07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 007 by Naoki Urasawa, read by Courtney, on 08/30/2013

Who Killed Astro Boy? No Robots; Human vs. humanoid!

Pluto has destroyed six out of the seven great robots of the world, and the pacifist robot Epsilon is the only one that remains. Will Epsilon, who refused to participate in the 39th Central Asian War, leave behind his war-orphaned charges to step onto the battlefield? It just might be that kindly Epsilon, who wields the power of photon energy, will be Pluto’s greatest opponent of all!

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

MIND MGMT, Vol. 1: The Manager by Matt Kindt, read by Courtney, on 09/15/2013

Matt Kindt, the most original voice in genre comics, outdoes himself in this bold new espionage series! Reporting on a commercial flight where everyone aboard lost their memories, a young journalist stumbles onto a much bigger story – the top-secret Mind Management program. Her ensuing journey involves weaponized psychics, hypnotic advertising, talking dolphins, and seemingly immortal pursuers, as she attempts to find the flight’s missing passenger, the man who was MIND MGMT’s greatest success – and its most devastating failure. But in a world where people can rewrite reality itself, can she trust anything she sees?

PER DARK HORSE WEBSITE:
Reporting on a commercial flight where everyone aboard lost their memories, a young journalist stumbles onto a much bigger story, the top-secret Mind Management program. Her ensuing journey involves weaponized psychics, hypnotic advertising, talking dolphins, and seemingly immortal pursuers, as she attempts to find the flight’s missing passenger, the man who was MIND MGMT’s greatest success—and its most devastating failure. But in a world where people can rewrite reality itself, can she trust anything she sees? Collects MIND MGMT #1-#6.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tommysaurus Rex by Doug TenNapel, read by Angie, on 02/07/2014

Ely’s best friend is his dog Tommy. Sadly, Tommy gets hit by a car and Ely is devastated. He goes to his grandpa’s farm for the summer and finds a t-rex in a cave. Now Ely has a new best friend, one who destroys everything in his path. Ely and Grandpa have to teach the t-rex to obey. Once they do they start earning all kinds of money to pay for damages and helping the local politician. Ely has run-ins with the local bully who wants to destroy Ely’s good fortune. There is a story in here about friendship and bullying and making what you have good. The illustrations are fabulous and the story is one kids will enjoy.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Chickenhare by Chris Grine, read by Angie, on 02/07/2014

Chickenhare and his friend Abe the turtle are sold to Mr. Klaus the taxidermist. They must escape his evil clutches along with their new friends the monkey and the elf girl. Mr. Klaus is determined to turn them all into stuffed animals because his beloved goat Mr. Buttons ran off 40 years ago. The escapees are helped by a tribe of Shrompf. There is a mighty battle between the good guys and Mr. Klaus and his evil henchmen. The heroes are aided by the dead Mr. Buttons and triumph in the end. Mr. Klaus and henchmen become dinner and all live happily ever after. I am not really sure what to think about this story. There are some fairly funny gags and the illustrations are good. But the story is gruesome and there is cannibalism. I am sure there are kids out there who will really enjoy this one, but as an adult I was not really a fan.

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Humor

Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown, read by Brian, on 02/05/2014

vaderVader’s Little Princess is a witty book about Vader raising his daughter Princess Leia.  The book covers topics from the Star Wars series in a new and funny way.

03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction

Bluffton by Matt Phelan, read by Angie, on 02/03/2014

I really enjoy Matt Phelan’s books. I think they are wonderful slices of life. I appreciate the minimal text and lovely illustrations. Bluffton is the story of Henry and his summers spent with Buster Keaton. It seems Keaton and other vaudeville acts summer at Bluffton and fictional Henry was able to get to know them a bit. Henry wasn’t happy working in his dad’s store and really wanted to do more with his life. Unfortunately, Buster never shows him any tricks and just wants to hang out and play baseball. The book takes place over several years as Buster and family returns to Bluffton each summer. While I enjoyed this book, I am not sure it will find a wide audience with kids. I would guess very few kids have heard of or know of Buster Keaton or even vaudeville. Also, they might not be interested in a book that really doesn’t have a lot to say or a very exciting story. This is a sleepy little book that is a fast read and great for fans of Phelan. But we don’t really learn a whole lot about the historical characters and I am not sure we learn enough about Henry to really care that much. Beautiful as always with a Matt Phelan book, but limited appeal.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira

Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne/Gary Gianni, read by Kira, on 01/24/2014

Trapped in an Underwatjules verneer Vessel with a Brilliant Mad Misanthrope!  that about sums it up.  Since our challenge this month was classics, and I haven’t tried many graphic novels, I thought I’d give this book a go.  This is my 2nd or 3rd graphic novel, and I find I don’t get much out of these [though as a kid, some of the Classic Comics really brought to life some of the classics, but others didn't work].  On top of the limited plot-line the artwork was dreary, you could have had some beautiful underwater scenes, for example of Atlantis or the cool fish.    But No.

 

 

 

 

 

20-000-leagues-under-the-sea-original

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Tammy

Ghoul Goblin by Jim Butcher, read by Tammy, on 01/05/2014

ghoul goblin   The first graphic novel in the Dresden Files series that is not based on one of the original novels. Harry Dresden, a Chicago private investigator and wizard is contacted by a small-town police deputy from an isolated town in Missouri. A local family has suffered for generations from a curse with family members dying in strange unfortunate accidents. The deputy wants to protect the remaining family members including two children but the sheriff is convinced it’s all coincidence so he turns to Harry for help. Can Harry save them? Is it just the family curse or are other supernatural creatures at work in this small town? Can Dresden cleanse the Talbot bloodline of its curse without a blood sacrifice of his own?

24. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Fairest in all the Land by Bill Willingham, read by Brian, on 01/23/2014

fairestBill Willingham writes these wonderful novels based off fables and he puts his own twist to it which makes is so much fun. Willingham takes these characters who live in Fabletown and delves into their secret pasts which is mighty surprising and fascinating. 

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Inheritance by Tom Brown, read by Courtney, on 12/31/2013

Continue with the adventures of young Salamandra, the orphaned, mysterious, witch-in-training on the haunted island of Hopeless, Maine! When Sal discovers she might have a grandfather living on the island, she seeks him out, only to find him full of even more mystery than the rest of her past. Before she can unravel the secrets of her family’s past, however, her best friend, Owen, is thrust into a family trauma of his own. Salamandra must choose between helping Owen and finding the home and family she has always longed for.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Violent Cases by Neil Gaiman, read by Courtney, on 12/29/2013

Violent Cases marks the beginning of many astonishing and award-winning collaborations between author Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean. It is now offered in a hardcover format with an expanded art section and introductions by Alan Moore, Paul Gravett, and Neil Gaiman! A narrator remembers his childhood encounters with an old osteopath who claims to have treated Al Capone. Gradually, the England of the 1960s and the Chicago of the 1920s begin to merge into a beautifully drawn and hauntingly written tale of memory and evil.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Global Frequency by Warren Ellis, read by Courtney, on 12/15/2013

Are you on the global frequency? If so, you’re one of 1001 agents scattered across the globe. Each one of the members has a skill set, everything from technology to Parkour, that drew the attention of the enigmatic Miranda Zero, the spokeswoman/leader of the Global Frequency. If you’ve been tapped by Miranda Zero, you may find yourself called in by her central operations operator, Aleph. Aleph will keep you connected with your new comrades and together, you will all mount incredible rescue missions of the top secret variety, the sort that’s too difficult for more conventional organizations. Being on the frequency is both an honor and a risk.
In trademark Ellis style, this comic is simultaneously original, exciting and thought-provoking. It’s a short series, so it’s all nicely collected in one volume. Each comic is a different rescue operation featuring different characters. Technically, the comics can be read in any order and still not diminish one’s understanding of the series.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Saints by Gene Luen Yang, read by Courtney, on 12/08/2013

Saints is the second part of Yang’s duology “Boxers & Saints”. It follows Four-Girl, a fourth daughter so named because her family no longer even had the interest in naming a fourth girl. Poor and neglected, Four-Girl decides she must be a devil. How can she be more of a devil? Why, by seeking out the “foreign devils” (the missionaries) that are becoming increasingly present in rural China. The missionaries give Four-Girl a name, Vibiana and a community that accepts her as she eventually accepts it. While she finds some peace in Christianity, she cannot ignore the rumors of an uprising against the Christians, both foreign and Chinese. Vibiana must now become prepared to choose between her country and her new-found faith. She begins to have visions of Joan of Arc, who encourages her to follow her faith even as the missionary stronghold is attacked by the Boxers.
While each of these books can be independently, the full range of their complexity is not revealed until both are read. We meet Four-Girl/Vibiana briefly in Boxers and Little Bao makes a reappearance in Saints. Four-Girl and Bao have more in common than they think. Where Four-Girl imagines Joan of Arc, Bao imagines himself and his followers as the Chinese gods. Both are from smaller villages that are impacted dramatically by imperialist forces. I really, really love how the two stories are told and how they’re presented. This treatment of showing each side through a different visual context seems like it should be simple and yet I have never seen/read anything quite like it. The reader develops sympathy for both sides of the conflict, which is probably how all historical conflicts should be presented. There are always multiple ways to view a story or incident, but it is frequently difficult to see beyond one side or another. Yang does an excellent job of balancing a complicated story with excellent storytelling technique.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang, read by Courtney, on 12/08/2013

Boxers begins the two-part story of the Boxer Rebellion, which took place in China at the end of the 19th century. Fed up by increasing presence of foreign missionaries and soldiers, a boy named Little Bao begins training in the traditional art of Kung Fu along with several others from the village. As foreign influence spreads, so too does the general sense of discontent among many of the Chinese commoners. Bao and his friends believe that they have taken on the power of their own gods; gods who help them win their battles against the “foreign devils” that appear to be taking over China. They travel from town to town, training more men (and even some women) to join the fight. As the violence reaches its apex, Bao finds his band of men winning over and over. Even still, there is a heavy price to pay as many of Bao’s own countrymen and women are being identified as “secondary devils” (Chinese converted to Christianity) and are slaughtered for it. Is this what the gods wanted?
The first half of this story is gripping and action-packed. It is difficult, however, to review this book without referencing the second, so I’ll save my thoughts on the work as a whole for my review of Saints.

08. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kristy, Paranormal, Teen Books

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, read by Kristy, on 12/18/2013

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

30. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Eric, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Jules Verne's Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Gary Gianni, read by Eric, on 12/20/2013

Jules Verne’s undersea adventure novel gets the graphic novel treatment by artist-author Gary Gianni, best known for his illustrating work on the Prince Valiant comic. Gianni’s beautiful retro art style is perfectly suited for Verne’s stories, so I’m not surprised he was interested in adapting Leagues. The narrative is necessarily pared down, but the tone and major plot points of the original are here, and the art is wonderful. A reprinting of a 1962 essay by Ray Bradbury serves as an introduction, and alone is worth picking up this book. Also included is the full text of Sea Raiders, by H.G. Wells, which Gianni also illustrates. Highly recommended for those appreciative of classic adventure writing and illustration.

19. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Rachel, Short Stories, Teen Books

Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan, read by Rachel, on 12/18/2013

An exchange student who’s really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says… These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan’s many fans will love.

This book is a quick read, but is emotionally exhausting (in a good way!). The short stories play on human emotions and leave you thinking at the end. It reminds me of old-time stories where the meaning was not necessarily written in the words, and the endings left you with nothing but the moral. Some are sad, some are hopeful, and some are just weird!

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 7 by Bill Willingham, read by Courtney, on 11/30/2013

Preparation for war between Fabletown and the Empire begins! The Adversary calls a conference of the Imperial elite to decide what to do about Fabletown and Pinocchio has to face up to his divided loyalties between his friends and his family. Meanwhile, Bigby decides the time has come to confront his father, the North Wind, while the cubs learn more of their family and celebrate their birthday! Plus, Burning Questions by the fans answered!

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

A Flight of Angels by Rebecca Guay, Holly Black, Louise Hawes, Todd Mitchell, Alisa Kwitney, Bill Willingham, read by Courtney, on 11/27/2013

The diverse mythology of angels is explored in this lushly painted graphic novel from high-profile fantasy authors including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Bill Willingham (FABLES).Deep in the woods outside of a magical kingdom, a strange group of faeries and forest creatures discover a nearly dead angel, bleeding and unconscious with a sword by his side. They call a tribunal to decide his fate, each telling stories that delve into different interpretations of these winged, celestial beings: tales of dangerous angels, all-powerful angels, guardian angels and death angels, that range from the mystical to the mysterious to the macabre.

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks, read by Courtney, on 11/24/2013

Nate and Charlie have known each other for a long time, but they don’t really have all that much in common other than the fact that they’re neighbors. Nate is the super-neurotic geek who is the head of the school robotics club. Charlie is the captain of the basketball team and a generally nice, down-to-earth guy. When extra money for extracurricular activities becomes unexpectedly available, the school decides that it will let the Student Council determine whether it goes to the robotics club (which needs the funds to go to national competition) or the cheerleaders (who need new uniforms). Nate really, really wants to take his robotics team to nationals and decides that he will personally run for Student Council president so that he will have a say over how the money is spent. The cheerleaders catch wind of this and decide that they will run Charlie in opposition to Nate, sparking a war between Nate and the cheerleaders.
This graphic novel is an amusing variation on the nerds vs. jocks genre. Instead of jocks being meat-head guys, we have scary-smart and ambitious cheerleaders to reckon with. Instead of stereotypical nerds, we have a diverse group of smart kids (including one very awesome girl and a pair of slightly odd twins). Charlie is neutral territory, in spite of being used by the cheerleaders who decide they are going to run his campaign. Charlie has no intention of being on Student Council and would really prefer not to get in the middle of the funding issue. When things get out of hand, however, it is Charlie that brings the voice of reason to the table. “Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong” is a genuinely fun read.