Tuesday, July 14, 2015

All the Appeal of an Ambulance Siren


Published:  October 28th, 2014
Gotham City Sirens: Book One
By: Paul Dini, Guillem March (Illustrations)
DC Comics
ISBN-13:  9781401251758

This graphic novel features the bad girls of Gotham City!  Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are tired of playing by other peoples' rules regardless of which side of the law they're on.  These tough ladies have a new agenda that's all their own, and they'll use any means necessary to pursue it.  But can they get along and work as a team?  And who will get hurt along the way?

Contains issues 1-13.


Review (HERE THERE BE SPOILERS, YAR!) 

I was enjoying myself pretty good for the whole volume, until that last issue. I was annoyed by the constant referencing of Hush which I've never read. But it wasn't so tied into the story that I couldn't figure out what was going on and it didn't really diminish my enjoyment -- so I was letting it slide. I also really liked the portrayal of Harley as a somewhat coherent adult, albeit one with major issues and tendency towards childish behavior. The holiday issue with Harley's family definitely gives some background on how she could've turned out so messed up. So, things were chugging along decently. Than in that last issue things got really BIZZARE! 



Selina's homeless sister Maggie, a former nun (who has been locked up in the mental hospital after going bonkers -- I'm assuming she escaped!), goes to see another nun -- a renowned exorcist. Turns out, she thinks Selina is being possessed by a cat demon of some sort and Maggie thinks she has to "free" her...then the nun's cat comes into the room and Maggie kills it and the nun, cause she's been "compromised." WTF???!!! Maggie then goes through her relics and gets possessed by an "angel" (probably not a real angel - they never are...), who wants her to kill Selina. Who she then doesn't kill, because when Selina ripped off a holy relic from Maggie's church when she was a nun, turns out she felt GUILTY and took it back. So there's "hope" of saving her...y'know, from the cat demon!!! 





I kind of want to know what happens to Ivy, who was on the verge of murdering a co-worker at S.T.A.R. Labs that learned her identity and was trying to kill her, but don't know if it's worth my effort now. Just, wow. What the actual fuck???



VERDICT:  2.5/5 Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mismatched Lovers


Published:  February 1st, 1979
Harold and Maude
By: Colin Higgins
Avon Books
ISBN-13:  9780380003853

Nineteen-year-old Harold Chasen is obsessed with death.  He fakes suicides to shock his self-obsessed mother, drives a customized Jaguar hearse, and attends funerals of complete strangers.  Seventy-nine-year-old Maude Chardin, on the other hand, adores life.  She liberates trees from city sidewalks and transplants them to the forest, paints smiles on the faces of church statues, and "borrows" cars to remind their owners life is fleeting -- here today, gone tomorrow!  A chance meeting between the two turns into a madcap, whirlwind romance, and Harold learns that life is worth living.

Review

       Ugh.  I know this is a classic, and I have a couple friends that absolutely loved it.  Maybe it also doesn't help my opinion that I've never seen the movie?  Not sure, but for some reason I'm not at all a fan of this one.  It was okay, but overall un-inspiring for me personally.


       I found it to be kind of similar to Love Story, in the fact that you can totally tell it was written to be a screenplay.  It was never written to just be a book and for me personally, that hurt my enjoyment of it.  There was no real flesh to the characters and barely any plot happening.  And that freaking ending...


       Since when is that the freaking answer?  Maybe if I had seen the movie, or read this as a teenager, I'd have had more tolerance for the whole "suicide-star-crossed-age-gap-lovers" thing.  But get this: I just didn't.  She could have just told him, "Hey yo, I'm way too freaking old for you.  Find a nice girl your own age and P.S. I'm going off on further adventures."  Instead she committs suicide and Harold learns a nice, neat lesson?  FUCKING GAG ME.


VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

*I received this book from Avon Books on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was originally published on February 1st, 1979.*

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Crazy On You


Published:  March 3rd, 2015
Rocket Raccoon, Vol. 1: A Chasing Tale
By: Skottie Young
Marvel
ISBN-13:  9780785193890

Rocket Raccoon has been a hero to the weak, a champion of good, a heartthrob to many intergalactic females, but his high-flying life of adventure may be a thing of the past when he's framed for murder -- and the authorities aren't the only one on his tail!  (Get it?  Tail?)  The real killer is an imposter who seems to be one step ahead of Rocket at every turn...now it's up to our hero and his best pal Groot to find the truth!  With Macho Gomez and the Ex-Terminators tracking him, can Rocket make it out alive and clear his name?

Review

       If there's any comic that I can get behing whimsical, unrealistic-in-every-way artwork, it would be a comic starring Rocket Raccoon and his ever present buddy, Groot.  So this time, it wasn't the art that got on my nerves.  In fact there really wasn't much of anything that got on my nerves, so to speak.  It was yet another case of the "mehs" for me with this book.  I really enjoyed the first few issues, but I felt like it ran out of steam and I must be the only one who read this that DIDN'T enjoy the issue that was all "I Am Groot"s and pretty artwork.  This whole book starts with Rocket on a quest to find the surviving member(s) of his race, that he found out about recently.  Oh, and to clear his name of murder.  Not that he hasn't committed murder before, but this rap sheet doesn't actually belong to him.  So, it has to be another from his race, right?  Then there's also the matter of all the ex-girlfriends that are trying to kill Rocket, for overall being a womanizing douchebag!



       As soon as the story arc from the first three issues was tidied up, I felt like the last half of the "story" was just filler.  And I think that's half of my problem with reading Marvel comics over DC.  No matter which publisher, there's a 50/50 shot as to whether or not it's going to be any good, no matter what.  But when you look at the pros and cons, I usually choose DC over Marvel.  It tends to be because Marvels trade volumes are about 20-30 pages shorter (2 issues, give or take).  Also, the story arcs, at least from the trades that I've read, seem to be more pointless/used to less effect.  About half the volume is filler, unlike DC where even if it's shitty, all of it's pertinent.  I guess what I've been learning from reading Marvel, and what I learned from reading Rocket Raccoon in particular, is that I'm old and a fun-sucker.  Which, y'know, doesn't make me Marvel's ideal audience.  In other words, I'm the perfect DC fan (to my DC-fan friends, just admit it to yourself).


VERDICT:  3/5 Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Life of Her Own, With a View


Published:  January 27th, 2015
Love, Lucy
By: April Lindner
Poppy
ISBN-13:  9780316400695

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician.  After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation."  But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse have to be, does it?

Review

       I'll go right out there and say that I don't think this book is for everyone and it definitely could have been better.  The original source material for this retelling is A Room With a View by E.M. Forster.  It is a comedy of social errors and the class divide, somewhat reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel, but not quite.  This is less about following the rules of society and finding love with someone who might be slightly inappropriate, in terms of class.  But in say, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth at least has some social graces and knows how to act in society.  Also, she's not THAT far beneath Darcy, no matter what his pride says.  She's a gentleman's daughter.  Lucy Honeychurch in the original Room, falls in love with a young man named George who has no social connections, isn't rich and can't offer her anything other than his love.  She has to choose between socially unacceptable happiness and marrying a man named Cecil (for whom she feels nothing), who could give her every comfort she's used to and more - plus she'd still be accepted in society with her family/friends if she married Cecil.
       When you're adapting a story like that for a modern-day audience, set in the modern United States, it's difficult to translate quite what Lucy would have been giving up by marrying outside her social circle, in a downwards direction.  So Lindner tries to resolve this by making Lucy an actress, who is going to the college her father wants, majoring in business and never acting again, all so he'll pay for college.  That alone is somewhat far-fetched, due to the type of family she lives in and the time period.  It's an upper-middle class, caucasian family, with no obvious religious affiliations and no real obvious reason for this strict point of view.  Also, he forbids her to even continue acting as a hobby.  Alrighty then...and she's supposed to take a trip to Europe in exchange for forgetting her dreams?  On the trip, which she takes with Charlene (the daughter of her Mom's friend), she meets Jesse in Italy and he forces her to question how easily she's giving in to her parents about her future.  I did like the little love-hate thing they had going on at first, but once she's into him she ditches Charlene and is downright mean to her, which I wasn't super fond of.  Being a bitch to your traveling companion is just wrong, even if it's supposedly true love at stake.
       Probably the stupidest thing about this for me, was Lucy's romantic life once she gets to college.  While growing a backbone about being in plays/acting, she seems to lose all sense of self in regards to dating.  Thinking that it's over between her and Jesse, Lucy starts dating someone who seems like the absolute perfect guy.  Yet, she doesn't really have feelings for him.  But he's the perfect guy, so she should just stay with him anyway, right?  Then Jesse comes back to town, to be with Lucy, so she sleeps with him and goes on a date with the other guy the next day anyways, a "weekend away" on which he thinks they're going to have sex (I'm pretty sure it was the next day, I could be mistaken, as it's been a little while since I read this one).  It's like she just wants to miserable.  I think this novel should have been adapted in a different country/culture/place with other social expectations.  Or at least there should have been better reasoning behind Lucy's actions and lack of self-worth.  It made for an unlikeable protagonist which is never fortunate, unless it's on purpose.  Sadly, I don't think it was on purpose in this instance.  Overall, I give this one three stars because I could see the original glimmering underneath.  I also know what it's like to give up the direction of your life to the needs/wants of others.  But there was a lot of wasted potential in this one.  Maybe as a fluffy beach read, if you decide to pick it up?

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bite Sized Review: Lois Lane - A Real Work of Art


Published:  March 4th, 2015
Lois Lane: A Real Work of Art
By: Gwenda Bond
Capstone
ISBN-13:  9780000000

In high school art class, Lois Lane demonstrates her undeniable talent.....but not for painting.

This is an official teaser short story for the young adult novel LOIS LANE: FALLOUT that takes place before Lois moves to Metropolis.

Review

       I normally don't care too much for short stories, especially ones that are under 50 pages long.  I know that a lot can be conveyed in them if the right writer is guiding the ship -- but more often than not, these short stories and novellas for popular YA book series are just useless filler.  This was available on NetGalley, so I requested it and hoped for the best.  And I got it!  Lois Lane is exactly how I wanted her to be - sassy, smart, and self-aware.  Of course, she's a teenager, so there is some self-doubt.  Lois is constantly moving around as an army brat, and she's in a new town again.  All she wants is to figure out something that she's good at, something that can be just for her.  So, Lois decides to try out an art class, and manages to get into more trouble than you'd think possible.  If you're a fan of Lois Lane (especially as portrayed by Erica Durance on Smallville, who this Lois really reminded me of!), try reading this.  I am now super pumped up for the full-length book coming out in May.  I enjoyed Gwenda Bond's style and I will LOVE reading more of Lois' misadventures!  Highly recommended.



VERDICT: 4/5 Stars

*I received this book from Capstone, on NetGalley. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book was published on March 4th, 2015.*

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Love Strung (Love # 2) by Jamie W. Matlock BLOG TOUR -- Excerpt & Giveaway!!!



Love Strung by Jamie W. Matlock
(The Love Series #2 - can be read as a stand-alone)
Publication date: January 21st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:

Country music hopeful, Kennedy Masters is a leap-before-you-look type of woman. Live in the moment, the here and now. That’s her policy – anything other than that is boring, and she’s never been particularly interested in boring. So, when she makes the irratic decision to join country music’s reigning star, Mick Callahan, on his tour bus after a show, she’s just living right up to her life’s motto.
The only problem? Her snap decision making lands her on the front page news and it’s for less than desireable reasons. Even worse is the fact that Mick decides she’s his next conquest, irratically announcing to the public that they’re engaged.
Her only option? Hiding out at the Callahan Ranch until the storm blows over – a decision that she’s not altogether pleased with, but one that she must follow considering the circumstances. When unexpected sparks fly upon meeting Mick’s mysterious older brother, Griff Callahan, Kennedy’s left sorting through matters of the heart – something that’s not exactly her forte.
And her career? Well, it’s been labeled TBD.
Kennedy must figure out a way to deal with her heart and her career, all while fighting her own feelings and fending off someone else’s.

Purchase:



AUTHOR BIO
Jamie W. Matlock is the author of The Love Series, which includes Love Aced & Love Strung. Bored with punching a clock and watching dust collect on the frame of her marketing degree, she decided to turn her lifelong hobby into a career and hasn't looked back since.

Known for mixing both humor and drama into her novels, she likes for her readers to experience a gamut of emotions while enjoying one of her stories. She's also a sucker for flawed protagonists, strong male characters and incredible sex scenes, so be on the lookout for all three in each of her novels.

Outside of writing, you can find her spending time with her family, yelling at a television screen during sporting events, nursing her coffee addiction and coupling a good book with a glass of wine.

Author links:



EXCERPT

       "Kennedy, I don't like to share."  He had grown downright serious, the words coming out as a growl.  "And since I've come to the realization that I can't keep my hands off of you, I'm sure as hell not going to share with Mick."
       His possessiveness curled around me, making me feel things that I couldn't process, didn't understand.  It presented emotions that I wasn't comfortable with, made me want to run yet at the same time, enticed me.  The dichotomy of the struggling emotions was staggering.  "We're not together," I pointed out.  "You don't have any claim over me or me, you."
       My words were a lie, something said mostly out of confusion and I regretted them as soon as they left my lips.  Shamefully - truthfully - I'd be his whatever as long as he'd have me.  I wasn't sure of a lot of things where Griff Callahan was concerned, but I was certain of this:  I wanted him and was absolutely powerless to stop it.
       His eyes went heavy, narrowing as they fixed on me.  "Sure as hell didn't feel like it when your legs were wrapped around me so tightly I could barely breathe.  Or when your thighs spread wide so I could step in between them.  Or when your back arched towards me as cries of pleasure fell from your lips when I kissed your nipples."  The growl reigned supreme, his voice bouncing off of the walls.  "Let me tell you something, Kennedy.  If you think that was good, just wait until you see what else I have in store for you, what else I have planned for us.  You'll be begging me for more, screaming my name in your sleep because you'll want it so bad."
       "I'm sorry," I mumbled, his words leaving me in a hot stupor.
       "You're going to be sorry," he informed me, his hands finding either side of my neck.  He brought my face close to his angrily, possessively, his thumbs pressing down over my cheekbones.  "Sorry I wasn't your first and begging me to be your last," he mumbled.  His eyes stared at my lips hungrily, my brain processing his tongue sliding over his.  "Tell me what you want, Kennedy," he demanded, his voice barely above a whisper, his anger seeping through making his gruff voice shaky.
       "I-I don't know," I stuttered.
       He jerked my body suddenly, my eyes widening in surprise.
       "I-you," I managed, the words tumbling out as if he’d shook them from me.
       "No part of you wants him?  Not even the smallest inkling?  You better let me know if you do and I'll walk away right now."  I could hear the bitterness in his voice, the poison that the thought provoked.
       "You…only you.  I don't know beyond that," I admitted hesitantly, wanting to say the right thing without give away too much.
       "In what way?"
       "Griff, please stop.  You're making me uncomfortable."
       "Oh, like the erection that I've had since you showed up in my kitchen with that damned silk robe on and nothing else?  Or the fact that I can't fucking sleep because every time that I do, all I can see is you and that robe and your nipples, hard and erect and so damned perfect-"
       "Griff, I said I'm serious, okay?"
       "You better not be messing with my head, Kennedy."
       His temper was spiking and my inability to be clear wasn’t helping.  His emotions were all over the map and he was dragging mine along with his.  I needed to smooth things over, to tame the beast that was clearly on the verge of breaking through.  I wrapped my fingers around his thick wrists, doing my best to capture the attention of his angry eyes.
       "I'm not messing with you.  I swear," I said softly.  "I know only a few things.  From the morning that I set eyes on you in that kitchen, there was no denying which Callahan man I wanted.  I can't write a song without it being about you.  I can't stand the thought of you being with someone else, touching someone besides me.  You've got me so twisted and confused, so far from my comfortable center that I don't know which way is up or which is down.  I can't think straight or breathe or form a cohesive thought when you're around.  I want you near me, by my side, on top of me…inside me.  I want you every which way I could possibly have you.  I know I shouldn't, but I do.  I can't understand it and I sure as hell don't know what to do about it, but there's absolutely no way that my body will allow me to leave you alone."

GIVEAWAY

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Every Body Talks


Published: October 17th, 2012 (first published 1999)
Body Bags (Body of Evidence #1)
By: Christopher Golden
Daring Greatly Corporation
ASIN:  B009SLYJ4A

When Jenna Blake starts her freshman year at Somerset University, she's not only living on her own for the first time, she's moving closer to the father she never really knew.  It's an exciting time, filled with new faces and new challenges, not mention parties and boys and...corpses?

Jenna is torn about her future.  She'd like to be a doctor like her mother, but she can't stand the sight of blood.  Her father, a criminology professor, thinks he has the answer -- and sends her to interview for a job with the Medical Examiner -- an interview that takes place in the middle of an autopsy!

When a congressional aide goes violently insane, and then drops dead, the pathology team at Somerset Medical Center discover that his brain was ravaged with disease -- and loaded with insect larvae.  When Jenna takes on her new job, she is drawn into a web of terrifying disease, dangerous politics, and intriguing mystery.  And when one of her professors ends up dead, she starts making connections even the police haven't seen...which will bring her face to face with a pair of killers, one medical, and one all too human.


Review

       I didn't feel disappointed after reading this, like so many of the other reviewers here on Goodreads.  You want to know my secret?  Extremely low expectations, and the prior knowledge that Golden tends to be the master of the pulpy, Alloy-series type of book.  It was a story centered around Jenna Blake, an incumbent college freshman, who is unsure what she wants to do with the rest of her life.  All she knows is that her mother would love for her to be a doctor like her, but Jenna can't stand the sight of blood.  Her Dad gets her an interview with the local Medical Examiner, who hires Jenna as a pathology assistant.  The first big case is a man who was infected with a mysterious illness, of unknown origin and it becomes a priority to find out exactly what happened, when a teacher on campus dies of the same sickness.  Coincidence or murder?  That's what Jenna will have to find out, especially once her and her dad's lives are endangered.  Can she survive her first week at college?
       This book is extremely short and I didn't really expect too much, since it is the first in a ten-book series.  Also, it's original publication was sixteen years ago, in 1999.  Some of the language, situations, etc. are kind of culturally dated (not as bad as most though, surprisingly).  This type of book is the kind that people who are unfamiliar with YA, and it's ever-widening, reach like to cite when they malign it as all being unmitigated "trash."  It's pulp fiction, pure and simple.  I will say that it reminds me of Nancy Drew, in the sense that Jenna is pretty much just a cardboard cut-out, meant to move along the plot.  Hopefully she and her friends (roommate Yoshiko & southern-boy Hunter) will be better characeterized/fleshed-out in later books.  I do wish that the mystery had been more murder/crime and less of a politically driven, thriller type.  I liked it enough to continue and see if the next couple are any good, but overall I wouldn't recommend it unless you like the type of book that's pure, time-wasting cotton candy.  If you want a really great, plot and character-rich series by Golden, try his Hollow series, co-written with Ford Lytle Gilmore.  Now THAT is an awesome series! :D

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.*