Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Scooby Apocalypse vol. 2

This is a weird-ass spin-off, but still is a little satisfying. Scooby Apocalypse volume two, picks up right where the first volume ends. The gang is trapped in Mall-Mart surrounded by monsters. In volume one, Velma's nanite creation was expanded and bastardized by her four brothers who used it to unleash  hell on the world. Feeling guilty and responsible, Velma is trying to figure out how to fit in with the gang when she feels responsible for the apocalypse. To top it off Fred has gone and got himself injured so the gang really needs to stick together and tread carefully to survive. Amusing, I'll eventually get around to reading volume three.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Joy Luck Club

I haven't picked this up since high school, but I was thrilled to get around to re-reading this. Each sentence is poetry; the Chinese customs, language, nuances, and characters float right off the page. It's a beautiful book to read. I also love the differences between the mothers and daughters; at first you think it's generational, but it's all about being raised American, in a new land with new customs. The Joy Luck Club tells of four Chinese women who immigrated to America in their youth and their four daughter who were raised American. The daughters can't understand where their parents came from, not the struggles, the humiliations, the secrets. They are too wrapped up in themselves and ashamed of their mothers and their odd beliefs. As the stories unfold (alternating chapters feature different perspectives); the mothers reminiscing about how they were raised and persevered, the daughters start to realize that they are more then their differences, they have a resilience, a strength in spirit that needed to be overcome, but deep down they are closer to their mothers than they ever thought possible. Storytelling at it's finest.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Dirty Book Club

Surprisingly uplifting and humorous, this book (albeit a bit over the top) was pretty darn adorable. The friendships, book selections, and setting were so much fun. MJ has been living a fast paced life of work, work, more work, with a tiny bit time set aside for her long distance boyfriend. When she is passed over for a promotion that she rightfully deserves MJ decides to pack some bags and stay the summer with her hunky boyfriend in California, lord knows she has enough vacation time piled up. While beach-side she becomes restless, unsure what to do with herself. She's never had this much free time in her life. She befriends her elderly neighbor but before she can get too chummy, her neighbor up and moves to Paris. So much for a friendship. Gloria does leave behind one thing though. An invitation to join a secret book club, one that reads only dirty books. MJ's curiosity gets the better of her and she decides to go to one one meeting. Little does she know that her summer is about to drastically change and she might meet the best friends of her life. Chick-lit at its finest.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/ Ghostbusters

I won't lie, I had really low expectations going into this. These seemed like an intriguing match-up, but not one that would be executed well. While it wasn't "great," it wasn't bad, so that made me pretty happy and willing to read more if there are any more forthcoming. Basically the Ghostbusters and the turtles meet up when there is a glitch in one of the turtle's new inventions. They're sent to New York, but it's in an alternate dimension and it's one where the Ghostbusters reign supreme and no one has ever heard of the turtles. When an ancient ghost/god pulls himself into their dimension, using the same rip that the turtles traveled through, the two groups of heroes have to work together to banish the bad guy and create a machine that will send them back to their dimension. Humorous and full of great art.

Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass

Technically a prequel to the Lumberjanes graphic novel series, this slim story about Molly and Mal is cute but not really crucial or groundbreaking. While trying to complete an orienteering outing, Molly starts to get self-conscious and unsure of her relationship with Mal. She doesn't want the other campers (all female) to get weirded out by their relationship. Maybe weirded out isn't the right word, but she doesn't want to change the group dynamic. Everyone is pretty progressive and cool in their all girl camp. While orienteering, the compass starts acting up and campers start disappearing, suddenly their relationship isn't the only thing at stake. An alright addition to the series. Not very strong, but not bad either.

Eric Stanton & the History of the Bizarre Underground

Fascinating! Well worth adding to your collection; Eric Stanton is a beautiful coffee table book and a well researched biography and history of twentieth century fetish art. I am not an experienced fetish art fan, however I loved this book! Eric Stanton had a fascinating life and it is interesting to discover his relationship with Bettie Page and the creator of Spiderman. Who would have known?!? A nice heavy duty hardcover; this impressive tome contains illustrations, drawings, and photographs on every page, all high quality prints and reproductions. Though it doesn't contain Stanton's later more explicit art, it contains most of his work through the seventies; comics, book covers, serials, and drawings. Well written, beautiful laid out, and meticulously researched; this is a must buy for art aficionados, fetish collectors, and early comic fans.

Foundation

UGH. I wanted more of a space opera! Instead I got more of a political space thriller! Foundation traces the fall of the galactic empire to the creation of the Foundation, a colony comprised of science, art, and technological development and preservation that will eventually become the second empire. Spanning decades in places, centuries in others; Foundation is more a story of the growth of a colony through time, then it is the story of people and plot. As the years progress the Foundation becomes stronger and centralized; better able to control the planets and systems around it. This audiobook had me snoozing. Just not my cup of tea, I will definitely not continue the journey by reading more of the series.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Bound Heart

Lark may not be wealthy or high class but she's a well thought of, beautiful lass. Set in beautiful 18th century, Scotland; Lark's world is filled with sea breeze and gardens. She works in the laird's castle making tonics and other herbal remedies catching the eye of both the laird and the local captain. After an unfortunate tragedy, she is sent to Virginia to be an indentured servant. It will take all her faith and strength to survive the voyage and the years of hard labor awaiting her. To further complicate matters she adopts a young baby whose kin have all perished on the ship and she discovers that both her admirers, the laird and the captain are also aboard. Lark is nurturing, good hearted, and always tries to look at the positive, her only downfall is that she is quite naive. She's been handed an awful lot and she doesn't know if she'll ever get to see Scotland or her beloved grandmother again, but she handles it darn well. A bit unbelievable at times (every single male character throws themselves at Lark, EVERY ONE) and the ending was a bit anti-climactic; but overall still a good cozy historical read.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Justice Gone

Fast paced and gripping, this legal thriller will grip readers from page one. When an east coast town experiences the brutal murder of an unarmed homeless man by six cops, people don't think it can get any worse.  That is, until they find out that the homeless man was a war hero undergoing PTSD treatment at a nearby counseling center. Riots and protests break out nationwide. Tessa is one of the head honchos at the treatment facility and she was particularly close to Jay, the man beaten to death by cops. She's taking it hard, but not as hard as another one of her clients, Donald, who was a war buddy and best friends with Jay. When Donald goes missing and some of the cops are found shot to death, Donald becomes suspect number one. Deep down she knows that Donald would never turn into a vigilante killer, but at the same time... who did kill those dirty cops? Broken into three parts, this legal thriller will keep readers guessing. A wonderful look into a fictional man hunt and court setting that feels all too real.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Immortalists

I adored this book, it's not necessarily an uplifting read and it is depressing as shit, but that doesn't even matter. It's beautiful and lyrical and I loved it. When the four Gold siblings were just children they sought out a famed fortune teller to find out when their death date was. Unbeknownst to them, that small act had such control on their lives. Each section focuses on a different Gold child and how they lived out their lives. Some were fated to die young, and most end tragically. Each section picks up where the last life ended, featuring a timeline of the Gold's lives from first to die, to last. Simon ends up in California as a liberated gay man, Klara pursues her dream of magic, Daniel becomes a doctor, and the eldest Varya, a scientist. Their lives couldn't have been led more differently and yet their sense of future and death lead them on strangely similar journeys. Wonderful, literary fiction at its finest!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

An Unexplained Death

Super dark and enthralling. Mikita Brottman investigates a mysterious death in her apartment building, while also referencing back to the former hotel's sordid past as a den of suicides and murders. Rey Rivera's death raises questions not only for his family, but for the media as well. This you successful married man, ran out of the house one day never to be seen again. When he was found over a week later, it was most perplexing. It was as if he did a running leap of the thirteenth floor and landed feet-first into the former pool. He clearly died on impact, but was it suicide or something else? Since the death occurred in Mikita's building she takes a massive interest in the case. Obsessively following it for over a decade. An Unexplained Death is part historical portrait of The Belvedere (the current apartment building and former luxury hotel), part memoir (at least of the author's neuroses, fears, and mental health), part look at suicide, and part investigation into Rey Rivera's death. There's a lot going on, but it all meshes really well together and creates a unique format is hard to put down.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Alchemist

Meh, I don't see the hype. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. It just wasn't my thing. The Alchemist tells the story of a young shepherd boy whose simple life is turned upside down when a traveling king, tells him where to find treasure. From there the boy goes on a long journey, following omens and good sense to try and find the treasure that lay near the pyramids. It's a little deep for me and I didn't much care for it. I don't like these kind of fables. The only good part was having Jeremy Irons narrate the audiobook version.

Less

An adorable book with an unforgettable quirky character. Andrew Less is a gay writer, but he's also so much more. He's scared, naive, hopeful, and in total denial. When his young paramour breaks it off with him and announces his marriage, Less knows he must go. He can't possibly be around while his lover get married to someone else. He clears his calendar and makes a plan. For once, he's going to start RSVPing to author events and vacations. He will get out of California and spend months traveling and forgetting all about his paramour. From an author event in NYC to a conference in Mexico to teaching a class in Germany, Less finds a way to travel for free. The only problem is, he can't escape his past no matter where he travels or what he does. Plucky, cute, inventive, and fun. I adored this book. Andrew Less is a character you won't soon forget.

No Exit

Fast paced and impossible to put down, I finished this thriller in one day! I legit could not put this down! Darby had been planning on spending Christmas alone at college, but when her sister texted her that their mother had advanced pancreatic cancer and had to have emergency surgery, Darby decides to put family squabbles aside and race home. The only problem is, she is in a race against tie. Not only does she need to speed home so she can see her mother before her surgery, she has to race through the mountains before the winter storm hits. As Darby speeds through the mountains, the roads get progressively worse. Finally, after a wiper breaks she has to take shelter at a rest stop, the roads have become impassable. Luckily for Darby, she's not alone. There are two younger guys and an older set of cousins. Unluckily for Darby, she discovers that the box van parked out front has a young child trapped in a cage. She makes that shocking discovery while trying to get cell signal to call her mother. Now Darby has to figure out who owns the van and figure out who she can trust to help get the kid to safety. But with no way to contact the police and nowhere to run because of the snow; it is going to be a long dangerous night. Soo good! I loved it!!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Salt to the Sea

No one writes teen historical fiction like Ruta Sepetys. She's phenomenal. This book was gripping from the start in its character building, intrigue, and adventure. Like one of her prior novels, this was a historical event of which I was largely unaware. Everyone knows what happened to the Titanic, but how many could tell you about the Wihelm Gustloff? It is the largest disaster in maritime history and occurred towards the end of World War II. Salt to the Sea tells of four refugees fleeing their homelands in the winter of 1945 as the Russians approach and the Germans retreat. They are all desperate to reach port and get on one of the ships that will take them to safety. They'll do anything to get out of their broken war torn countries filled with decaying bodies, starvation, cold, and soon to be Russian pillagers. Each of the refugees carries secrets and as they flock to the sea, their secrets threaten to reveal themselves. Masterfully written!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Catcher in the Rye

..... I don't understand why this is considered the classic coming of age story. It's centered on a privileged white boy who is a total douche canoe. He is soo unlikable; he bumbles about making a mess everywhere, full of self importance. Holden Caulfield finds himself getting expelled from yet ANOTHER private boys school and rather than wait out the rest of his term, he packs up his bags and resolves to spend some time in New York City cheering himself up before his parents find out and hit the roof. The entire story only spans a few days and is just Holden showing disgust and naivete at the adult world around him. Even though he tries to pass himself off as being mature, he's really just a young dumb kid. Ugh, what douche canoe. Skip this and read any other coming of age story. Please, do yourself a favor.

Graceling

I'm super late on this one, but I found Graceling to be a super original medieval, young adult fantasy. It seemed very fresh even though teen fantasy has been more than a bit lackluster in recent years. In this tale, there are many kingdoms close together, currently they are at a peace, but that doesn't mean that all is well. Katsa is a Grace, every kingdoms has Graces, individual with different colored eyes and varying special abilities. Katsa is graced with killing. She is unmatched in brute force and strength. Her uncle is a king and sends her out to do his dirty work and she is sick of it. To try and balance the scale she created an underground council that operates in all the kingdoms and works to root out evil and injustice. When she helps rescue a kidnapped old man, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. She encounters unheard of dangers, an unthinkably evil plot, and the biggest threat to herself and the kingdoms; someone nearly equal to her in strength and cunning. A mild romance, plenty of adventure, and lots of intrigue. Great fun and I think I may continue the series!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Fall

A fantastic follow up to The Nine! Steampunk fantasy and adventure that takes the readers on an incredible journey across continents, through the skies, and in the dark underbelly of the city. The book of secrets, the book that holds the fate of humanity, has been lost and now it's in the wrong hands. It's up to the unlikeliest bunch of people to recover the book and decipher its secrets before their universe is forever altered. Rowena Downshire has no idea how central she is to the book's secrets, all she knows is that she has to help the alchemist and some other mercenary allies track down the book. Their chase leads them far across the skies to the Grand Library where there is more than meets the eye. Full of adventure and tight plot lines, this book will take readers on a breathless race against time to find the book. I will note that this is not a standalone book and it is crucial to read the first in the series before attempting this, it had been nearly a year since I read the first one and even I needed to reference back to it!