Thursday, December 22, 2016

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

So many aspects of the movies and other Batman comics I have read make much more sense now after reading this. The fact that this is 30 years old is astonishing, it still feels so fresh. The story is great, the asides told through television interviews and bulletins are genius, and the illustrations are out of this world. The comic picks up with the mutants causing more and more trouble in Gotham, Batman has been in retirement for a decade but feels he must put on his cape and save Gotham from itself. Understandably not everyone is happy to see him back and many are quick to lay Gotham's problems at Batman's feet. He has to battle evil, save face, and try to stay healthy and fit (which is hard because he's legit old now). Throw in the fact that Harvey Dent is let out (they fixed his face, no more two sided evil nature!) and there are rumors that the Joker is sane enough to do interviews on television, and that a young girl has started tagging along as Robin and you've got one hell of a great graphic novel. Solid from start to finish.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Face on the Milk Carton

How have I lived my whole life without reading this? I assumed I had read this because I always saw it lying around. Wrong! It's a pretty quick read, I had this done in no time. It's set in the late 80s/early 90s and follows the story of young Janie Johnson as her life shatters before her eyes. One day at school she happens to notice that the young girl on the milk carton is her, her as a three year old. She tries convincing herself it isn't her but things keep adding up. She has no birth certificate, there are no photos of her before the age of 5, and she has the matching dress of the girl in the photo. When she confronts her parents things still don't add up. Who is the girl on the milk carton. A suspenseful teen read that leaves readers on the edge of their seats at the stunning conclusion (thankfully there are more books in the series).


Teens will eat this up. Four years after he was kidnapped, Ethan is discovered living an hour away and returned home. Dylan, a twelve year old autistic boy had been missing for a mere weekend and the efforts to find him were so great that they were able to find him, along with Ethan in the same dingy apartment. Struggling to come to terms being normal and being a teenager, Ethan is in over his head. Told through alternating perspectives; Ethan the recently returned fifteen year old, and Caroline, the seventeen year old sister of the kidnapped autistic boy, the story starts small and grows as they struggle to make sense of what happened. A wonderful story of resilience, trust, and the power of friendship.

I received this book for free from Librarything in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Take the Body and Run

A solid attempt, but there is definitely room for improvement. There is too much going on, there could easily be two separate stories; as much as the author tries to merge to plots, it doesn't really pan out. The first week of Macey's new job there is two murders and she and her new friends (her co-workers and a cop that she becomes literally best friends with, within three days) decide that they will solve it themselves. Another side story is that Macey is hiding from her past and has assumed a new identity. It doesn't quite merge with the story and just randomly crops up. There are also a lot of characters and they all have crazy back stories. I don't think there was a single "normal" person in the entire story. Also, the cover. Who is on the cover? It certainly isn't our main character based off the author's description of her. So those are my beefs with it. But before you think I'm a negative nancy and hated the whole thing, there were some positive things that I enjoyed. One of the strong suits in this novel though is the witty dialogue. Snappy and fun, it's one of the best things going for "Take the Body and Run." The cat is a fun element. Granted cats are a little overplayed in mystery novels, but it works for this chick lit mystery. Overall, a light read that has room for improvement, but it will still find fans.

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Human Acts

There is no way that this book will go under the radar when it's published in the U.S. next year. I'm calling it right now, this will be up for multiple book awards. Stunning from start to finish this book will captivate and horrify readers. Short stories are interconnected by a single event, the Gwangju Uprising in 1980 Korea, and the young boy who, Dong Ho, who was brutally murdered during it. Told from the perspectives of an editor, a mother, a fellow victim, and others; this heartbreaking story based on true events will keep readers entranced. Kang's lyrical pose, brutal imagery, and insight on human emotions make this a slam dunk hit. If I hadn't already made my top 5 books of the year, this would be on it. Everything this writer touches is gold, I can't wait for more!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My True Love Gave to Me

I LOVED this short story collection! I just want to wrap up this book and give it to all my friends for Christmas. It's freaking adorable! The collection of authors who have stories in here is impressive, they're all kings and queens of the YA market. There is Holly Black, Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor and several more. Each short story is holiday themed romance, but beyond that, they vary wildly! There is Hannakuh, New Years, Krampus Day; Kelly Link throws some fantasy in her London Christmas story, David Levithan throws ho ho homosexuals in (adorable and sad story, as always), Holly Black gets wild in "Krampuslauf," and there is much much more. I read this book in a span of one day, and I was not disappointed in a single story! I think my two favorites were by Holly Black and Stephanie Perkins. This is a must read for teens and adults this holiday season. You seriously won't be disappointed. Best holiday book I've read in a long time, perhaps... ever?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I LOVED this comic! Loved, loved, loved. From the creative mind of the creator of "Afterlife with Archie" this dark reimagining of Sabrina in the sixties is fun and dark. Gory, sexy, and chilling this new spin on Sabrina the Teenage Witch will leave readers wanting more. Harvey, the aunts, Madam Satan, and her trusty familiar, Salem, are all part of the landscape, even some fun charcters, Betty and Veronica (from Archie) make appearance. A fun and unique read, I will definitely check out everything by this creator, he's unique and weird... just my style.

Monday, December 12, 2016

How to talk to Girls at Parties

I'm not sure what I think of this graphic novel but I think I like it. It's classic Neil Gaiman with weird twists, lyrical pose, and a plot that you never know where it will take you. Two teenage boys head to a party in South London to meet some girls. One is a cocky, confident, young man who can have any girl in the room, and the other is a shy, awkward boy who doesn't really know how to talk to girls. His friend ditches him at the party almost immediately so he tries his hand at talking to three different girls, each one odder than the next. He can't really understand what gibberish they're saying, but they sure are pretty to look at it. A quick read by a master of modern day fantasy and horror. Not bad, not great, but worth a read since it will be in theaters next year!


While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, I loved it nonetheless. It might be too dense or deep for the light reader but I personally found it fascinating. Author, Al Ridenour not only discusses the legend and customs of Krampus but spends a lot of time going into to other dark folkloric holiday traditions of Austria and Europe. It really helps put Krampus in perspective knowing his origins and the other dark beasties and witches that come with him. There are also tons of high quality photos of masks, folk customs, vintage drawings and more that enhance the author's message. a fascinating read around the holidays and a must for anyone who ever wanted to unearth some bizarre and different customs than our own!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Skipping Christmas

Thankfully this was a short book. While I enjoyed the end of the book (because it was finally over), I found at hated every character because they were flat two dimensional jerks with no personality. It's like John Grisham didn't even try! Basically this couple decides that they will skip Christmas this year because their 23 year old daughter will be in Peru for a year in the Peace Corps. They'll use all the money they would have spent on decorations, foods, and gifts on a luxury ten day cruise and forget about all the fuss and drama. Their neighbors, co-workers, and friends can hardly believe it. They won't dress up their yard? They won't get a tree or help out the boy scouts? No Christmas Eve bash? After a month of playing Scrooges something unexpected happens on Christmas Eve. You'll see the twist coming from a mile away. A totally blah, not great Christmas story.

The Case of the Silver Republicans

The fourth book in The Mule Tamer series won't disappoint. Fans will pick up right where they left off and newcomers won't have any problem getting into the swing of things, as the story does a great job of filling readers in on previous events without being too repetitive or overwhelming.

Arvel Walsh and his partner in crime, Dick Welles, may not have a job to report after long, the political climate is in turmoil and depending on who gets elected, the Arizona Rangers may be on the chopping block. Rather than worry about the election, Arvel and Dick have their hands full trying to find out who brutally cut up a local whore. Left to die, the Rangers vow to bring vengeance on her attacker. Little do they know that their bad boy is very well connected politically and his family will stop at nothing to make sure all loose ends are tied up; the Rangers being one of them. Arvel's feisty Mexican wife, Chica, vows that she will keep her family safe from any thugs and sends the Rangers to go track down the bad men. Little do they know it's only a diversion... Full of danger, excitement, and wild west tales, this western will keep readers intrigued. Another great installment full of unforgettable characters, notorious bad guys, and lots of fun. Not to be missed!

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Jerry on Jerry

An insightful and enjoyable listen for Deadheads and music fans alike. Dennis McNally combed through the Grateful Dead archives in California and found some truly enlightening and candid interviews from Jerry and compiled them into this fun audiobook. It was a great experience getting to hear Jerry in his own words talk about a variety of topics from Neal Cassidy to the Catholic Church to gay bars to LSD. A quick listen at only 4 discs, but a time well spent. Th audiobook also has an extra disc with a PDF of images and other items found in the printed book.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book and it didn't immediately grab me, but by page 20 or so I became hooked. Told through alternating perspectives, this story follows two young patients in a mental illness facility for youth, a promising med student, and the director of the facility. Each of their voices help flesh out this small contained world of confusion, pain, and hope. Devante is admitted after he tries to commit suicide for being unable to deal with the death of his close friend. Janina has been a resident for four years and is extra sensitive and hard on herself. Gail is unsure if she's in the right career, but she knows that she has to help people as a promise to her brother. Finally Dr. Lutkin has to find a way to keep his residents safe from big companies that threaten to take over his home and turn it into a hospital with unsavory methods. The perspectives are told in letters, thoughts, and journal entries, and really offer a fresh look at what it's like to have a mental illness; the stigma, fear, and confusion are hard to bear. A wonderful novel for teens and adults alike.

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nickel and Dimed

I loved the concept of this book, I just hated how it was executed. The author/ "undercover agent" of this book kept throwing around how much money she had in real life and how comfortable her place in society was. She was also really judgemental and at times racist as shit. Once you look past the author's bias, the research and method was actually really fascinating and depressing. Barbara Ehrenreich lived in three different cities and worked menial jobs and searched for the cheapest rent she could find to see if she could make ends meet while posing as a low income worker. What she uncovered was worse than what many middle class people could ever imagine. Personally, I had never even considered how truly hard it is to make ends meet. Even if you're working hard it's impossible to get ahead with minimum wage or even a few dollars above. Millions of Americans are living below the poverty line and this struggle is a daily aspect of their life that they just accept because they know there is no other option available. A great read.