahnfahrt eines alternden Sandmanns
Bad Boy by Banana: Zwischen uns die Zeit (3Bee by Banana - Band 1) - Alva Furisto

Bad Boy by Banana ist der Auftakt der 3Bee-Reihe. Am Ende des Buches gibt es eine Leseprobe zu „Bad Bitch by Banana - Achtung Rutschgefahr!“ 

Worum geht es: 
Tom Sandmann, Steuerberater, geht stark auf die fünfzig zu, steckt gerade in einer Krise und findet sich sowieso viel zu nett. Kurzerhand beschließt er ein Arschloch zu sein, da man ja als solches viel weniger Probleme hat. Als er dann aber in das Schaufenster des örtlichen Puffs fährt und von seinem Kanzleikollegen Richard in eine Hütte in die finnische Einöde geschickt wird, wo er aufgrund einer Doppelbelegung die ca. 30 Jahre jüngere Nancy kennen lernt, muss er feststellen, dass es gar nicht so leicht ist, die Arschlochfassade aufrecht zu erhalten. 

Meine Meinung: 
Der Anfang der Geschichte war aufgrund von Toms Sarkasmus und des teilweise humorvollen Schreibstils ganz unterhaltsam. Danach hatte ich das Gefühl, als würde jetzt erstmal eine Pause eintreten, aber da geht es erst richtig los. Das Buch nimmt immer mehr Fahrt auf, kurvt in verschiedene Richtungen und ist eine einzige Achterbahnfahrt mit vielen Stationen. Die Spannung wurde durchgehend hoch gehalten und die großartigen Dialoge zwischen Tom und der Señora setzen dem ganzen noch die Krone auf. Gut gefallen haben mir auch die eingebauten Legenden aus dem Westerwald, dem Handlungsort des Buches. Auch wenn man mit dem Stoff mehrere Bücher hätte füllen können, war es mir nicht zu viel. Die Charaktere sind markant und unverwechselbar und handeln meiner Meinung nach schlüssig. Der Schreibstil ist fesselnd und leicht verständlich. Es gibt einige Kraftausdrücke, die mich persönlich aber überhaupt nicht stören. 

Ein paar Kritikpunkte habe ich aber dennoch. Der Titel des Buches ist im Buch eine Marke. Es gibt Parfums, Duschgel und Sportklamotten von Bad Boy by Banana. Und diese Marke wird so unfassbar oft erwähnt, dass es irgendwann einfach nur noch überflüssig und leicht nervig wurde. Die Esoterik im Buch halte ich eigentlich auch für ziemlich überflüssig. Die Geschichte hätte auch ohne den ganzen Hokuspokus Sinn ergeben. Das Ende ist mir persönlich auch zu viel, aber darüber kann ich hinwegsehen. Die Vorgeschichte von Tom, die diese ganze Krise eigentlich erst ausgelöst hat, wird quasi nur mit einem Satz erwähnt und lässt das ganze irgendwie im Unklaren. Das finde ich ein wenig schade. Die Message des Buches, die quasi erst am Ende richtig durch kommt, finde ich aber sehr gelungen. 

Das Cover sticht einem aufgrund der grellbunten Farben förmlich ins Auge und erregt dadurch auch Aufmerksamkeit. Trotzdem ist es mir irgendwie schon zu bunt und passt auch nicht wirklich zum Buch. Im Selbstverlag erwarte ich natürlich auch kein super professionelles Cover, trotzdem sollte man nicht unbedingt direkt sehen, dass es keins ist. Mir persönlich fallen Rechtschreibfehler direkt ins Auge und davon habe ich hier für meinen Geschmack noch viel zu viele gesehen. 

Fazit: 
Wer witzige Dialoge, verspielte Neckereien und einen rasanten, handlungsreichen Plot mag, der ist hier sicher gut aufgehoben.

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review 2019-02-17 20:59
A Story About Cancer (With a Happy Ending) by India Desjardins, Marianne Ferrer, and Solange Ouellet
A Story About Cancer (With a Happy Ending) - India Desjardins,Marianne Ferrer,Solange Ouellet

This is a charming story about a girl heading to the hospital with her parents for a meeting with the doctor. The news could be good or bad. On the way she reflects on having had cancer for so long, the impact on herself and her family, the friendships she's made, and what she wants out of life.

 

The book is fully illustrated with sparse texts that still paints a picture of a young girl who remains a teenager despite what she's going through. It was honest and presented the reality of growing up in a hospital and the unintentional pressure loved ones and well-wishers can bring. This girl does not belong in a movie of the week.

 

Desjardins wrote this book in response to a fan she met in the hospital who complained that there were no stories about children like her with cancer that had happy endings. Desjardins delivers that here. This book is incredibly moving and a great gift.

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review 2019-02-16 22:07
Historical Novel
Lily's Story - Don Gutteridge

Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Before the giveaway the book had been on TBR shelf.

I first read Gutteridge a few years when I brought an omnibus edition of his first three Marc Edwards mysteries. I enjoyed them, and next time I was in Canada, I tried to find more print copies of his work, but the only ones I found where the three I had already. It was a joy to win this in a giveaway and realize that I can at least buy his books on kindle.

Lily’s Story is one of those massive works of historical fiction that use the life of one person (or in some cases the history of one family) to trace major historical events. In Guttridge’s case he has used the character of Lily to take the reader from the 1850s to the 1920s. Lily starts life with her father and mother but circumstances soon led to her being raised by her aunt and uncle. She goes from frontier living to town living to shanty town living over the course of the book.

Gutteridge does an excellent job of bring time and place to light. You do feel as if you are watching Lily and her family and friends struggle though the changing times, and the development of the railroad, the worry of rebellion, and the excitement of a visit by the Prince of Wales. And if you are further interested in the historical events that surround Lily, Gutteridge includes a bibliography at the end of the novel.

Lily, herself, is likable enough, though at times she seems to be pushed by time and events instead of actively taking part in them. There are times when she feels more symbolic than actually character, which begs the question what is she a symbol of?

And here’s what really is the best part of the novel, if Lily is a symbol of anything, it is a symbol of those women of Canada who worked and toiled but never got the notice that the men did. In fact, this novel is really more about women than the men – Lily, her aunt, her friend Sophie, and others. Gutteridge might not write the best sex scenes in the world, but he is very aware of how history and society view and viewed women. The status of women is the focus, and perhaps in part that plays a part in the passive feel that Lily sometimes has – she had no real power. It really isn’t something I’ve seen outside of Mary O’Hara.

The other running theme is that of the outsider in terms of religion – Lily isn’t religious in the ways that others around her are, and this leads in complications in a small town. Gutteridge uses this to address the issue of sameness and belonging.

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