Friday, December 23, 2011
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Batman? Batman: Noel! Batman has lost sight of the people he is protecting, becoming rather akin to Scrooge in his outlook towards crime. On Christmas Eve he is visited by three "ghosts" who help him see the error of his ways, and help him change before it is too late.
Written and illustrated by Lee Bermejo, Batman: Noel is a haunting and beautiful tale. This is a must for every Batman fan. I'm hoping to pick it up myself after the holidays so I can read it every year before Christmas!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Axe Cop. My brother told me about Axe Cop awhile ago. From his descriptions, I knew it would be crazy. He told me to look for it online, which I never got around to doing. Lucky for me, Axe Cop is now available in graphic novel form (and even luckier: the library has a copy!)
I don't really know what to say about it, other than it is awesome. Axe Cop is written by Malachai Nicolle, who was five years old at the time, and drawn by his much older brother Ethan. Axe Cop is a crazy story about Axe Cop and his team as they fight the bad guys in all shapes and sizes.
I really enjoyed the graphic novel because it gave commentary by Ethan. Reading the behind the scenes was just as funny. Alright, maybe not quite as funny. But still entertaining.
Axe Cop just really made me laugh. It is definitely worth reading if you enjoy random silliness. I can't wait for Volume 2 (in graphic novel form!)
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
This volume opened on a high note with "Resurrection." A secret sect of Dark Side Followers have resurrected Darth Maul. Darth Vader agrees to duel him to the death; the winner will clearly be the better apprentice for the Emperor.
"Hate Leads to Lollipops" was cute but just okay. "The Rebel Four," a parody of the Fantastic Four, was incredibly funny (in a very morbid way).
I enjoyed "Trooper," the story of the Stormtrooper who is chosen to go first when they board Princess Leia's ship at the beginning of A New Hope. "Skreej" was a funny story about the man who was supposed to be working as a guard with the Hutts. He wakes up with all his stuff gone, so he tries to track down what happened to him (and where his stuff is). "Nameless" was the story of why Darth Maul has a double bladed light sabre.
I think one of the funniest stories was "A Wookie Scorned." This one takes place after the Battle of Endor. Han is supposed to be helping Chewie fix their ship, but he keeps disappearing to "debrief" Princess Leia.
"Free Memory" was an interesting story. C3P0 wants a technician to free up space on R2D2's memory banks. The little droid doesn't appear, so C3P0 goes to find him, and in the process finds out what R2D2 has stored inside him.
"Prey" was another interesting story. Tarkin hires Boba Fett to go after a treasonous pilot. Vader believes the Empire should show no weakness and hunt the pilot on their own. So Vader follows Fett, leading to an awesome showdown between the two.
"In the Beginning" is the story of the card game where Lando lost the Falcon to Han. "The Princess Leia Diaries" was another really funny story, telling how wild Leia was as she grew up on Alderaan.
"Tall Tales" had a gang of aliens sitting around telling each other what they knew about the rebellion. It was pretty funny (and a good example of how stories change as gossip spreads them). "Ghost" was a strange tale of a younger Han going on a treasure hunt; he finds a jedi knight instead. "A Day in the Life" was just okay. It's a short story of Wedge a few days after the Battle of Endor. It started out pretty good, but I didn't like the way it ended.
"A Jedi's Weapon" was an interesting romp. On a diplomatic mission, Anakin Skywalker loses his lightsabre and attempts to get it back.
The last really funny story was "The Revenge of Tag & Bink." They left Boba Fett for dead and he's going on a personal bounty against them. And everything leads to the sarlacc pit.
"Once Bitten" was a strange story that didn't seem to fit with the others. While heading to Alderaan. Obi-Wan tells Han Solo a story of him and Qui Gon Jinn trying to help a jedi, but facing off against Aurra Sing, the jedi assassin. The story ends with Obi Wan asking Han Solo for something to help with Luke's lightsabre training.
Everything ended on a low note. "The Duty" is the story of a jedi knight defending the last of the padawans from Darth ader. Knowing he can't defeat Vader, the jedi makes a deal with the dark side.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The Last Council continues the story of Emily. Along with her family and friends, Emily has arrived at the floating city of Cielis, the stronghold of the Stonekeepers. Finally Emily will be able to get some help from the Stonekeeper Council.
But all is not right in Cielis. The people are terrified, hiding in their homes and unwilling to talk to strangers. Emily and her family is separated from their friends. And the elves are arrested and left in prison (which admittedly isn't that strange. They are elves, after all. One of which is the Elf King's son). And Emily is further separated from her family when she is subjected to the Council's trials.
Admittedly, this wasn't my favourite of the Amulet series. But it was a great interlude where the stakes have just been increased. I look forward to the next installment, whenever that will arrive (as of right now it isn't even announced on Kibuishi's website, so I will probably have to wait quite a while).
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Before embarking on the crazy literary adventure that is NaNoWriMo, I decided to give No Plot? No Problem! a quick read through. Chris Baty, the guy who started NaNoWriMo back in 1999, wrote the book as a guide to the entire month. He details what you're up against, encourages you to get snacks, and gives you strategies to help you succeed during the month-long escapade (and beyond, should you choose to continue polishing your masterpiece). Unfortunately, the warning not to read all the chapters until you actually get to the week in question comes at the end of the book; I did read the book from cover to cover, which I wasn't supposed to. But I did enjoy reading it; I am now ready to embark on my month long escapade.
If you want to follow my novelling progress, you can find me on NaNoWriMo. You can also follow my weekly blogging updates here.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
While wandering around Minneapolis I inevitably ended up in a Barnes and Noble. Browsing the new paperbacks, I found a book by Jim C. Hines, an author I had never heard of before. I wandered into the Fantasy section and found the first book in the series (The Stepsister Scheme), so I decided to buy that instead.
Hines does a great job of twisting the fairy tales we all know in a rather believable direction. This book is proof that the stories we all know may well differ from the “truth.”
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I've had The Introvert Advantage for several years now but never bothered to read it. I think that at the time I read the first little bit and decided that I am an Introvert, and that was good enough for me. But after reading Networking for People Who Hate Networking, I decided that I wanted to give The Introvert Advantage a read before I head to my upcoming conference. I was hoping that I could gain some more valuable networking tips for someone who isn't extroverted.
I took this book's introversion quiz and came to the same conclusion as when I took the one in Zack's book: I am someone in the middle of the introversion/extroversion continuum, but I have tendencies towards introversion. That means that I recharge my energy as introverts do (through alone time, which I was well aware of), but I didn't identify with some of the other common characteristics of introverts. I'm kind of thinking that this may be due to upbringing and other circumstances. And even if I didn't label some of my behaviours as "introverted," I've known for a long time that I like (and need) alone time or I do sometimes feel overwhelmed.
So while I didn't identify with everything in this book, it was good to go over. It didn't have a whole lot on networking as The Introvert Advantage focuses on your entire life rather than just networking. But I got some helpful hints that will hopefully help me retain energy while I'm at my conference. And hopefully they'll translate into my everyday life, too. I'm really glad that I got this book (and finally read it) because I can always go back and reread things as I need to. Which is a good thing, as I didn't quite read the entire book. I skipped over a few chapters that I felt didn't pertain to me (like the one on parenting).
Overall, The Introvert Advantage is a great book to read (or at least skim), for both introverts and extroverts. Introverts can learn some great tricks that can help them survive in this extroverted world (as Laney says, 75% of people are extroverts). And extroverts can learn about the introverts in their life, how they're different and how to deal with that difference. It's a win-win for everyone! :)
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Julie Kagawa's The Iron King caught my eye a couple of months ago. I put it on my Chapters Wish List and then forgot about it. But then a few days ago I saw it go by while working at the library. So I decided to grab it then.
The Iron King is an interesting take on fey. Meghan Chase is the half-human daughter of Oberon. She is unaware of her fey heritage until her brother is kidnapped and replaced with a changeling. Meghan will risk everything to find him and bring him home safe.
And so Meghan embarks on a quest through the Nevernever with her best friend, who happens to be Robin Goodfellow. Along the way she'll meet a cast of fun characters like Grimalkin, a fey cat (who reminds me a lot of Edgewood Dirk from Terry Brooks' Landover series). And all the while, she is being fought over by the other fey, particularly her father and the Winter Queen Mab.
The Iron King was a very good story. It's the first book in the Iron Fey series. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue on with this series, but this book was really good.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
So they hatch a desperate plan to create the beginnings of a grand army to eliminate first one threat then the other. Etain's mother will gather the elves. Merlin will go find Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. The group will go to the Dwarves (who hate them because they destroyed their dam on the Nile and killed a few dwarves in the process) to make a deal: Etain's hand in marriage for the dwarves' help first in hiring fairy archers, and in tunneling into Hel's domain to free Thor and Baldur. Jalil sweetens the deal by offering to make the dwarves more technologically efficient. Of course, Hel won't be too happy with this, especially since the group escaped her before. Oh, and Christopher isn't happy with this plan either because he's in love with Etain.
April, David and Christopher succeed in freeing Thor and Baldur. But then Hel appears. April, like a lunatic, attacks Hel and is captured. Just when she believes she is doomed to be tortured by the death-goddess for eternity (and believes she deserves it for killing her half sister), Loki appears, accompanied by Merlin and Odin. The three demand that Hel release April, and then the four return to the dwarves. The book ends with a newspaper clipping, saying that the four kids have disappeared in the wake of Senna. So they all chose Ever World. But you don't get to find out what happened with the grand army. It's kind of a let down of an ending: while they succeed in their immediate goals, you don't get to know what happens in the end. I guess you have to use your own imagination to decide what happens.
So that's it. That's all of Ever World. Overall, the series is definitely worth reading. I really liked the characters (even if I wasn't very fond of some, like April, narrating). The group worked really well together, with their own strengths and weaknesses. It was a lot of fun to figure out what was going on in Ever World and how they were going to get out of the messes that seemed to spring up around them. I also loved how certain characters, like the Norse gods, kept recurring. Loki in particular was a great villain.
On the negative side, some of the things that happened (like the African adventure in Brave the Betrayal) didn't really fit and seemed to come out of nowhere. It was neat that Applegate used many varied religions and deities in the books, but some of the adventures, particularly near the end, seemed to be added on with no real reason or advantage to the plot. Both the African adventure and the Atlantis adventure fit this bill. They both just sort of happened to the group without fitting into the overarching plot. And what did happen in them could have come up in some other way. These adventures were like busy-work (like in the video game Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance 2 where bandits or trolls or something attacks every single time you travel from one city to the other), detracting from the main story. The books that were really good, such as Mystify the Magician, dealt very explicitly with the main plot.