Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse

I haven't cried so much at the end of a book since Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey. Thomas E. Sniegoski's A Kiss Before the Apocalypse was an amazing, beautiful book. Midwest Book Review describes it as a "Heart-wrenching, beautiful urban fantasy," which is the perfect summary of it.
This is the story of Remy Chandler, an angel who has decided to renounce Heaven and live on the earth as a human. He is a private investigator, is married and has a black lab, Marlowe. Yet his life is turned upside down when he discovers that the Angel of Death is missing, along with the scrolls that will summon the Apocalypse. And so he is hired by his Seraphim brothers to find the missing Israfil and avert the Apocalypse.
I was enchanted right off the bat by the characters. Everyone, from Remy to Marlowe, is well thought out (Remy can talk to animals, and so Marlowe and he always converse). Everyone has their own quirks, and while not all of the characters are likable, they are all unique individuals whom I enjoyed reading about.
As I said before, the story is both amazing and beautiful. It is full of magic and adventure, but at its very heart, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse is a love story. It will speak to anyone who has ever lost someone they loved.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spy vs Spy

I know, I know, it's a little bit weird having a book like Spy vs Spy 2: The Joke and Dagger Files on The List. I mean, the book is mostly made up of the later Spy vs Spy comics from Mad Magazine. But even though there are very few words (there are a couple of articles in the book), it still took a bit to read. I found out the hard way that you can only read so much Spy vs Spy at any one sitting.

But that doesn't mean that it's not worth reading. Spy vs Spy 2 was full of hilarity, as well as some interesting articles by the various authors and illustrators of the comic. I really enjoyed this volume, and am going to look for the first volume (which has all of the strips by Spy creator Antonio Prohias!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thunderbolts: How To Lose

This was another graphic novel that I picked up from Chapters for like $1. I saw it the day I bought Club Zero-G for $2, but didn't pick it up then. It was during a later trip that I found it marked down for even less.
Thunderbolts: How to Lose by John Arcudi collects issues #76-80 of Marvel's Thunderbolts. It tells the story of Daniel Axum, a former supervillain who served his time in prison and is trying to lead an honest life. But he attracts the attention of a local (il)legal fight club.
Judging from its cover, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. Coupled with the last graphic novel I picked up for $1, I was extremely skeptical. Yet I really enjoyed reading How to Lose. I liked the characters (especially Armadillo). I liked the overall plot. And I really liked the ending. I don't normally read a whole lot of Marvel, but How to Lose is definitely worth it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Harley and Ivy

This was one of the graphic novels I picked up from Toronto. While the other ones were a bit more serious looking, this one just looked like a lot of fun. So I just had to buy it. I mean, I can't really picture Harley and Ivy together.
Luckily, this was exactly the type of read that I needed: totally different from those magazines! Harley and Ivy are indeed an odd pair, which led to some hilarious antics! This volume collected three different stories about the unlikely duo. The Bet, the first story by Paul Dini, was a hilarious little romp. Harley bet Ivy a dollar that she could get more of the Arkham males to kiss her! Love on the Lam by Judd Winick had Harley kicked out by the Joker, so she enlists Ivy's help for a big score. Ivy attempts to get Harley to go off on her own for awhile, away from the Joker's influence. And finally, there was Paul Dini's Harley and Ivy, a longer story about the pair on their random adventures to South America and Hollywood.
This was a great read! Perfect for any Batman fan who wants a break from the seriousness!

Magazine Extravaganza!

While cleaning up my room about a week ago, I discovered that I had A LOT of unread magazines hiding under my dresser (coupled with the one I bought while in Toronto, there was a total of 27 unread magazines). So I took it upon myself to read them all in a magazine extravaganza. Needless to say, I only got through 10 of them, and now I need a break!!!!

Here's the rundown of the 27 magazines:

  • 13 Shape (I know, that's over a year of issues!)
  • 5 Self
  • 4 Fitness
  • 3 Glamour
  • 2 Psychology Today

Over the last week (approximate. It's only been about 4 or 5 days since I started this), I have read:

  • 3 Shape
  • 2 Self
  • 4 Fitness
  • 1 Glamour (These 10 are all pictured).

I think the problem is that they are all very similar magazines (especially the Shape, Self and Fitness. Glamour has a bit of different stuff, and I know the Psych Today will be really different). The last magazine that I read was a Shape, and I found myself flipping through an article that I normally would have read. So I am going to read a few books before coming back for Magazine Extravaganza #2!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

List Update

Now that I am home from Toronto, I thought that this would be a good time to do a List update! I bought a wack of graphic novels while I was away, which brings the List total up to 125 books! While I know that some of them will be quick reads, I really have to get going! My goal is to have the List down below 100 books (I am hoping to have it down to about 70, but we'll see how that goes!)


I started reading Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves' Interworld right before my trip to Toronto. I was hoping to have it finished before I went, but I was a bit too busy and ended up having to finish it on the plane.

Overall I thought it was okay. There was something missing from it, and I can't quite put my finger on what that was. The characters were awesome. The idea was great. And the plot seemed okay. But it just didn't have the usual spark that I associate with a Gaiman book.

The premise of the book is that a boy, Joey Harker, has the ability to travel between worlds. This is a power shared by all of his counterparts in the other worlds. And it is for this reason that all of his incarnations are hunted by two opposing factions who wish to harness this power to fuel their own dimension hopping ships. While many of the Harkers have succumbed, there are some who have escaped, banding together in an effort to stop either side from winning.

So yes, most of the characters in the book are Joey Harkers from other worlds. Only they are in most cases extremely unique individuals. There is Jo, the girl who has wings that are too small to fly with unless she is on a magic world, Jerzy, the boy who looks similar to Joey except that he has feathers rather than hair. Jakon, the wolf girl. The list goes on and on. Both male and female.

One of my major complaints was that we are only shown the magic side of the spectrum, personified by HEX. HEX is a group of wizards who have found a way to boil the Harkers down to their very essence, then sealing that essence into jars which are used to power their ships. They use magic spells and whatnot, and come from worlds with fairy creatures. On the other side of the spectrum is the Binary, who come from scientific worlds. They freeze the Harkers and scientifically extract their essence to power their spaceships. But other than one brief encounter, the book focuses exclusively on HEX.

My other complaint has to do with Michael Reaves. He wrote another book that I read (before I started this blog) called Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, which was an extremely bad book. (Basically, it made Maul look really bad. It started by saying how awesome he is, and then he spent the majority of the book failing to capture and kill a jedi padawan, a droid and some guy. The end was awesome, but it just couldn't make up for the rest of the book). So I was rather hesitant to pick up another book by him, but I made an exception because this is a Neil Gaiman. I am thinking that it is due to this bias that the book failed to shine in my eyes. It was fun, but it wasn't spectacular.