September 2017

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Sep. 23rd, 2017


[info]katara

| 118 |

Title: The Eighth House: Hades & Persephone (Flames of Olympos #1)
Author: Eris Adderly
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.95/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 23, 2017
Book Summary: Catch me, Darkness. Again and again.
The life of a virgin goddess might suit Artemis or Athena, but Persephone, daughter of Zeus, wants no part of it. While the rest of the immortals cavort, she grows restless in the shadow of Olympos.

Rules, rules. Always the rules. Her mother's edict forbids her the company of any male god. She can't speak to them, can't look at them. Can't even attend the Olympian feasts. As far as Demeter knows, her daughter remains a maiden.

But Persephone leads a double life. She finds her affection elsewhere, and in plentiful supply. If only the sons of Man made her happy. If only she could put a name to this need she feels. It grows by the day, dark and unfulfilled. An eternity of enforced loneliness looms, and Persephone contemplates a drastic choice to escape it.

Only one thing stands in her way.

Hades.

Where earthquakes rend hill and vale asunder, and the abyss yawns to devour falling screams, the black halls of the Underworld await. The Lord of the Dead follows only one set of rules: his own.

And he expects Persephone to obey.
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.95

This story is a retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth but with a bit of a twist.

I must say I am a huge fan of the Hades and Persephone myth and I always love coming across books written about it. I even love it when there are more twists to it than the original myth itself. Here Persephone is tired of not only the Sons of Man but also the immortals who are pursuing her (namely Apollo and Hermes). None of them hold anything she wants. She wants something wicked and dark but she knows that with her Mother standing in her way, that won't ever happen.

So along comes Aphrodite. You see the Goddess of Love and Lust is a bit jealous of Persephone. She has Hermes' affection at the moment and Aphrodite isn't having it. She wants it back. It was hers and she believes that all affection should be returned to her. Thus she turns to the dark God of the Underworld with a reminder of a favor - she can get Zeus to give his permission for Hades to court Persephone if Hades will remove her from the equation. Hades is a bit reluctant about this. He has been without a Consort for quite sometime and although lonely as he is, he seems to enjoy it. But with the reminder of the favor, he agrees to do so and lures Persephone with a flower she wants to give to the human woman who she adores.

Once below, Hades and Persephone begin a game (a game that would could be seen as a cat and mouse) before it grows into something deeper. Aphrodite returns once more to offer Hades the pomegranate. This fruit would bind Hades and Persephone together.

Demeter learns that her daughter has been taken by Hades and she goes to Zeus demanding that Persephone be returned to her. Zeus refuses at first but Demeter holds the cards for the moment - without food below, there would be no people to worship in the temples. This forces Zeus' hand and he sends Hermes down below to return Persephone to the above.

When Persephone returns, she lies telling them that she has eaten the fruit belonging to the Underworld and she has returned only bring back the Harvest. This, of course, sets her and Demeter against each other and the two have a fight over her choice.

In the end, she returns to Hades with the other Gods for her wedding.

This was an awesome version of the myth. I could not put the book down and found myself immersed into the mythological world of Hades and Persephone. I equally enjoyed the fact that Cerebrus had a voice! I found that was interesting. It added something to the three-headed guardian than anything and I loved it!

This book is the first in a series and I am interested in seeing the next one that comes along. I am hoping we do get to see more of Hades and Persephone. I would love to know what happens afterward with them.

[info]katara

| 117 |

Title: Harley Quinn (2016-) #28
Author: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alex Sinclair (Illustrator), John Timms (Illustrator), Tom Derenick (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.75/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 22, 2017 to September 23, 2017
Book Summary: “VOTE HARLEY” part one! The corrupt mayor of New York City has been a thorn in Harley’s side since the day he stepped into office…and now he’s crossed the line one time too many! Harley’s usual methods of dealing with problems like this have failed her, so it’s time for a more unconventional solution…is New York City ready for Mayor Harley Quinn? It better be!
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.75

Madison's group of thugs, the Unconquerable 25, have failed immensely after tangling with Harley, her crew, and the Gotham Sirens. Unfortunately for Madison, only the leader of this gang has survived the face-off and now is in the custody of the police. Of course, the corrupted mayor, whom seems to have to have Madison on his payroll, is not thrilled with this and let's her know that she needs to do something to ensure that the leader of the gang does not talk about his connection to them. He tells her that something needs to be done and she needs to take care of this quickly.

Madison heads down to the NYPD and takes care of the matter by killing the leader. She does this in front of a cop but the cop apparently seems to be on the payroll of the mayor as well. How he is going to cover up the murder of the gang leader is going to be interesting but at the same time it seems Madison may have started the countdown to her ultimate demise. This killing seemed to be a bit sloppy seeing as she was possibly seen going in and inquiring about the leader of the gang. The only thing saving her life at the moment is a phone number to the supervillain named Scarecrow.

As for Harley, she, Ivy, and her little gang have gone undercover to take out car thiefs. Things don't go always according to plan (anything with Harley never does) and she finds them in a bit of a situation. It is with the help of Ivy's plant skills and Red Tool that they are able to take down the thieves. It is afterwards that Harley announces her intention of throwing in the political towel for mayor.

It was nice to see Ivy still sticking around and getting them out of the sticky situation. I hope we will be seeing a lot more of her and even more of the relationship between she and Harley.

I am still enjoying this series. It has had it bumps every other issue but otherwise it is nice to see Harley continue to grow as a character and I am quite looking forward to seeing how she tackles her upcoming role in the political world.

Sep. 22nd, 2017


[info]katara

| 116 |

Title: Jean Grey (2017-) #7
Author: Dennis Hopeless, Alberto Alburquerque (Illustrator), David Yardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 3/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 22, 2017
Book Summary: Traveling the Marvel Universe preparing herself for her inevitable encounter with the Phoenix force, JEAN GREY has learned how to fight from the likes of Namor, Thor and Psylocke. But now she wants to know more about her opponent than the best way to punch it. She wants to know what makes it tick. She wants to know what it's made of. And to learn that, she'll go to one of the few women who've harnessed its power: Wanda Maximoff, THE SCARLET WITCH!
Book Review: In this issue, we find a young Jean Grey being "haunted" by the older Jean Grey. Haunted would not be the right word, I would think to describe the older Jean. I would think younger Jean would see her as perhaps a mentor of sort but younger Jean doesn't. She seemed to be more annoyed by the fact of older Jean's presence.

The two of them begin to butt heads and this makes a spectacle of herself since she is the only one who can see "ghostly" older Jean. It is at this moment that the Scarlett Witch appears. Once Wanda has placed all the innocent humans in another place, she tells Jean that she had heard from Doctor Strange and that young Jean was a bit wound up over the Phoenix force.

Older Jean is not quite happy with the idea of the Scarlett Witch butting in and she is even made more unhappy when she whisks Jean away to the Savage Lands to enjoy some relaxation (is that what they are doing?).

Then they head to Rio to take down a monster.

All this starts to make Older Jean rather unhappy that she hijacks young Jean's body and forces her to leave Wanda behind to meet an older acquaintance - Emma Frost aka The White Queen.

Okay this issue did not even impress me at all. They made older Jean the comedy sidekick. Please don't get me wrong I enjoy humor but I don't see it Older Jean's character to be anything like that especially when she is in the seat of mentor. I believe that older Jean is really trying to help out her younger counterpart prepare for what is to come but younger Jean doesn't seem to really appreciate it at all. Maybe if younger Jean was serious about being stronger when the Phoenix arrived, she would listen to any advice Older Jean had but that won't be the case at all.

Overall, I was happy to see the Scarlett Witch and even happy that she did not treat Jean like a kid in any way, but more like a younger sister. I just wish Wanda had offered something more than being just a filler character in young Jean's quest to halt herself from being taken by the Phoenix Force.

So let's see what Emma does in the next issue.

[info]katara

| 115 |

Title: Handbook for Mortals (Handbook for Mortals #1)
Author: Lani Sarem
Format: Epub
Rating: 1/5
Status: Did Not Finish
Reading Date: September 22, 2017 to September 20, 2017
Book Summary: Zade Holder has always been a free-spirited young woman, from a long dynasty of tarot-card readers, fortunetellers, and practitioners of magick. Growing up in a small town and never quite fitting in, Zade is determined to forge her own path. She leaves her home in Tennessee to break free from her overprotective mother Dela, the local resident spellcaster and fortuneteller.

Zade travels to Las Vegas and uses supernatural powers to become part of a premiere magic show led by the infamous magician Charles Spellman. Zade fits right in with his troupe of artists and misfits. After all, when everyone is slightly eccentric, appearing "normal" is much less important.

Behind the scenes of this multimillion-dollar production, Zade finds herself caught in a love triangle with Mac, the show's good-looking but rough-around-the-edges technical director and Jackson, the tall, dark, handsome and charming bandleader.
Book Review: I tried to read this. I really tried. I took it with me up to the hospital when I had to admit my Mom but the I could not connect with any of the characters whatsoever.

On top of that, this novel felt like it was written by a teenager on the cusp of writing her first fanfiction.

And this is where this story should have been - the fanfiction section.

The main character, Zade, is this beautiful young woman but she does not see herself in such a way. She sees herself as "plain" and "different". These are typically the red flags of the makings of a Mary Sue. The plain girl with these supernatural powers whom everyone either hates because of her beauty and power or falls in absolute love with.

From the chapters I have read, there really seemed to be no character built. We don't learn how she gets to the point where she has made the ultimate decision to leave behind what seems to be a normal home and strike out on her own. I understand that all teenagers go through this stage but all we are given at the beginning is Zade doesn't want to be part of what her mother's world - tarot reading. Instead, she wants to strike out and work on a magic show.

A magic show?

Is that like going from the pan to the oven? Because I thought she didn't want to be in a world filled with things she was trying to get away from? Or am I missing something?

Honestly this book should be removed and returned to the drawing board. The entire story needs an overhaul and lots of edits to it.

But I suppose when you buy your way into NYT Best Seller list, you really believe your story is the "bestest" out there.

Sep. 20th, 2017


[info]katara

| 114 |

Title: Harley Quinn (2016-) #27
Author: Frank Tieri, Jill Thompson (Illustrator), Hi-Fi (Illustrator), Eleonora Carlini (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 20, 2017
Book Summary: Harley and the Penguin struck an uneasy truce the first time he started extending his criminal empire into New York City... but now he's plotting a massive real estate deal right in Harley's Coney Island -- including coming after her own building!
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.5

In this issue, we find Harley seemingly enjoying time off away from the normal round of chaos. Instead, here she is enjoying one of her favorite hobbies - roller stake fighting. Unfortunately one of the girls from the opposing team has been litterally knocked out. Harley is impatient about it and ends up being sent to the showers. With her game obviously over, she learns that the Penguin has put eminent domain on everyone's homes on Coney Island - including hers. How he has managed this is really not mentioned but we can only assume that since he is gangster, he has gained this by illegal means necessary.

However, he has messed with Harley's turf and she is not one to back down. She has every intention of making sure that Penguin negates on his desire to gain Coney Island for his casino and return the properties back to the rightful people. Unfortunately for Harley, Penguin isn't going to do what she wants so easily and sets his mutant-muscular-Penguins right after her (Sorry but what the hell are those!?)

Mix in the senior cyborg, Sy, using the holographic image of Joker to put fear in Penguin and you have a recipe for an interesting filler.

This was nice and fit in rather nicely inbetween the last issue of chaos and the next issue which, I am quite certain, will be a return to the normal broadcasting of Harley chaos.

[info]katara

| 113 |

Title: Harley Quinn (2016-) #26
Author: Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, John Timms (Illustrator), Chad Hardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 18, 2017 to September 20, 2017
Book Summary: “MEAN STREETS!” Harley’s been doing her best to hold her corner of New York City together, but the mayor’s been doing his best to tip the whole town into corruption! Harley’s gonna have to hammer some sense into this guy once and for all…and in “Harley Loves Joker” part ten, The Joker’s vendetta against the thief who’s been scalping all his prime jobs threatens to get everyone killed!
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.5

This comic book picks up where the last issue has left off.

In her desperate bid to rid the world of Harley Quinn, Madison Berkowitz has hired more than two dozen dirty assassins to do her bidding. Unfortunately for these guys, they don't know Harley and for one thing, she is definitely not going to be forgiving for having her birthday ruined by anyone.

These dirty assassins have come to realize that Harley is not anyone who is will roll over and play dead when she is surrounded and outnumbered. Nope, our gal turns the tables and takes them out in the goriest way only she could be known for. The rest seem to do the rolling over and playing dead.

Although we don't see many of Harley's squad out in front, we do get a taste of the Gotham Sirens and what these gals are capable of when standing out on their own. These girls do live up to their bad girl image when taking down their enemies, especially Ivy herself. Ivy lets loose her most wicked plants and let's them do the most damage bringing down helicopters and killing off the assassins one-by-one.

When the chaos finally clears, Harley is reunited with her Sirens.

This comic wraps up nicely. Unfortunately we know that Madison will not be pleased with the failure of the assassins she sent after Harley so I am sure we will be seeing more of her in the coming future. We are also introduced to some new characters and I am quite certain there will be reason for their brief appearance here in later comics to come.

Harley continues to bloom even under the heaviest stuff thrown her way and it shows that her character is growing in every way it can. I am enjoying these comics immensely and I have to love the storylines and the art that comes with every issue. I am looking forward to the next issue.

[info]katara

| 112 |

Title: David Bowie: A Life
Author: Dylan Jones
Format: Epub
Rating: 2.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date:September 18, 2017 to September 20, 2017
Book Summary: Dylan Jones's engrossing, magisterial biography of David Bowie is unlike any Bowie story ever written. Drawn from over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators, some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie, this oral history weaves a hypnotic spell as it unfolds the story of a remarkable rise to stardom and an unparalleled artistic path. Tracing Bowie's life from the English suburbs to London to New York to Los Angeles, Berlin, and beyond, its collective voices describe a man profoundly shaped by his relationship with his schizophrenic half-brother Terry; an intuitive artist who could absorb influences through intense relationships and yet drop people cold when they were no longer of use; and a social creature equally comfortable partying with John Lennon and dining with Frank Sinatra. By turns insightful and deliciously gossipy, DAVID BOWIE is as intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn. It sparks with admiration and grievances, lust and envy, as the speakers bring you into studios and bedrooms they shared with Bowie, and onto stages and film sets, opening corners of his mind and experience that transform our understanding of both artist and art. Including illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones's interviews with him across two decades, DAVID BOWIE is an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time.
Book Review: Real Rating: 2.5

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I remember my first taste of Bowie's music. It was the early 80s and MtV was still in the stages of infancy. Yet whenever "Let's Dance" came on I always found myself singing along. I really did not get into music until I saw him as the Goblin King in The Labyrinth. Since then his music always plays whenever I am in the car or I am in the mood to listen to music.

When I found this book, I was excited. This book offered a glimpse behind the scenes with friends, lovers, and family. However, I found myself disappointed. This book did not seem to be a biography in anyway but disguised more as a lazy interview. Although it offered some fascinating information about David, it felt like the author was a bit lazy when he wrote it. I had to put the book down several times before I came back to it early this afternoon to finish it.

Will I recommend this book? I may to friends who are, much like myself, enjoyed Bowie's music.

Sep. 18th, 2017


[info]katara

| 111 |

Title: Harley Quinn (2016-) #25
Author: Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Paul Dini, Alex Sinclair (Illustrator), Chad Hardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 18, 2017
Book Summary: “BIRTHDAY!” It’s an oversize anniversary issue as Harley’s entire cast of crazy characters comes together to celebrate the birthday of cyborg senior citizen Sy Borgman…but is there actually a bigger secret behind this gathering? And in “Harley Loves Joker” part nine, Harley’s spent a fortune building out The Joker Gang’s new hideout, and now they’re gonna have to take drastic measures to pay the bill!
Book Review: The story opens with some development in the Madison storyline. She is in the process of hiring the biggest guns she can find and tossing them in Harley's directon, hoping that they will have the ability to take her out.

The scene changes and we find Harley at a hot tub with senior citizen cyborg, Sy Borgman. She is trying to keep the man busy as the rest of the crew get the surprise party together for him. As the two head back, Harley finds that the party that was planned was actually for her. Here we have a reunion of sorts with the Gotham Sirens. Of course, Harley is always happy to see Ivy. :D

As the party gets into full swing so does Harley. She ends up jumping out the window and into the arms of Power Girl.

But what is a party without bullets and beatdowns from Harley? It would not be a party, now would it? So Harley and her gang are off to war and things don't really seem to be going as well but I suppose we won't really know the results until the next issue.

This was a rather fun issue. I loved seeing Harley allowing herself to be free for once and having no real cares in the world. I also enjoyed the fact that not only did the Gotham Sirens have a reunion so did Ivy and Harley. It was nice to see them together. I cannot wait to see what the next issue has in store for us.

[info]katara

| 110 |

Title: Jean Grey (2017-) #6
Author: Dennis Hopeless, Paul Davidson (Illustrator), David Yardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date:
Book Summary: When you're a mutant telepath, you get used to hearing voices in your head. But what happens when one voice keeps you up at night and refuses to leave? Desperate for help, Jean seeks out a physician to diagnose her problem…Only under these circumstances, the only qualified clinician is the Master of Mystic Arts himself, DOCTOR STRANGE!
Book Review: Real Rating: 3.5

In this issue Jean teams up with Doctor Strange where we find him performing a ritual on Jean. The two of them take a journey onto the astral plane where they find the Dark Phoenix waiting for them. With a roar, she sends them spiraling into a world where an older Jean Grey is having a birthday party. Of course, older Jean is not entirely thrilled with their intrusion nor is she happy playing second fiddle to her male counterparts.

With a psionic push, Jean and Doctor Strange find themselves in once more in older Jean's world. This time she is not the Phoenix. Here Doctor Strange makes the comment that he believes that older Jean may be her spirit. Once again a fight between both Jeans ensue and older Jean sends them once more plummeting into another part of older Jean's world. Here they are met with Dark Phoenix who forces younger Jean to realize that she and older Jean are pretty much one and the same.

I must say not only did this really add to nothing but the art looked and felt rushed. I was not at all impressed by it whatsoever. I loved the interaction between Older and younger Jean but otherwise I am hoping for something better in the next issue.

[info]katara

| 109 |

Title: Jean Grey (2017-) #5
Author: Dennis Hopeless, Anthony Piper (Illustrator), David Yardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4/5
Status:
Reading Date: September 18, 2017
Book Summary: After an adventure with the legendary God of Thunder himself, JEAN GREY realizes that fighting the Phoenix will take more than just mettle…it will take METAL. Luckily, there's an X-Man who knows something about turning resolve into ordnance… Enter: PSYLOCKE!
Book Review: This issue takes us on our next adventure with Psylocke.

Here we find the two of them mediating surrounded by the bloom of cherry blossoms. Of course, Jean is anything but patient and decides that this is really not for her. As she walks off, Psylocke changes the scene to a club in Philadelphia. Since Jean was not impressed with silence, Psylocke believes the noise might be better for her and encourages her to find her weapon.

Unfortunately Jean fails at this and Psylocke once more changes the scene to a cavern filled with vampires (?). Again another fail. This time decides to bring her to a building where they are making members of the Hand.

Jean: You want me to jump down there and fight an army of ninjas?
Psylocke: No, I want you to sneak in there, set a load of explosives and sneak back out.

For Jean, the course of stealth never fully runs its course with her and she finds herself fighting the army of undead Hand ninjas. There is a point in this when Psylocke must come to Jean's aid but Jean has already taken out the ninjas. This impresses Psylocke immensely and two destroy the building.

This was an interesting read. I really like Psylocke here. She is the perfect mentor for Jean. I believe she could have offered her a lot more if Jean was a bit more patient as a student. Yet we have Jean hearing voices and not knowing who is talking to her. I suppose in our next issue we will find out who it is coming from.

[info]katara

| 108 |

Title: Darth Vader (2017-) #5 (Darth Vader (2017-) #5)
Author: Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator), Terry Dodson (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 5/5
Status: Finshed
Reading Date: September 18, 2017
Book Summary: He began his journey as a Jedi with wonder and hope. Now it is time to put away childish things. Vader's first and most vital test as a Sith concludes.
Book Review: This comic book picks up where the left one ended.

Darth Vader finally has his kyber crystal and is on his way to making his new Sith lightsaber. He heads to an outer rim to a planet called Mustafar. It was here that Vader had been defeated by Obi-Wan while he was Anakin and it was also the place where he nearly killed Padme. Here this will be the place he will call home away from the Empire.

Vader gets to work on making his Sith lightsaber. Of course this does not entirely run smoothly and he ends up getting tossed. It seemed like the crystal wanted to show him something. Perhaps how things might be if he kept on the right path. Unfortunately this was not the path Vader wants and he refuses the crystal.

The scene changes and we return to Emperor Palpatine who is with Tarkin and Mas Amedda when Palpatine's guards are tossed against the glass. Vader has appeared and he has his new saber to show. Of course, Palpatine sends away Tarkin and the others. This is where we find that Vader's saber is red.

This was an interesting arc. I loved how we are given a glimpse into a "what if" moment. This was a fascinating change. I had always wondered what things would have been life if Vader had continued onto another path. I mean these things often do deserve a "What If" moment (Marvel, are you hearing this!? I mean you do it for the X-Universe and whatnot; why not Star Wars too?) I am looking forward now to seeing how Vader and the Executioners interact. We really didn't see much of this really during the series of Rebels and I am hoping we will get more of Vader's thoughts during that as well.

[info]katara

| 107 |

Title: Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey (2017) #1 (Generations (2017))
Author: Cullen Bunn, RB Silva (Illustrator), Stephanie Hans (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.5/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: September 18, 2017
Book Summary: Teenage Jean Grey is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid the fate that befell her predecessor. But when Jean is cast through time and comes face-to-face with the newly possessed Phoenix, will she find the key to saving herself…or learn that her fate is sealed?
Book Review: Teenage Jean Grey finds herself in another world. Here as she trudges through throngs of beach-goers, she finds the older version of herself enjoying a good book as she suns herself. For the young Jean Grey, seeing an older version of herself is unsettling and even more with the Phoenix force hovering just above her. As the raptor-like bird disappates into nothing, the older Jean Grey is distracted by the arrival of a male, who tries to strike up a conversation with her. Unfortunately, older Jean is not interested in any way and sends of the male off. She, then, turns to the younger version of herself.

Older Jean does not quite seem so happy to see her younger self. It is at this point the younger Jean starts bombarding her older self with questions but the older version doesn't answer them right away. Instead asks younger Jean if she would like something to eat. The two end up at a resturant and then at a dance club. It is here where older Jean finally offers to give her younger version a taste of what the power of the Phoenix force.

The two head into space and to a world that is currently in chaos where its inhabitants are fleeing in terror from Galactus and his herald. Of course, Phoenix steps in to stop Galactus from devouring the world but it ends up taking both Jeans in stopping him.

For younger Jean, this still makes her resolve in destroying the phoenix force stronger especially since the older version of herself really has no idea of the corrupting powers she has coursing through her veins. And even before younger Jean can really offer any sort of answer to older Jean's inquiry, the Watcher appears and sends young Jean away.

Wow!

Just wow!

This issue was awesome! Younger Jean had a chance to see exactly what the Phoenix force was capable of - life saving. Of course, younger Jean still has it fresh in her mind of the darker aspects of what the force is capable of. So seeing the two versions of Jean together was a real treat!

I am hoping that this is the beginning of the revival of older Jean. I would love to see her come back to life and perhaps be there when the Phoenix force comes for her younger counterpart.

Or perhaps the Phoenix may not even be coming for the younger Jean. Maybe it could be coming for the older? Now that would be something!

Aug. 20th, 2017


[info]katara

| 106 |

Title: Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel
Author: Bob Batchelor
Format: Epub
Rating: 4/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: August 8, 2017 to August 20, 2017
Book Summary: The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Invincible Iron Man. These are just a few of the iconic superheroes to emerge from the mind of Stan Lee. From the mean streets of Depression-era New York City to recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Lee's life has been almost as remarkable as the thrilling adventures he spun for decades. From millions of comic books fans of the 1960s through billions of moviegoers around the globe, Stan Lee has touched more people than almost any person in the history of popular culture. In Stan Lee, The Man behind Marvel Comics, Bob Batchelor offers an eye-opening look at this iconic visionary, a man who created (with talented artists) many of history's most legendary characters. In this energetic and entertaining biography, Batchelor explores how Lee capitalized on natural talent and hard work to become the editor of Marvel Comics as a teenager. After toiling in the industry for decades, Lee threw caution to the wind and went for broke, co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books for generations of readers. Marvel superheroes became a central part of pop culture, from collecting comics to innovative merchandising, from superhero action figures to the ever-present Spider-Man lunchbox. Batchelor examines many of Lee's most beloved works, including the 1960s comics that transformed Marvel from a second-rate company to a legendary publisher. This book reveals the risks Lee took to bring the characters to life and Lee's tireless efforts to make comic books and superheroes part of mainstream culture for more than fifty years. Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel Comics not only reveals why Lee developed into such a central figure in American entertainment history, but brings to life the cultural significance of comic books and how the superhero genre reflects ideas central to the American experience. Candid, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, this is a biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more - changing American culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations of readers.
Book Review: I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

One of the more prolific people in comics, Stan Lee has created a smorgasbord of iconic heroes in the Marvel Universe.

Born Stanley Lieber in 1922, he was the first child to immigrant parents, Jack and Celia Lieber. Stan was born during a time of a Great War that would spiral into the Great Depression sending the entire American economy into chaos. During this time, his father worked sporadically and his parents fought constantly over money.

While growing up, Stan Lee enjoyed writing and hoped to one day write that one great novel. He found inspiration in books and movies, particular ones with Errol Flynn, where he always played the hero. During his teenage years, he took up part-time jobs writing obituaries for a news service, press releases for National Tuberculosis Center, sandwich runs for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center, ushering for Rivoli Theater on Broadway.

When he turned 16 in 1939, he graduated high school early and joined WPA Federal Theatre Project. It is during this year that his Uncle Robbie helped him get a job with Timely Comics. Most of his work at this time were simply replenishing the ink wells, picking up lunch, proofreading, erasing pencil markings from the finished pages. He would graduate from this to actually becoming part of the team. His first superhero was Destroyer in Mystic Comics #6. After the departure of Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby after a disagreement with Goodman, Stan was installed as interim editor. He would later become editor-in-chief.

In 1942, Lee signed up to join the Army and served in the Signal Corps where he repaired telegraph poles and communication equipment. He would later be transferred to Training Film Division where he would work on manuals, films, etc.

When the war ended, Lee returned to the one place he loved - comics books. It was at this time he would come to create the most loved characters in Marvel history such as the Hulk, X-Men, Avengers, etc.

This was a fascinating look at Stan Lee's life. This was a person who had come from a home where his parents fought constantly but he continued to hold onto his dream. It may not have been exactly the dream of writing that "great novel" but it was the next best thing - characters that people could either relate to or simply enjoy reading around the world. His comics pulled us in to the point where we felt we were these characters.

Batcherlor put together a wondeful biography filled with information that not everyone. He also provided information on how comic books became a staple during a time when the world was descending into strife and chaos. Even now comic books remain a stable during good and bad times.

If you are looking for a book that will pull you in and take into a larger than life character named Stan Lee.

Aug. 7th, 2017


[info]katara

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Title: The Mummy
Author: Barbara Steiner
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.45/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: August 5, 2017 to August 7, 2017
Book Summary: While volunteering at the local museum’s Egypt exhibit, Lana Richardson begins to feel haunted by a mummified prince

All her life, Lana has been fascinated by stories of ancient Egypt. So when a new exhibit featuring the mummy of the young Egyptian prince Nefra comes to the town museum, Lana volunteers to give tours to visitors. Inexplicably, Lana feels herself drawn to the tragic story of Nefra, who died on the eve of his wedding to his love, the beautiful princess Urbena. Although Nefra has been dead for thousands of years, Lana cannot get the young man out of her mind.

When a priceless treasure is stolen from the exhibit and Lana is the only witness, she knows it’s up to her to find the thief. But vivid dreams of Nefra and Urbena have been haunting her sleep, and Lana swears she can hear Nefra’s voice calling out to her. Is she going crazy? Or is she more connected to the story of the doomed lovers than she could ever have imagined?
Book Review: Real Rating: 3.45

Lana is a lover of anything and everything of Ancient Egyptian history. In the future, she wants to be a Egyptologist. For now, she is volunteering at Denver's Museum of Natural History. There she is working the Egyptian section with the object her obsession - Prince Nefra. She has even cut her hair in an Egptian style bob making her resemblance to Prince Nefra's beloved, Urbena, whose body was stolen years ago by grave robbers, eerie.

Lana starts having dreams of a time long ago and even worse she swears she heard the Prince move and saying to come back to him. On top of that, a black cat has appeared whom she calls Seti. Then a prize necklace disappears.

Ever since my first taste of Ancient Egyptian-themed horror (movies like 1952's The Mummy with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), this book had everything I enjoyed in this type of story - reincarnation, paranormal, and a mystery.

I had never read anything by Barbara Stein so this was my first taste of any of her books. Although I really enjoyed this one, I felt it was missing something. Maybe I found this book late in my life because I know my younger self would have squealed in delight with the themes this book presented. I am even more sure that this book would have been re-read countless of times.

Unfortunately I am not young anymore.

Yet this book was a fun read and one I think others would enjoy immensely especially if you like Ancient Egypt and reincarnation. The story will draw you until the very end of it.

Aug. 5th, 2017


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Title: The Fearsome Foursome (Tales from the Haunted Mansion #1)
Author: Amicus Arcane, Kelley Jones (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 3/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: August 5, 2017
Book Summary: Welcome, foolish mortals, to Disney Press' spookiest chapter book series yet: Tales from the Haunted Mansion! Based on the attractions from the Disney Parks, each new book tells the story of one of the Haunted Mansion's 999 ghosts. With eerie illustrations throughout and a beautiful three-piece cloth cover, the books are designed to look like they came straight from the library in the Haunted Mansion. Tales from the Haunted Mansion is a fun, spooky ride, just like the attraction from the Disney Parks. And if readers are familiar with the ride, they'll see elements of it throughout the entire story, from items straight of the Mansion (are those pictures stretching?) to lyrics from the narration that is heard in each Doom Buggy. In this bone-chilling book, you will hear the terrifying tales of the Fearsome Foursome--four kids who look to out-scare each other. But just wait until they hear my spooky stories. Who am I? I am Amicus Arcane, your librarian and host. Your Ghost Host. So read on... if you dare!
Book Review: As a kid, did you like "Are You Afraid of the Dark"?

That is exactly what these stories felt like.

There was really no tales of the ghosts within the Haunted Mansion or even how the haunted mansion came to be, which is quite was a big let down when I started this book. No, we are given four children and the Ghost Host who weaves tales for each of the children. All of the stories are pretty much predictable and end with some sort of moral to the story.

These stories are truly geared to the young adult crowd. I think they would definitely find them extremely entertaining as we did those stories from "Are You Afraid of the Dark?". They are fun, a bit cheesy, but overall worth it.

However, I wish these tales were more about the 999 ghosts within the Haunted Mansion. I mean I would have loved to know how they came to be there or what happened to make the mansion's owners become part of the ghostly lore.

Still, these stories are interesting and worth gifting them a young person who loves ghost stories.

[info]katara

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Title: Darth Vader (2017-) #4
Author: Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.95/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: August 5, 2017
Book Summary: Vader's first mission isn't going well. The dark side is the way of power. But no one said it would be easy.
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.95

This issue picks up right where three left off. We find Vader at the bottom of the cliffs. He has been torn to pieces from his fight with the Jedi Master and he is struggling to keep himself alive. Using pieces of debris from various left over parts of droids he and the Jedi Master tossed over the cliffs during their fight, Vader slowly starts to rebuild his armor.

The scene changes to that of the Jedi Master, who is in the city. He has come to reclaim the ship he had left here sometime ago. He has a new mission now and that is to go out there and find the Sith Lord that sent Vader out and destroy him. Afterward, he hopes to rebuild the Jedi Order. Unfortunately all that will have to wait. You see since he placed himself in a quite a long time of an exile, his ship has been sitting there kinda not being used. Because of this, it will need a bit of a tune up. While discussing matters of the ship, the Jedi Master feels a stir within the force.

We find Vader has not only climbed back up the mountain but he has also rebuilt himself. During the fight between himself and the Jedi Master, Vader has realized exactly what is the Jedi Master's weakness - his compassion for life. Vader decides that he will use this against him and begins to crush the dam. This causes the Jedi to run out and face Vader again. The Jedi Master pleads with Vader to take his life, rather than the life of those below the dam. Unfortunately for the Jedi Master, Vader does just that and also takes the lives of those who lived below the dam. All this and the Jedi Master's lightsaber.

This issue was interesting. Not only was Vader forced to rebuild himself but the idea that someone had managed to one up him caused him to realize that he had a lot more to work on - especially his human emotions - in order to fully become a Sith Lord. He now has the Jedi Master's lightsaber and kyber crystal. Does this crystal become part of his lightsaber? That seems to remain to be seen. I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next issue.

Jul. 29th, 2017


[info]katara

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Title: Harley Quinn (2016-) #24
Author: Jimmy Palmiotti, Alex Sinclair (Illustrator), Jeremiah Skipper (Illustrator), Amanda Conner (Illustrator), John Timms (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.95/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 26, 2017 to July 29, 2017
Book Summary: “THE PARENT TRAP”! Harley has faced every challenge even she could possibly imagine, but can she survive…a visit from her parents?! And in “Harley Loves Joker” part eight, the duo’s new headquarters comes with some unforeseen complications!
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.95

In this issue, Harley finds herself up against the Sportsmaster and the Clock King aka Larry and Bill. These two are surprised to find that they are on the same boat as Harley and a fight ensues. Unfortunately for Harley, the two villains have a trick up their sleeve involving a hockey puck and capture her in a net. While two villains think they have beaten Harley, another person enters the frey and sends them splashing out into the open waters.

When they back on dry land, the two villains find themselves in custody of the cops. They have one more trick up their sleeve - a teleportation ring. It sends them into someone's bathroom. Not just anyone's bathroom but Power Girl's, who seems less than thrilled that they have interupted her bath.

Red Tool and Devani are talking about Harley and why Red Tool is still within this timeline. Of course, Red Tool admits he has feelings for Harley and has no real intention to return to his own timeline. Devani decides that since she is new to this timeline, she wants to help be apart of it. At first, Red Tool is reluctant to allow it but then he decides that he wants her to see that Harley is not the killer they thought her to be.

Harley is united with her parents and spends a nice moment with her Mom. Unfortunately it is interuppted when it is announced that her father has fallen asleep. This leads to a chuckle from her Mom and Tony takes them back to their hotel.

Unfortunately as this issue ends, there seems to be a woman watching on a cell phone and making a plan. Could this plan involve her parents? That remains to be seen until the next issue.


I absolutely love the fact that Joseph Linsner is still doing art for Harley. I have always loved his art and I am glad that he is still doing the work for this comic.

I also love watching the changes come in Harley. She is becoming more the heroine that anything but will such things last? Harley does not seem to be interested in any criminal type of activity. She enjoys her food and making sure the streets remain safe for the rest of the public. But now we have Devani in the mix. Will see how this timeline's Harley is really like?

So many questions and yet so little answers right now.

Jul. 14th, 2017


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Title: Jean Grey (2017-) #4
Author: Dennis Hopeless, Harvey Tolibao (Illustrator), David Yardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.75/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 12, 2017 to July 14, 2017
Book Summary: After an adventure with Namor, the Sub-Mariner, Jean Grey is more determined than ever to escape her predecessor's fate and when the Phoenix comes for her, she will BEAT THAT BIRD DOWN. And to learn how to go toe-to-toe with a god, she'll seek out training from a god…Enter: ODINSON!
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.75

Know your Enemy. Know Yourself.
-Thor


This issue follows shortly after the last. Namor has suggested Jean find someone to help her get stronger and now she is climbing a mountain on the search for Thor himself. When she arrives, Jean finds a group of Orcs ready to seek out Thor and kill him.

Jean hurries to search for Thor and finds him in a tavern drinking. It is then she introduces herself and takes his mug and dumps it. She, then in turn, asks the tavern maid for coffee. She then telekentically begins moving objects to the door with the hopes that the coffee will sober up Thor long enough for him to be able to face the Orcs coming after him.

A fight ensues when the Orcs do appear and Jean is able to produce a telekentic hammer-like object during it. Of course she tries to replicate it again once they have laid waste to the Orcs but it doesn't appear again. Thor offers her a bit of advice: "Asgardian wasn't built in a day" meaning she would eventually become powerful in time but she would really have to build her power.

This issue was a fun issue. It was nice seeing Thor appear and even funnier when Jean dumped the contents of his ale into the sink. I absolutely loved his face of horror. Unfortunately Thor doesn't seem like Thor anymore. Maybe with his hammer in another's hands he looks more of an empty shell. He still possesses an imposing figure but there seems to be a lack of something within him missing.

As for Jean, she seems to be growing a bit. She can still be annoying but yet one can understand her need to try to defeat the Phoenix Force. I do hope we see the force soon.

Jul. 12th, 2017


[info]katara

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Title: Darth Vader (2017-) #3
Author: Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator), Olivier Coipel (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4.75/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: Last read July 12, 2017
Book Summary: Vader sets his sights on a Jedi who's avoided Order 66…a Jedi Master who's long lived in seclusion…a Jedi more powerful than any Vader has faced before…
Book Review: Real Rating: 4.75

This issue picks up where the last one left off.

Vader arrives upon The Mid-Rim. The Moon of Al'doleem. Here he knows that the Jedi that has avoided Order 66 resides. When Vader encounters him, he tries to force-choke him but the Jedi is much more stronger than he and manages to push him away. The two of them go to war against each other with Vader coming out much more worse for wear than the Jedi.

This issue felt a bit short. Maybe it was due to the fighting action than anything. After all, Vader came seeking to destroy but he also knew it was not entirely going to be easy. This Jedi was much more stronger than he and the Jedi was willing to prove this.

Yet this issue delivered wonderfully. I enjoyed watching Vader get thrashed by the Jedi. It proved that Vader is not entirely as powerful as he wants to be yet. This could change in the next issue but we will definitely have to see.

Jul. 4th, 2017


[info]katara

| o99 |

Title: Jean Grey (2017-) #3
Author: Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibañez (Illustrator), David Yardin (Illustrator)
Format: Epub
Rating: 4/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: July 3, 2017 to July 4, 2017
Book Summary: Desperate to find any information that will help her stave off possession by the Phoenix, Jean Grey ventures to Atlantis to entreat its surliest former host: NAMOR, THE SUB-MARINER! But Namor has his own fish to fry…And when Jean is swept up in the Sea King's madness, will she find herself in over her head?
Book Review: Teenage Jean Grey does not want to be swallowed up by the Phoenix force like her previous counterpart that she sets out to seek out advice, train, and find a way that will stop the inevitable from happening.

In this issue, we find her in the underwater realm belonging to Namor. Namor had once tangled with the Phoenix Force and come out of it unscathed but did Namor really come out of it in such a way? The way we see Namor's expression in this issue tells me that the Phoenix Force did more than scar him in a way that it has not yet been explored yet. I can only fathom that Namor wishes at the moment to leave that part of his life in the past and never really have to deal with the consequences that he is still reeling from.

Namor ends this issue with a food-for-thought to Jean. What if she could take down the Phoenix force with her bare hands?

I know many people are not fans of Namor but I thought he did really well in this issue. After all, he has tangled with the Phoenix Force in the past but how scarred is he deep inside from his encounter with it? This issue did not explore it but we can see that he is still reeling from it....that it has affected him in ways that we do not know of.

I do like the idea of Jean teaming up with others and becoming stronger than she was in the beginning. I think she is growing as a character but I believe she is trying a wee too hard to escape the Phoenix Force. This could eventually lead to her own downfall because the Phoenix Force can eventually use this against her.

Overall, I am looking forward to seeing how this story plays out and the inevitable clash between Jean and the Phoenix Force.

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