Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: Many Moons by James Thurber, Illustrated by Marc Simont

48 pages
Genre: Picture Book, Humor
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Description: A reillustrated version of Thurber's tale about Princess Lenore's request for the moon, with an introduction by Rosemary Thuber.

My Review: Many Moons was funny and charming. The art and story contribute equally to make an appealing book. The King with the invisibility cloak is funny. How does he think it's supposed to work? I really liked it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra

118 pages
Genre: Family, Cultural, Adult
Publisher: New Vessel Press
Rating: 3 stars

Book Description: At the age of nine, Juan Salvatierra became mute following a horse riding accident. At twenty, he began secretly painting a series of long rolls of canvas in which he minutely detailed six decades of life in his village on Argentina's river frontier with Uruguay. After the death of Salvatierra, his sons return to the village from Buenos Aires to deal with their inheritance: a shed packed with painted rolls stretching over two miles in length and depicting personal and communal history. Museum curators from Europe come calling to acquire this strange, gargantuan artwork. But an essential one of its rolls is missing. A search that illuminates the links between art and life ensues, as an intrigue of family secrets buried in the past cast their shadows on the present.

My Review: Received through First Reads.

Beautiful read. Salvatierra's art is entwined with his life in Cabarrales, Argentina and it all comes together to be told by his son in a deeply reflective and resonant way. It was a unique yet relateable book. I like how art connected to life and was told in the written word by Mairal.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Batman: Heart of Hush

144 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, YA, Action
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 4 stars
Book Description: The villain named Hush, created by comic superstars Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, make a dramatic return to the life of Batman. What will this mean for Bruce Wayne? Secrets shared years ago between Bruce Wayne and Tommy Elliot begin to have dangerous repercussions in the present. Why is this mystery driving Hush to destroy Batman's life? What part does Catwoman play in Hush's plans?
Collects Detective Comics #846-850.
My Review: This is the first Batman comic I've read.  I really liked it. The storyline was easy to follow despite my lack of knowledge of other issues. This is centered around the villain Hush, his story and how it connects to Batman. Maybe a bit of reasearch prior to reading this will help introduce anything or anyone unknown. I don't want to give anything away, but my favorite thing in Batman: Heart of Hush were the use of quotes.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: Songs of Willow Frost

Pages: 319
Genre: Adult, Historical, Realistic
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 3 stars

Book Description: On an outing to Seattle's Moore Theatre, William Eng, a Chinese-American orphan, sees a movie featuring an actress who goes by the name of Willow Frost. William is convinced that Willow is his mother, Liu Song, whom he has not seen since a doctor carried her nearly unconscious body out of their apartment years ago. Determined to find Willow. William searches throughout Depression-era Seattle, where he must confront the mysteries of his past. The story of Willow, however, is far more complicated then the Hollywood fantasy William sees on screen.

My Review: Received this book from goodreads' First Reads.

Sad book overall with a glimmer of hope. In Songs of Willow Frost the reader gets to know Willow's story. It begins with William Eng who believes that Willow Frost is his mother. He eventually goes in search of her along with his friend Charlotte. I was a lot more interested in William and Charlotte than I was in getting to know Willow.

Willow's character was well-developed as was her story. She has a hard life and William is the one good constant in her life. She is very much a loving, sacrificing mother. The story alternates in time. The time fram goes from 1921 to 1934 (not in chronological order). Life was tough for everyone, but maybe tougher for minorities because of tradition, societal standards and laws of the time. I didn't like the sad, unfair, unjust experiences Willow had to endure. However, I did come to like her, want to know her so I read on. I wanted her to succeed, be happy.

The same goes for William and Charlotte. They had some happiness and freedom away from Sacred Heart. William is a good hearted person, so he was likable. I really liked Charlotte though. She is wise and sees more than most despite her blindness. The author really broke my heart when it came to her and William's.

Jamie Ford wrote in his author's note of this book "...I realized that beautiful melancholy will always be my writing partner, and that I will make a living by breaking my own heart on a regular basis." If you like this kind of writing in a book then Songs of Willow Frost is for you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: Rasetsu vol. 3

Pages: 208
Genre: Manga, Supernatural, Romance
Publisher: Viz Media LLC
Rating: 3 stars

Book description: Being haunted by spirits seems to run in the family--this time, it's Rasetsu's mother who needs help! Can Rasetsu dispel the spirit successfully with her own personal family issues weighing her down?

My Review: There was some development. At least for Rasetsu. My thoughts about Kuryu were confirmed. I like how the story is moving along; as in romantic development. There was some backstory on Aoi, which was nice because I was not really appreciating his role. Not as much humor in this one.

Review: Rasetsu vol. 2

Pages: 192
Genre: Manga, YA, Humor, Supernatural
Publisher: Viz Media LLC
Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads description: Not knowing it's the solution to her curse, Yako thinks that Rasetsu's quest for a boyfriend seems frivolous. Nothing's trivial about Rasetsu's next exorcism, however, especially when she's suddenly overpowered by the emotions of the spirit!

My Review: I think one of the elements I will continue to like in later volumes of this series are the humorous situations. The first volume had it and now this one too. I'm referring to the chapter in which Kuryu uses his kotodama experimentally. Also got to see some much coveted backstory. It makes me wonder about Kuryu. I really liked this volume.

Review: Rasetsu vol. 1

Pages: 192
Genre: Manga, Young Adult, Supernatural
Publisher: Viz Media LLC
Rating: 3 stars

Goodreads Description: Rasetsu Hyga works for an exorcist agency where she uses her special powers to banish evil spirits. There's a story behind the red flower mark on her chest though--it's a memento left by a powerful spirit who vowed to claim her on her 20th birthday. Unless Rasetsu can find true love by then, she is fated to become his.

Yako Hoshino, a young man with spiritual powers of his own, comes to the agency seeking help with a possessed book. He's seen a lot of strange phenomena in his day, but the last thing he expects to see is Rasetsu bearing a striking resemblance to his old love Yurara!

My Review: I took my sweet time getting to set aside time to read this one. Would have been my loss if I had not. Rasetsu is an interesting character. She can be serious about her work and also silly, funny with her co-workers. It balances out. I liked her, but her sweet tooth. My teeth hurt just at the thought of it. Yako was my favorite in Yurara, so I'm glad to see him in this series. Rasetsu's colleague Kuryu and her boss are interesting characters too. Aoi, another colleague, didn't quite impress me as much yet. Yako's facial reactions to all of them is funny. Volume one introduced them and Rasetsu's history a little. I have to know more about them, see how the story continues. Chapter three was my favorite. That's as much as I will say.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The Monkey's Paw

Pages: 16
Genre: Short Story, Horror
Publisher: Duke Classics
Rating: 3 stars

Book Description: Brace yourself for nearly unbearable suspense in this classic horror tale from British author W.W. Jacobs. Virtually everyone has fantasized about what it would be like to be granted three wishes by a magical being. But what if the cost of having your dreams come true was a horrible toll you never expected? This iconic short story is a must-read for fans of the horror genre.

My Review: Short, but quite good. It tells of a man's wishes made upon the monkey's paw. The 'be careful what you wish for' maxim comes to mind. Though that in no way ruins the story. It doesn't even come close to revealing anything much. The ending was spine tingling. My kind of scary.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Darkness Rising (Catmage Chronicles #1)


Pages: 258
Genre: Middle Grade, Magic
Publisher: May Publishing
Rating: 4 stars

Book Description: It's been hundreds of years since the Darkness last surfaced, a grim time when both humans and Catmages--cats with magical abilities and human intelligence--lost their lives. But now the Wild Ones--evil Catmages--work with humans again, and thirteen year old Andy Cohen gets the surprise of his life when a talking cat shows up in his front yard.

Goldeneyes, a powerful Catmage, needs Andy's help. Her grandmother [Nafshi]--the wisest, most powerful Catmage alive--is missing, and her trail leads straight to Andy's town. But there's a problem: Goldeneyes doesn't like humans very much, and Andy is impulsive and reckless. They have to learn how to work together, and they need to do it before the Wild Ones kill Nafshi and steal her powerful Magelight.

In the first installment of this new series, the reader enters a world of magical cats, dark powers, and a boy who finds himself entangled in their war.

My Review: I got this book through first reads on

Darkness Rising was a very enjoyable read. It had many things I liked. There was humor, moments of suspense, friendship and some action. There were times in the book where I did not expect situations to go the way they did. Riveting moments. It had its sad parts too. I teared up around the last pages.

I have read books with cats before, but not like Darkness Rising. The Catmage culture was interesting. I will not look at cats the same way. My favorite felines were Letsan, Goldeneyes and Patches. Goldeneyes is at first not fond of Andy. She's rough outwardly, but a softie inside. The development of Goldeneyes and Andy's friendship was gradual and wonderful to be a part of as a reader. Letsan was easygoing and amusing. Patches was weird, but in a good way. Really all the Catmages were likable. Even Razor. This does not include the Wild Ones.

The story and character development was good. I liked Andy and his friends. Andy cares a lot about them. If only he took as much care of himself. Mike was funny and I like his dramatic antics. I also liked Becca. Then there is the villain.  He is despicable. He has his "justification" for doing what he does. It was only sort of revealed, so I would like to see more of his backstory in the next book.

There is also Taylor who causes some trouble for Andy. There was a small part in the book that revealed more about Taylor. It wasn't just I behave bad just because, which I liked.  I did find the dialogue among Andy's and his friends' parents awkward. I felt that people don't really talk that way. Other than that I didn't have a problem getting into the story.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Teen Titans volume 1

Pages: 168
Genre: Young adult, graphic novel, comics, action
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads description: As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics -The New 52 event of September 2011, writer Scott Lobdell (X-Men, The Age of Apocalypse) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) deliver a fresh new take on DC Comics' teen heroes, the Teen Titans. Tim Drake, Batman's former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization called Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he's going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl, the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash and few more all-new teen super-heroes to stand any chance at all against N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But as Superboy meets them for the first time , the Titans have to wonder, is he a friend - or a foe?

Collects Teen Titans #1-7.

My review: One of the cool things about the New 52--not just for this series, but others--is that if you've ever been curious about a comic and wanted to try reading one this is a good time to do it. It starts from the beginning, so you don't have to jump into it already started. Teen Titans, in particular, appealed to me because I've watched the cartoon on Cartoon Network. I wanted to see a different take on something familiar.

I really like this first volume of Teen Titans (the New 52). It introduces all (or maybe most) of the members of Teen Titans. It is not entirely in depth about everyone's histories, but certainly that will come later. There are several problem makers for the Teen Titans which make an appearance. I will expect to see more of them in following volumes.

The main villain that takes center stage in this volume is evil organization Project Nowhere. To combat this threat the Teen Titans are formed. The Titans are Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Solstice, Kid Flash, Skitter, Bunker, and a couple of other characters. There is some diversity with Bunker being from Mexico, Skitter is African American and Solstice is Indian.

There is also an appearance by Virgil Hawkins. I had not heard or seen him since the cartoon Static Shock. That got me a bit nostalgic. Later if he joins the Teen Titans as Static Shock it would be awesome. If not it's fine. I still love that he showed up.

I think I have seen Red Robin in cartoons, but everyone else is new to me in Teen Titans. So I did some research. Mainly about when the characters first made an appearance. A lot of them are new and some have been around a bit longer. Anyway didn't mean to go off topic. It's just all so interesting to me.

Already I have characters that I really like. They are Kid Flash and Solstice. The artwork and story of their meeting was my favorite part of volume one. Kid Flash got curious about a glowing coming from a room located in a Project Nowhere facility. It was a bit of a scary surprise. However, he still helped her get out. Love how he goes around looking for something to wrap around her as her power is spreading over her body. Two whole pages showing his path, numbered since he moves fast. Beautiful. I will be anticipating subsequent volumes.