Thursday, April 30, 2015

Attack the Geek (Ree Reyes, #2.5)

Attack the Geek (Ree Reyes, #2.5)
author: Michael R. Underwood
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.62
book published: 2014
rating: 4
read at: 2015/04/30
date added: 2015/04/30
shelves:
review:
'Attack the Geek' by Michael R. Underwood is numbered 2.5 in the series. It's a fun series with lots of references to geek culture.

Ree Reyes is working her shift at Grognard's, a bar where geeks hang out to drink and play boardgames. The usual crowd is in the place and it seems to be a normal night until something starts pounding on the door. When the Grognard crowd looks into the hallway, they find themselves under attack by all manner of magical beings. For those unfamiliar with the series, these geeks gather magical powers from different geek artifacts, like replica weapons, or ccg cards, or movie clips. Before long, they are ripping up magic cards, shooting phasers, and climbing and quipping like Spider-Man. The bad guys have more tricks up their sleeves though and the battle rages on for most of the almost 200 pages of the book.

I wasn't familiar with this series, and that might be recommended, but I wasn't lost. Ree is a pretty likeable character, and I liked her power of channeling movie characters. I like that there are different types of geek magic for different types of geeks. I liked the bar owner, Grognard, and grouchy Eastwood, and wanted more of them, but maybe they feature more in the regular series. It's a quick read, and I thought it was fun.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Cottonmouth and the Great Gift

Cottonmouth and the Great Gift
author: C.S. Fritz
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.00
book published: 2014
rating: 3
read at: 2015/04/30
date added: 2015/04/30
shelves: children-s
review:
'Cottonmouth and the Great Gift' is the second book in the series by C.S. Fritz. It's a middle book, so it picks up right after events in 'Cottonmouth and the River' and it has a bit of a cliffhanger ending.

So, Frederick has been saved from eating the big, black egg. Tug has given him a job to do with a similar black egg, but Tug is not around anymore. Instead, Tug has sent a hummingbird named Yellowthroat to help Frederick out. They travel down the river, and find an unusual bookshelf with an unusual librarian. They also find a weird sphinxlike being and Frederick makes another bad move. Will he be with Tug again? Can they complete the mission to deliver the black egg?

It's got good illustrations. I found more story depth in this one. The book is an allegory of the first chapter of Acts: the ascension of Christ and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Yellowthroat is supposed to be this gift. I like the representation, but he doesn't seem to be very powerful or influential in Frederick's life. The book ends on a cliffhanger, which seems like a weird way to end a picture book. I would have liked a more self-contained story rather than one that ends on a question. Obviously, this can lead to conversations and imagining with young children, but I feel it should be known to potential buyers.

I received a review copy of this ebook from David C. Cook and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Finn Fancy Necromancy

Finn Fancy Necromancy
author: Randy Henderson
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.71
book published: 2015
rating: 4
read at: 2015/04/30
date added: 2015/04/30
shelves:
review:
'Finn Fancy Necromancer' by Randy Henderson is a fun book. At least the part I got to read. My review copy was only the first 99 pages

Finn Gramaraye is from a family of wizards that live in Port Townsend, Washington. He was framed for a crime he didn't commit and put into stasis back in the 1980s, but his body is free to continue aging and collecting memories until he can reclaim it upon his release. The book opens with him getting out of wizard prison and going to collect his body. The only problem is that his memories are lost, and there is the small matter of a dead body to deal with. His homelife is dysfunctional, and his best friend doesn't know what happened to him, just that he disappeared with no word. Can he solve the murder to keep himself from getting locked up again, fix his broken family and friendship, and stop making pop-culture references from the 1980s?

I hope not the latter. My review copy ended with Finn trying to evade some sasquatches, but I feel certain that it was on track to be a good read. I liked the characters and their quirkiness. I liked the Pacific NW setting (after all, I live there), and I liked the out of joint 1980s references to things. Finn is a likeable character, and at some point, I'd like to find a complete copy and find out what happens.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
author: Matthew Quick
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.92
book published: 2013
rating: 4
read at: 2015/04/28
date added: 2015/04/28
shelves: young-adult
review:
'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock' by Matthew Quick is my first novel by him. As a fan of the film adaptations of his work, I recognize some similarities.

Leonard Quick is having a bad day. Maybe even a bad life. His father is out of the picture, and his mother is too absorbed in her business to care. It's his birthday and he's got a plan. Leonard chops off his long hair, and wraps a bunch of gifts to hand out to the people in his life. the final plan involves using an antique Nazi pistol to kill his best friend, then himself. First we follow Leonard as he delivers his gifts to his neighbor Walt, that he watches Humphrey Bogart films with, and his friend Baback who plays violin. He gives a gift to Lauren, who is a Christian girl he likes, and to his favorite teacher, Herr Silverman. Along the way we learn that he likes to dress like a grown up and see if adults are really happy. We see him hoping someone will remember his birthday. We see him reaching out, and turning away attempts to reach him. How will it turn out?

It's a day in the life and it's quite the day. At first, I didn't seem to have much sympathy for Leonard. As the book moves along, I had more feeling for him. I really liked most of the supporting characters in the book. Lauren felt a little too one-dimensional to me, and I couldn't figure out why Leonard would be attracted to her. Still it's a powerful read, and probably not a bad one to put in the hands of a young person that you want to convince that things will get better. I liked Matthew Quick's writing style and I plan on reading more by this author.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this fine ebook.



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The Power Formula for Linkedin Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search

The Power Formula for Linkedin Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search
author: Wayne Breitbarth
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.59
book published: 2011
rating: 3
read at: 2015/04/28
date added: 2015/04/28
shelves: non-fiction-business
review:
'The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kickstart Your Business, Brand, and Job Search' by Wayne Breitbarth is a short introductory book on how to use th social media site. It's geared to users who are less internet, and social media, savvy. Think of it like a "Dummies Guide" which is by no means meant in a derogatory way.

Starting with logging in, just about all the basic ways to build out your LinkedIn profile are covered. Tips are given on keywords, and how many words can be used. Networking tips and writing and receiving references are talked about along with the importance of seeking out solid people to follow on the site. Searching in LinkedIn is quite powerful and that's covered as well. This also shows you the importance of having a decent profile. There are action plans for building up your page.

Wayne Breitbarth takes a basic approach with the book, and you could certainly find this information out on your own, but this is a gentler approach that takes things systematically. He also does seminars on this which he touts throughout the book (along with his office furniture business). The pandering got a bit old since it's in every example he show. It's not a bad book if you're looking for help on LinkedIn, but there are probably better ones out there.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Greenleaf Book Group and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Rot & Ruin, Vol. 1: Warrior Smart

Rot & Ruin, Vol. 1: Warrior Smart
author: Jonathan Maberry
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.10
book published: 2015
rating: 4
read at: 2015/04/28
date added: 2015/04/28
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Rot & Ruin Vol. 1: Warrior Smart' is based on the book series by Jonathan Maberry. This story is about a group of teenagers trying to make it during the z-poc. This is part of the series, and not a retelling of the first book, so it does kind of dump you right into the action.

Benny, Chong, Lila and Nix are on the run. They are trying to track down a jet that flew overhead. They are also foraging for supplies, which is getting pretty picked over. When their scavenging takes them to an abandoned hospital, they find themselves running from zombies. They stumble across something really weird and disturbing, but before they can decide what to do about it, they have to make a break for it. This leads them to a walled farm where everything seems to be normal life. Plenty of food, and walls and traps to keep the zombies at bay. What could possibly be wrong with settling down and staying for awhile?

If you are familiar with post-apocalyptic zombie stories, you know that groups of humans living safe behind walls are almost as dangerous as the zombies are. Maybe even more dangerous. It's a good thing these kids have some mad fighting skills.

The story is pretty good. Perhaps a bit disturbing when they get to the heart of what the humans are doing, but if teens can handle a book series about zombies and zombie killing, I suppose this is just more of the same. The art was a bit uneven. Sometimes the characters looked Asian, sometimes they didn't. I don't know that it matters, but when I read a graphic novel, I like decent art. It's still a good quick ride, and I'd like to read more about these characters.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, IDW Publishing, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.


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Midnight in Europe (Night Soldiers, #13)

Midnight in Europe (Night Soldiers, #13)
author: Alan Furst
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.36
book published: 2013
rating: 3
read at: 2015/04/28
date added: 2015/04/28
shelves:
review:
'Midnight in Europe' by Alan Furst is book 13 in his Night Soldiers series. It's a series that takes place in the immediate years before World War II.

I've only read a couple of these. The ones I've read center around normal people who get caught up in the war and do clandestine stuff they normally wouldn't do. This time around it's a Spanish lawyer named Cristian Ferrar. He gets talked into buying arms for one side of the Spanish civil war. This takes him from France into all kinds of dangerous, soon to be Nazi, territory. He is on the side of the Spanish Republic while Germany was siding with the Spanish Nationalists. The Republic needs the weaponry to fight back against a well supplied force. We follow the initial buying of the arms, then the attempt to get them out of a trainyard and on to a ship in Danzig.

The suspense is fairly low key by most thriller standards, but that just makes it play more realistically. Also, the time and locales seem to be well researched. If this were a fantasy novel, I'd make a comment about Furst's worldbuilding skills. His level of detail is rich and immersive. Still, I found this one not as likeable as the last one I read. The plot elements are fine, but my attention wandered a bit. I should really go back and read one of the early entries in the series.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories

Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories
author: Nagumo
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.06
book published: 2015
rating: 3
read at: 2015/04/24
date added: 2015/04/24
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories' is a collection of short stories by two creators. These are stories that can be a bit hard to find for Western readers. I'm not sure that makes them worth hunting down, but you might disagree.

The title story is actually 3 short ones about a girl who loves ramen, but can't seem to go into a restaurant by herself to order it. This is because of all the boys that are in these restaurants. She finds a boy to go on her culinary adventures, and these lead to romantic interludes. With a twist.

The rest of the stories are about girls in love, or girls who are friends. There's also one about a girl ghost that hangs out near a flower garden at a school.

I kind of liked the ramen stories. They were fun and the creator put in a couple funny paragraphs after each chapter to talk about things like why he didn't show any of the characters actually eating ramen, and other things. The rest of the stories just didn't appeal to me. I realize I'm not the audience for these, but I gave it a shot.

I received a review copy of this manga from Diamond Book Distributors, Gen Manga Entertainment, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this manga.


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Cottonmouth and the River

Cottonmouth and the River
author: C.S. Fritz
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.08
book published: 2014
rating: 3
read at: 2015/04/24
date added: 2015/04/24
shelves: children-s
review:
'Cottonmouth and the River' is the first book in a series. It's for kids and it's got some great pictures. I liked it okay, but maybe not as much as some.

Freddie Cottonmouth likes hanging out by the river near his house. It brings him peace. It also brings him a strange egg one day. When the egg shows up, so does a strange furry creature named Tug who becomes Freddie's friend. He tells Freddie that the only rule for the egg is that Freddie can't eat it. Tug and Freddie do all kinds of fun things, but Freddie really misses his parents and wants them back. Tug says he can't do it, but when Tug is gone, a little rodent named Menson tells Freddy he can have whatever he wants as long as he swallows the egg. Will Freddy listen to his friend Tug or will what he wants make him listen to sneaky Menson.

It's an allegory to the Creation story in Genesis. I get that, and up to a point, I liked the story, but the ending was strange. I found it weird that Freddie is managing to live in a big house with peeling wallpaper all by himself. Tug is kind of strange, but Menson seems a bit scary. I've got a couple more of these to read, so I'll see how this develops. The art is good, and it's probably best as a story for school age kids because I think it's a bit too long to hold younger kids attention.

I received a review copy of this ebook from David C. Cook and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

John Sinclair - Episode 1: Curse of the Undead (John Sinclair: A Horror Series)

John Sinclair - Episode 1: Curse of the Undead (John Sinclair: A Horror Series)
author: Gabriel Conroy
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.00
book published: 2015
rating: 4
read at: 2015/04/23
date added: 2015/04/23
shelves:
review:
'John Sinclair - Episode 1: Curse of the Undead' by Gabriel Conroy is the first in a reboot of the original British series from the 1970s. It's a short read, but an exciting one.

Chief Inspector John Sinclair works for the Special Division at Scotland Yard. When a mysterious case in a small Scottish town happens, John is sent to investigate. It seems that the dead are coming back to life and attacking people. What John finds is even more gruesome as a town falls more and more victim to this strange occurrence. John is puzzled and disbelieving, but not for long. The story leads up to a nail-biting climax.

I liked John Sinclair. He's all suave and somewhat sophisticated, but he seems to be out of his depth. The real hero of this book seems to be Captain Jeremiah Green and his group of soldiers coming in to mop up and kick butt. Maybe in later books Sinclair will be a bit more competent. Still, for a serial type book series, I've certainly read worse and now I'm curious about that original series. I bet it's full of b-movie cheesiness too.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Bastei Entertainment and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook and introducing me to John Sinclair.


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Angry Birds Comics, Vol 2: When Pigs Fly

Angry Birds Comics, Vol 2: When Pigs Fly
author: Paul Tobin (Author), Janne Toriseva (Author), Fran├žois Corteggiani (Author), Pascal Oost (Author),
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.00
book published:
rating: 3
read at: 2015/04/23
date added: 2015/04/23
shelves: graphic-novels, children-s
review:
The Angry Birds are back for more fun in 'Angry Birds Comics, Vol. 2: When Pigs Fly.' It's about as fun as the first one, and definitely good for younger readers who are fans of the game.

This time around, there are mysterious green eggs, pigs on stilts, and of course, the titles flying pigs. The birds try out alternate nest materials (like stone or water) with some dismal results. There are weird shells, strange berry juice, and a broken sling shot. The pigs try to steal the eggs, and the birds always manage to stay one step ahead of them.

It's cartoony violence like the game is. The pigs are pretty dim, and the birds are pretty silly. It's got a slapstick style found in cartoons, and the colors are bright. Once again, the bottom of the pages seem to have some sort of flip cartoon, but since I'm reviewing a digital copy, I can't make the pages flip fast enough. If you're buying a copy for kids, they might have more fun with a paper version so they can flip the pages and watch the birds fly into the pigs.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, IDW Publishing, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this fun graphic novel.


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wayward, Vol. 1: String Theory

Wayward, Vol. 1: String Theory
author: Jim Zub
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.68
book published: 2015
rating: 5
read at: 2015/04/22
date added: 2015/04/22
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Wayward, Vol. 1: String Theory' has a cool story by Jim Zub and great art by Steve Cummings. The story takes place in Tokyo, and in a forward by Zack Davisson, we learn that this Japan feels more like the one people live in (minus the yokai) rather than the fantastical "Japan as Decoration." I've never been to Japan, but the book's location has a different feel to it.

Rori Lane is moving to Japan to live with her mom. She's leaving Ireland and her father behind, and hoping for a new life in Japan. Before long, she starts something unusual happening with her. She also seems like a magnet for other young people with interesting powers. They keep getting attacked by yokai in the form of people. There are kappas and kitsune among others. Can this group of friends band together and figure out how to fight off this new evil?

We don't find out in this volume because the story doesn't finish here, but it's still well worth checking out.

I liked the characters and the concept. The art is amazing, as are the colors. The powers are interesting, and I want to read more. That's always a good sign. If you want something similar, and yet very different in your graphic novel, this is a good twist on a superhero novel.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this first volume in a great new series.


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The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age
author: Reid Hoffman
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.70
book published: 2014
rating: 4
read at: 2015/04/22
date added: 2015/04/22
shelves: non-fiction-business
review:
'The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age' by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh is a fresh look at what it looks like to be employed in the 21st century, where there is no guaranteed employment and employees want to act like free agents. What is a company to do?

The book creates a framework for employment in this age by looking at how some companies are doing this, primarily, LinkedIn. Discussed are tours of duty, where an employee and company decide on frameworks that hopefully lead to longer term alliances. Companies are to encourage employees to mine their social networks for the companies behalf. The book finishes by talking about those employees who do move on and how the company could include them in an alumni network.

It's an interesting, collaborative approach to an employee/employer relationship. I think these ideas would probably work better for larger organizations, but I'll still probably recommend it to my companies' HR department. This was an interesting book and I'm glad I got a chance to read it.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Harvard Business Review Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read such a fascinating ebook.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope

Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope
author: Rick Remender
name: Wayne
average rating: 4.06
book published: 2015
rating: 5
read at: 2015/04/21
date added: 2015/04/21
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope' further establishes Rick Remender as a great comic book writer (heck, writer period.). Greg Tocchini's art is also just amazing in this book as well.

The sun is going to die someday and so will our earth. That's a pretty depressing thought even though it's a long way off. In 'Low,' it's not that far off. The sun is irradiating the Earth to the point where humans can't live on the surface anymore. Humans live in underwater cities and wait for space probes to return with news of an inhabitable planet. News that seems like it will never come. Most inhabitants have decided to live out their days in hedonism. As air dwindles, hope seems to dwindle for everyone except Stel Craine. And this is just the set up. From here, we see Stel get continually kicked and pummeled by life. Still she persists in hoping, even when everything seems to be taken from her.

Rick Rememnder likes abusing his characters, but in Stel, I think he's created someone worthy of taking it. The art by Tocchini is gorgeous and tends toward impressionistic rather than realistic, but the colors and lines lift an otherwise really bleak story. My only complaint is that the women tend to spend much of there time on the page in scanty, revealing clothing, or nothing. I think Stel deserves more dignity than this. Regardless, it's an impactful work. It is bleak and depressing, but throughout it the light of hope shines.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review such a great graphic novel.


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Monday, April 20, 2015

Bob's Burgers

Bob's Burgers
author: Chad Brewster
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.76
book published: 2015
rating: 2
read at: 2015/04/20
date added: 2015/04/20
shelves: graphic-novels
review:
'Bob's Burgers Volume 1' collects five issues of the comic book series. I don't watch the show it's based on, so take my review as one not as familiar with the show.

Each issue has a section devoted to one of the characters from the show. Tina gets a section called Erotic Friend Fiction, which has stories about horses or frankenstein (or, in this case, franken-butt). None of them are remotely erotic, but seem to be focused on the rear of a boy that Tina likes. Louise's section is based on unsolved mysteries, like a giant fort out of cardboard boxes or Louis becoming invisible. Gene Belcher gets a section devoted to musicals where everything is supposed to rhyme, but doesn't really. The parents get a bit shorted. Linda is left with a letter that she writes to promote a product or idea that she has, and Bob is left with a page of burger of the day ideas.

The Unsolved Mysteries section worked the best for me. The rest range from occasionally funny to not funny at all. The art was not bad, and the covers were actually pretty great. There's even a cover gallery at the end with alternate art. But good covers don't make for good comics, and that seems to be the case here.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Dynamite Entertainment, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.



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Lucky Alan and Other Stories

Lucky Alan and Other Stories
author: Jonathan Lethem
name: Wayne
average rating: 3.11
book published: 2015
rating: 5
read at: 2015/04/20
date added: 2015/04/20
shelves:
review:
'Lucky Alan' by Jonathan Lethem is a collection of nine short stories. I've read a few books by Lethem and this collection is a winner.

His style ranges from realistic to a sort of magical realism. A man weaning himself off anti-depressants takes his family to Sea World. Another man writes critiques of porn, then feels awkward bringing guest over to his house with it's piles of video tapes. A family buys a house and leaves one room empty, but why? A group of back page cartoon characters find themselves marooned on a desert island. A couple go looking for an author famous for his sentences.

There isn't a bad story in this short collection. The strange can inhabit our lives at any time, and Lethem seems to understand this. Even better, he can articulate it with the most amazing prose.

I was given a review copy of this ebook by Doubleday Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this great ebook.


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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Poems about Cats

Poems about Cats

author: Yasmine Surovec

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.07

book published: 2015

rating: 3

read at: 2015/04/19

date added: 2015/04/19

shelves:

review:

'Poems about Cats' is a collection of, well, poems about cats. It's illustrated by Yasmine Surovec, the creator or Cat vs Human, and the drawings are really cute.



There are a wide range of poems here from Ancient Egypt to nursery rhymes. There are works by William Blake, and Yeats and Shakespeare and Dickinson to name just a few. Edward Lear Curiously omitted is work by t.s. eliot, but perhaps that is cat ground already well trodden. There are illustrations for every poem, although in ebook form, these are sometimes cut off on a two page format.



At 98 pages, it feels a bit light, but the illustrations are lovely. If you need a small gift book for a cat fancier, I suppose you could do worse than a volume of poems about cats with lovely illustrations.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.





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Godzilla: Cataclysm

Godzilla: Cataclysm

author: Cullen Bunn

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.54

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/19

date added: 2015/04/19

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Godzilla: Cataclysm' combines giant monsters with an story about the tragedies of the past. The art by Dave Wachter is reason enough to pick this up, but Cullen Bunn's story is not bad either.



The problem with Godzilla stories and movies, is they often seem to be about building suspense until Godzilla shows up, then, at least in comics, there isn't much to do except read sound effects and flip pages. This time around the story takes place in a near future when the kaiju have had their way with the cities and humans live in sheltered camps trying to eke out an existence. One old man, Hiroshi, has nightmares and memories of the past. Before long, his grandson brings back a deadly plant that seems to draw the kaiju, and another deadly battle begins.



I liked the story. Bringing a more personal element into it helped it to be a bit more than a giant monster slug fest. Dave Wachter's art is detailed and really good. The color scheme is a bit muted, but pops into vibrant red when the action heats up. The muted colors help to show the detailed line work in the art. This was a better than average Godzilla story, and I'm glad I got to read it.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, IDW Publishing, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Samurai Jack, Vol. 3: Quest for the Broken Blade

Samurai Jack, Vol. 3: Quest for the Broken Blade

author: Jim Zub

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.94

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/18

date added: 2015/04/18

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Samurai Jack Volume 3: Quest For The Broken Blade' is a fun read. I'm not as familiar with the tv show as I should be. I need to fix that if these books are any indication. I read volume 1 in this series, but missed volume 2. Fortunately, volume 3 doesn't make me feel like I was lost.



The book starts with Jack visiting Soule the Seer, and battling his giant scorpions. After being invited on a quest (and offered some scorpion jerky), Jack finds himself carrying the elder Soule on his back. Through a series of events, Jack's sword is broken. This causes bad guy Aku to go into fits of glee as he finds that he may be able to finally defeat Jack. Jack goes on the run with a price on his head and seemingly no place to hide. Along the way, he does some soul searching and grieving about losing this fabulous sword, which is about the only thing capable of defeating Aku. Can Jack find the strength to not only survive, but to possibly defeat Aku for the final time?



Art by Andy Suriano and Ethen Beavers is a sort of sketchy style of art pen. It gives the motion a sort of animated feel, and is very close to what I know from the animated series. Colors by Josh Burcham pop off the page with a nice vividness, and Jim Zub's script tells a great story about loss and inner drive. I like this series, and now I really need to find that animated series.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, IDW Publishing, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 9: The Q Gambit

Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 9: The Q Gambit

author: Mike Johnson

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.95

book published: 2012

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/18

date added: 2015/04/18

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 9: The Q Gambit' finds classic villain Q visiting the new crew of the Enterprise among others. It's a pretty classic Q sort of story.



We start with Q visiting/pestering Jean Luc Picard as Jean Luc is trying to enjoy a hot cup of tea. This story takes place just prior to the events in the Star Trek reboot movie. Spock has led the Romulans away, and supposedly died as far as Jean Luc knows. This leads Q into an alternate timeline where he meets up with Captain Kirk and challenges his notion that there are indeed no-win situations. He sends the Enterprise across the galaxy to prove this. From here, there are spoilers I'd rather let the reader find out. Of course, only Q has his best interests in mind, and it turns out to be a pretty good story, putting Q in with the new movie cast.



The art by Tony Shasteen is made to look like a animation over live action style, like in the movie 'A Scanner Darkly' or those Schwab commercials from a few years back. The effect works pretty well, but sometimes the character's faces appear a little distorted, and the black lines are a bit thick in places. But it's effective, and fun to read something where the characters seem so recognizable. I like the idea of Q battling wits with Chris Pine's Kirk, and it gets pulled off pretty good here. The additional surprises were a really nice touch and I enjoyed the story quite a bit.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, IDW Publishing, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

author: Stacy King

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.64

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/18

date added: 2015/04/18

shelves: graphic-novels, classics

review:

'Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter' continues to prove my theory that English teachers should tremble in fear that students will find these books.



It's the classic story told manga style. Unlike the previous two I've reviewed, I'm less familiar with this book. Hester Prynne lives in a Puritan community and is forced to wear an A for the adulterous sin which resulted in a daughter named Pearl. No matter how much Hester is harangued and harassed by her community, she refuses to give up the name of the man she sinned with. She also refuses to move away, and shows the kind of compassion to the people around her that they refuse to show. Her husband, feared lost at sea, makes an appearance and is determined to out the man who is as guilty as Hester. We learn who that is, and perhaps it's a bit too obvious in the manga version.



At a little over 300 pages, there is a lot of ground and years covered. Most stunning is the gorgeous art by SunNeko Lee. Even though the book is black and white, the illustrations are pretty stunning. The embroidery that Hester does and some of the outdoor scenes of woods and seashore and particular favorites. It seems to be a well told version of the story, and I enjoyed the chance to read it.



I was given a review copy of this manga by Diamond Book Distributors, Udon Entertainment, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this very fine manga.





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Oddly Normal (Oddly Normal, #1)

Oddly Normal (Oddly Normal, #1)

author: Otis Frampton

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.59

book published: 2006

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/18

date added: 2015/04/18

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Oddly Normal' by Otis Frampton is a pretty adorable graphic novel about a girl from two worlds who doesn't really fit into either. And she has a name that is odd, but not normal.



Oddly Normal is a soon to be 10-year old. She has green hair and pointed ears because her father is human and he mother is a witch. This makes her stand out among the kids at school. When her parents (and house) disappear, she is left in the care of her loopy aunt (on her mother's side) who whisks her off to a place called Fignation. Oddly has always been told she can't survive there, but she soon finds it a wondrous place. When her aunt makes her go to school, she finds that she doesn't really fit in here either. Will she and her aunt be able to figure out what happened to her parents (and her house)? We don't find out in this volume, but it's still a fun journey.



This collects the first 5 volumes of the ongoing series, and all the original cover art is collected at the end. The story doesn't finish in this volume, but it's still a good ride. Otis Frampton's storytelling and art are in good form here. It looks like this was a Kickstarter project, so a lot of other folks think this as good as I did.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger (Frank Einstein, #2)

Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger (Frank Einstein, #2)

author: Jon Scieszka

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.86

book published: 2015

rating: 5

read at: 2015/04/16

date added: 2015/04/16

shelves: children-s

review:

'Frank Einstein and the Electro-Finger' proves once again that you can laugh and learn at the same time. Jon Sciezka and Brian Briggs have a genius of a series going on here.



Frank Einstein and his friend Watson are back along with wise-cracking robots Klink and Klank for another science adventure. This time around the subject is energy, and Frank has an idea for creating energy from the air like Nikola Tesla did. Frank's nemesis is back with his smart sidekick Mr. Chimp. Edison wants to get rich by corralling all the power in town so that everyone has to buy power from him at exorbitant prices. Along the way, we run into grandpa Al Einstein and hear from Frank's always travelling parents. Will Frank and Watson be able to foil Edison this time or will he be triumphant?



The book is filled with lots of great drawings and knowledge. Also included is Mr. Chimp's recipe for ants on a log, but I don't recommend trying it. It's a great series, the science is solid and the learning goes down easy without feeling forced. Kudos to the series creators for such a fun series.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Abrams, Amulet Books, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for allowing me to review this great ebook.





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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1

author: Eric Colossal

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.12

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/15

date added: 2015/04/15

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Rutabaga the Adventure Chef' adds a foodie to an adventuring D&D type adventure with pretty funny results.



Rutabaga and his travelling cooking pot, Pot, are in search of exotic ingredients. When a party of adventurers runs across him, he decides to join them with his huge portable kitchen strapped across his back, and his battle cry, "Let's Get Cooking!" they go in search of a dragon, and any exotic ingredients that Rutabaga can find. In the second adventure, Rutabaga gets hired to cook for a king's new pet, a strange lizard-like creature named Norman. In the final adventure, he ends up in a cookoff in a seedy bar against a cook who only cooks up gruel.



It's fun and the strange ingredients and odd recipes only add to the humor. The art is black and white and it's a little on the rough side, but I liked it. It might be a bit on the violent side for younger readers (one character is beheaded), but it's a good concept and I enjoyed meeting Rutabaga and Pot and I hope they have more adventures.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Abrams, Amulet Books, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Big Nate: Say Good-bye to Dork City

Big Nate: Say Good-bye to Dork City

author: Lincoln Peirce

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.17

book published: 2015

rating: 5

read at: 2015/04/15

date added: 2015/04/15

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Big Nate: Say Good-bye to Dork City' is a big full-color, full-of-fun collection that's great for younger readers and people who like to laugh.



This time around, Nate finds himself in the cool kid's posse, but he might not survive it. He tries to convince his dad to buy the big school photo package so he has lots of wallet-size pictures to give the girls. He survives a Halloween where his dad wants to give out healthy treats. He writes haikus about Brazil nuts, and convinces his friends to join him in detention. His nemesis Mrs. Godfrey becomes principal for a week. These are just a few of the adventures and misadventures Nate finds himself in this time around.



Lincoln Peirce writes a great comic strip. I've read a couple of these collections, and they're just a lot of fun. If you've got a kid who doesn't like to read, you might try handing them some Big Nate and see what happens.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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The Here and Now

The Here and Now

author: Ann Brashares

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.27

book published: 2014

rating: 3

read at: 2015/04/15

date added: 2015/04/15

shelves: young-adult

review:

'The Here and Now' is a book about time travellers from the future. Books like this sometimes work and sometimes don't. This one falls into the sometimes don't category, but it's not for lack of trying.



The first time Prenna James meets Ethan Jarves, she doesn't remember, but he does. She is newly arrived from the future and a bit disoriented. When they meet again in high school, there is something about him that seems familiar, but she's not supposed to get too close to him because it's against the rules. That's a clue that she's probably going to break that rule by the end of the book.



Prenna's future is one with a bad plague and lots of death, so the rules make sense, but there are things that don't. Why bring school age kids back if they're only going to do teenager type things? In spite of what seem to be rigid control freaks, how is Prenna able to get free so easily? There are other things, but it'll just make me sound nitpicky. Prenna is a strong heroine. Ethan may be about the most hormonally normal teenage boy I've read in books. I liked the premise, but the execution left me wanting something when it was all done.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Random House Children's, Delacorte Press, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.





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Monday, April 13, 2015

Birthright Vol. 1: Homecoming (Birthright, #1)

Birthright Vol. 1: Homecoming (Birthright, #1)

author: Joshua Williamson

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.84

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/13

date added: 2015/04/13

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Birthright' takes a family tragedy and adds a bizarre fantasy twist to it. The art is gorgeous, and it's a great setup for this ongoing series.



The book starts on a beautiful fall day. Mikey and his dad are playing catch while Mikey's mom and brother are busy getting his birthday party together. When little Mike disappears into the woods, the family is set on a course of self-destruction. Mike's dad Aaron soon finds himself the prime suspect in the disappearance. The marriage breaks up and Aaron heads toward despair with only his remaining son, Brennan, to care for him.



Until one day the police call with a strange break in the case. A grown man is in interrogation, and he knows about Mike. He knows quite a lot about him as it turns out because it might be him. Back from a land where time flows differently with a lot of strange weapons and stories to tell. Before long, Brennan, Aaron and this stranger are on the run searching for some folks who may be wizards in hiding that need to be destroyed. Mike learned to be a warrior and sent on a quest to kill the evil in the land he found himself in. But is he telling the truth? Is his mission for good or for evil?



It's a unique twist on a fantasy plot, the child who disappears, and has a fantastic adventure and returns home a child. Except in this case, the adventure doesn't look that wonderful and the child doesn't retain his childhood. The plot and art by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan are good. The color is striking in this book and I look forward to reading further adventures in this series.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Madame Frankenstein

Madame Frankenstein

author: Jamie S. Rich

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.59

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/13

date added: 2015/04/13

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Madame Frankenstein' riffs on a familiar tale, adds some pretty great art, and combines to make a pretty good tale.



Vincent Krull is a washed up student. He wants revenge on his rival Henry who got him kicked out of school. Henry's recent gorgeous date, Courtney Bow, has ended up dead, and Vincent's plan is to bring her back to life and make her fall in love with Vincent. He's found all the parts he needs and with his lab assistant Irene, they achieve the impossible. Courtney's first days as a reanimated being are filled with learning. Vincent is determined to raise a good little subservient woman. His plans seem to be going well until he falls for a woman in a burlesque show. Meanwhile, Henry is on Vincent's trail and threatens to expose what he's done. Will Clara be jealous? Will Henry discover the macabre crime? Will Vincent's ego get the better of him?



Of course it will! Vincent is the classic egotistical scientist. We never find out why his assistant Irene puts up with him. Poor Courtney is the hapless, jilted creature. It's all written very well, like the best B-movie, and Megan Levens illustrations are ghoulishly wonderful. Joelle Jones does a great job on the covers. It was all a fun read, and I enjoyed it.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Galaxy Game

The Galaxy Game

author: Karen Lord

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.06

book published: 2015

rating: 3

read at: 2015/04/12

date added: 2015/04/12

shelves:

review:

'The Galaxy Game' by Karen Lord is a follow up set in the same universe as her novel 'The Best Of All Possible Worlds.' I liked that other novel a bit more than this one and found this one a bit confusing to get in to.



The main character this time around is Rafi Delarua who has psionic powers. He is being watched by his planet's government, so he escapes to the planet Punartam. Which is lucky because they have his favorite sport there, wallrunning. He soon learns that this society has weird rules of negotiation and gifts may not be without strings. He finds a patron of sorts to help him in his wallrunning career, and before too long there is a sudden shift in the story as a conflict between planets changes the direction of the story.



I like the way Karen Lord writes characters, and I remember really liking 'The Best of All Possible Worlds,' but this time around, I struggled. It seemed like there were multiple story directions that happened and none were fully dealt with. Also, in the middle of chapters, there would be a section of first person narrative suddenly, and it took me a while to figure out what that was about. I felt like I wanted to like it more, but I had a hard time hooking in to the story. It felt a bit too vague for me. It's an interesting universe, but I couldn't figure out what kind of book it wanted to be. It felt YA at times, but then there was the planetary conflict, and also the overtones of the loss of the planet Sadiri. I liked it, but not as much as I was hoping to.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.





via Wayne's bookshelf: read http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1055660415?utm_medium=api&utm_source=rss

Copperhead, Vol. 1: A New Sheriff in Town

Copperhead, Vol. 1: A New Sheriff in Town

author: Jay Faerber

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.90

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/12

date added: 2015/04/12

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Copperhead' is a cross between a police procedural, a Western, and SF. I think it works great and sets things up for a great series.



Clara Benson is the new sheriff ("two f's!") in Copperhead. She's a single mom with a young son, and arriving here for an unknown reason. Her deputy, Budroxifinicus (or Boo for short), is one of the resident aliens, and also the runner up for Clara's job. That means there's a bit of a relationship to be built there. Before that can happen, the action starts. There's a domestic abuse call, followed by a mass murder. Also Clara's son goes missing looking for the neighbor's dog. Add in a diverse alien population, a bunch of aritifical intelligent robot killing machines, and a greedy mine owner, and the cast is set for what turns out to be a good spin on a somewhat routine plot line.



The main storyline seems to be more of a vehicle to set up the series from here, but I love the characters and the unexpected humor. There was a comic book series I loved called Alien Legion, and this reminds me a bit of that in all the best ways. Jay Faerber has written a good character story here and art by Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley do it justice. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





via Wayne's bookshelf: read http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1220430537?utm_medium=api&utm_source=rss

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service

Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service

author: Chip R. Bell

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.22

book published: 2015

rating: 5

read at: 2015/04/08

date added: 2015/04/08

shelves: non-fiction-business

review:

'Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service' by Chip R. Bell, is a short read, but it's still packs an inspiring punch in it's brief page count.



The whole thing is laid out like a menu. Instead of an introduction, we get a special welcome, then we get invited to the appetizer course followed by dessert. The gist of the book is how to plus service by going above and beyond. Sprinkles make ice cream and cupcakes even better, so what can you do to enhance a customer experience? And they aren't necessarily bank-breaking ideas. They are things that make your brand or company come to your customer's mind as a fond memory or good experience.



It's all so out of the box and appealed so much to my creativity, that I immediately found myself shifting the way I was thinking about how I give service to my internal customers. I'm still working out the best way to add 'sprinkles,' but it's sparked my thinking in fresh ways. Not a bad thing to say about a quick read like this.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Greenleaf Book Group and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.





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Enon

Enon

author: Paul Harding

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.36

book published: 2012

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/08

date added: 2015/04/08

shelves:

review:

'Enon' by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Harding, is a heartbreaking work. The story mainly takes place internally, but it's still a pretty great read, even if you want to scream and shout at the main character.



Charlie Crosby suffers the worst possible kind of grief at the beginning of this novel, the loss of a child. When he commits an act of violence, things just spiral further and further down. Charlie finds himself addicted, living in squalor and committing more violence in the town he has called home for his whole life. Can he break this cycle and resurface?



The time in the book shifts around like memory does in our minds. Rarely do we think linear, and neither does Charlie. He goes from memories of his grandfather, to trying to score more drugs, then to his last day with his child, and back around again. The book takes place over a year, but Charlie is so lost in himself and his actions that it's mostly lost to him and to us.



I liked the writing and while I had a hard time sympathizing with Charlie at certain points, it was still an interesting character journey.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.







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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gronk Volume 2

Gronk Volume 2

author: Katie Cook

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.75

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/05

date added: 2015/04/05

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Gronk volume 2' by Katie Cook collects another year in the life of the world's most unscary monster and her life with human Dale, dog Harli, and cat Kitty.



Gronk tries to get Dale to give her an iPad. There are more movie references. Gronk discovers online ordering, indoor jousting and how to get a reaction using certain bad words. Gronk tries to trap Santa and extort more candy for Halloween. Gronk gets in trouble for writing on the walls, and getting a Twitter account. Through all of it, Gronk remains as adorable as ever.



The volume ends with more tribute art by other artists. Katie's cartoons are wonderful. I love all the geek and pop culture references. I love Gronk and all her mischievous adventures. This is a fun series.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Action Lab Entertainment, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Criminal, Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying

Criminal, Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying

author: Ed Brubaker

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.19

book published: 2008

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/05

date added: 2015/04/05

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Criminal Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying' is the third reprinted volume in the Harvey and Eisner award winning series. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are two of my favorite comic creators these days and this glimpse at their previous work shows why.



There are three separate stories in this volume, but they all interconnect. They involve a crime family, a woman who gets involved with them, and a Vietnam vet who needs money and goes to extreme measures to get it. The stories weave back and forth across the events and the reader gets differing perspectives on the story being told.



The stories are full of violence and it's consequences. The characters are sympathetic through their circumstances and failings. The art and writing are gritty and compelling.





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Coffee Gives Me Superpowers: An Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth

Coffee Gives Me Superpowers: An Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth

author: Ryoko Iwata

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.79

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/05

date added: 2015/04/05

shelves:

review:

'Coffee Gives Me Superpowers' by Ryoko Iwata is indeed (as the the subtitle says) 'and Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth.' For those of us in love, or enslaved, to the drink, this book is an exuberant love story.



In a series of humorous and informative graphics you'll learn whether you should put coffee in your face right now, or when the best time to drink coffee is. There are graphics showing which state has the most Starbucks and coffee myths and facts. There are humorous things about the 6 worst types of coffee drinkers or what your favorite coffee says about your personality. It finishes with a poem by Ryoko Iwata called 'If Coffee Were My Boyfriend' which is illustrated by The Oatmeal.



Iwata's style is so enthusiastic that you can't help but smile. The material is also out on her website at http://ift.tt/16PXSN2 It's a light read that would be a perfect gift book for that caffeine junkie in your life, and at a price under ten bucks, it costs only a little more than their favorite coffee beverage.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this fun ebook.





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Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3)

Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3)

author: Jeff VanderMeer

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.67

book published: 2014

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/05

date added: 2015/04/05

shelves:

review:

'Acceptance' by Jeff VanderMeer is the final volume in the Southern Reach trilogy. While we get more hints of what is going on, the book still left me scratching my head.



The book starts shortly after events in 'Authority.' Control is on the hunt for the subject known as Ghost Bird, and Area X appears to be spreading. We also go back in time and learn about Saul, the lighthouse keeper. We find out about the Science and Seance brigade that first began investigating Area X, and we learn who the people in the photograph with Saul are. We also reacquaint ourselves with the psychologist from the first book.



In a narrative that shifts from first to second to third person, depending on the story being told, the reader is pulled deeper into the mystery. Each book is so short, that I wondered about the choice to split the story up into three distinct book, but I think this gives a decided pause between segments. One that I needed just to stop and think about what I'd actually read.



While I don't think the third volume is as compelling as the third one, I still enjoyed it, and I am glad that I found my way to Area X.





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Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy

Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy

author: Shaker Paleja

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.00

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/05

date added: 2015/04/05

shelves: children-s

review:

'Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy' by Shaker Paleja and Glenda Tse is a series of infographics for younger readers to help them learn about energy. Through it's use of colorful graphics it paints a mostly nonbiased picture of where we are currently with the way we use energy.



Starting with a basic explanation of energy, it shows how different types of energy go into turning a banana into fuel for our body. Then it moves into the heart of the book showing the different types of energy we use for transportation and our homes and daily lives. Explored are renewable and non-renewable energy along with how electricity is generated throughout North America. There is a timeline showing how we got where we are, and each energy type is shown with pros and cons. The book concludes with a brief glossary, a bibliography and an index.



It's brightly illustrated and very accessible. I think young readers would enjoy reading this. While the facts are a bit dire, the book is by no means frightening. Rather, it seems to be a call to action for a younger generation. I enjoyed the opportunity to read this book.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Annick Press Ltd. and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.







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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Star Slammers: The Complete Collection

Star Slammers: The Complete Collection

author: Walter Simonson

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.00

book published: 1983

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/04

date added: 2015/04/04

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Star Slammers: The Complete Collection' is exactly as advertised. This is a series that Walter Simonson created before some of his more famous works, like his legendary run on The Mighty Thor.



The Star Slammers are a bunch of amazing warriors who take on mercenary jobs for huge pay. They are the very best fighters and there are a whole planet full of them. The problem is that the planet, which has been secret, has become known to a group of hunters now and the the Star Slammers are in danger. But they've got some secret weapons like the Silver Mind which they can use to link themselves together to become even stronger. We learn some of the backstories of some of the main Star Slammers featured in this story arc. We also learn there are probably more stories that could be told in this universe.



The series began life as a black and white ashcan from the early 1970s, which is not included in this collection. What you do get is the Marvel graphic novel from the 1980s and the miniseries that Walt did in the mid-90s. It's a lot of material. And the art is very much what we expect from Mr. Simonson. It's great stuff. The story is very cosmic, so if you like Guardians of the Galaxy, this is right up your alley. There have been hints of more stories in this series coming, so stay tuned.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, IDW Publishing, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Friday, April 3, 2015

Cimarronin: Fall of the Cross #1

Cimarronin: Fall of the Cross #1

author: Neal Stephenson

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.54

book published: 2015

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/03

date added: 2015/04/03

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'Cimarronin: Fall of the Cross #1' is part of a continuing series. I received a review copy of this issue only, but I liked what I read and would like to read more.



The series is about an exiled samurai in New Spain and his companion who is an ex-Jesuit priest. This book starts with the capture and branding of slaves. One slave can speak Portuguese, so he becomes the translator for his captors. He also plans an uprising. While this is happening, the samurai has his own fight going on. It kind of jumps around a bit, and with only a length of 25 pages, it's over before it's begun.



It's written by a host of authors, including Neal Stephenson, and while the story jumps around, it's an interesting premise. The art by Dean Kotz can be a bit confusing at times. There are lots of characters and many of them kind of blur together. Yet, I still liked the art style. 25 pages isn't much to base a review on, but I found some interesting threads of story here.



I received a review copy of this comic book issue from Jet City Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this comic book issue.





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The Adventures of Basil and Moebius

The Adventures of Basil and Moebius

author: Larry Hama

name: Wayne

average rating: 3.08

book published: 2015

rating: 2

read at: 2015/04/03

date added: 2015/04/03

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'The Adventures of Basil and Moebius' is a collection of three adventures of a pair of ne'er do well thieves. The art kind of threw me off as well as the over attempt at making the characters seem authentically British.



The first story tells how Basil and Moebius meet. Basil's a former soldier who is now one of the Queen's Guard. Moebius is an Oxford scholar with a sharp sword and a sharper sword. When they meet, they instantly dislike each other, so you know it's the beginning of a strange friendship. Before long they find themselves in the employ of a mysterious and threatening man. There is also a fair amount of chasing after girls, chasing after treasure, and staying one step ahead of the law.



It's a formula that should work, but it had it's flaws. First off is an art style that was inconsistent and sometimes not that good. Secondly, the overuse of every British slang phrase just made the characters feel like parodies of British characters written by someone outside the culture. Finally, I just didn't like these two. I wanted them to be loveable rogues, and at times they came close, but they came across more as slimy and unlikeable. It's a pity.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.





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Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Goblin Emperor

The Goblin Emperor

author: Katherine Addison

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.10

book published: 2014

rating: 5

read at: 2015/04/02

date added: 2015/04/02

shelves:

review:

Sometimes you read a book that you probably normally might not have, and you find yourself absolutely loving it. That was my experience with 'The Goblin Emperor' by Katherine Addison.



So the premise is court intrigue, and the hero is a half goblin, half elf. That and the almost 400 pages (inluding glossary of hard to pronounce names) kind of had me adding it to the 'read in the distant future' pile. It was the March pick for my book club, so I decided to give it a shot, and I'm so very glad I did.



Maia is a largely forgotten half goblin living a life far from court, when he gets the news that his father and brothers have died in a steamship accident. This leaves Maia the new emperor. With no training, and no real love for his father or family, Maia is bound to make mistakes along the way according to court traditions. It is through these blunders that we see Maia's tru character come through. Whether it's showing compassion for the other victims that died in his father's airship, or dealing with his new staff, Maia is full of grace and warmth. He won me over.



The airship accident was no accident, and the throne Maia finds himself on is apparently a very large target. Can he find his way? Can he trust his staff? Can he find a friend?



It's not the fastest moving story. The names are a bit tricky to get through, but they never feel gimicky, and eventually they made a bit of sense to me. The main character is so likeable, that I ended up loving the book. The last paragraphs felt entirely satisfying to this story.





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Infinite Science Fiction One

Infinite Science Fiction One

author: Dany G. Zuwen

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.19

book published: 2014

rating: 4

read at: 2015/04/02

date added: 2015/04/02

shelves:

review:

'Infinite Science Fiction One' is a pretty good collection of sf stories. I rather liked all of them, but I had favorites by the end.



There are themes of robots, like a conman trying to pass a real child off to a family as a robot child, or the man who loathes robots and the reasons that he does. A captured shapeshifting alien gets a chance at escape. A time-traveler finds romance in catastrophe. An expedition tries to find out about a missing colony and finds terrifying results. A lonely rover sends out a message without answer. A sentient shipwreck guards its precious cargo until it can be recovered.



I really liked the stories in this collection. They are all interesting and unique. I liked the takes on stories about a child pretending to be a perfect robot child. I especially like the final story about a dying smartship protecting it's cargo with the help of a onboard robot. Every story has a short bio about the author. I don't know that I was familiar with any of the authors, but I still enjoyed the selection in this anthology.



I received a review copy of this ebook from Infinite Acacia and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.





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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Fade Out, Vol. 1

The Fade Out, Vol. 1

author: Ed Brubaker

name: Wayne

average rating: 4.18

book published: 2015

rating: 5

read at: 2015/04/01

date added: 2015/04/01

shelves: graphic-novels

review:

'The Fade Out Volume 1' is a brilliant start to a new series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It's set in the golden age of Hollywood and it hits all the right notes to make it pretty close to perfect.



Charlie Parish is a screenwriter trying to forget the war by drinking it out of his system. The book opens with him lying in a bathtub with no memory of the night before and a corpse in the next room. The corpse is the leading lady of another picture on his lot. Charlie decides to try to figure out what happened, but whoever did it doesn't want to be found out as Charlie is about to find out. Add in Charlie's drunk, blacklisted friend Gil, and Dottie, the studio assistant that has a crush that everyone but Charlie can see, and you've got a story full of interesting characters and a dark, brooding mystery about to boil over.



It doesn't complete in this volume, but it's still worth the ride. Ed Brubaker writes great stories, and this is no exception. There is a rather large cast of characters, but it's handled well. This is not your clean, friendly Hollywood, but a dark, dangerous one and Sean Phillips art and the colors used give the book a gritty look that I really liked.



I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this gritty graphic novel.





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Thinkers 50 Strategy: What Every Executive Needs to Know to Chart the Future of Their Business

Thinkers 50 Strategy: What Every Executive Needs to Know to Chart the Future of Their Business

author: Stuart Crainer

name: Wayne

average rating: 2.50

book published: 2013

rating: 2

read at: 2015/04/01

date added: 2015/04/01

shelves: non-fiction-business

review:

'Thinkers 50 Strategy: The Art and Science of Strategy Creation and Execution' is a brief overview of the state of corporate strategy. If you are looking for something more in depth, you should look elsewhere. If you are looking for a launching point for ideas, you could do worse than this book.



The book begins, like the others in the series, with an historical overview, bringing us to the present. Of interest is how few employees seem to understand what their companies strategy really is. Other topics include understanding competitive strategy, value chains, strategic innovation, and strategy on an international level.



It's a pretty quick flyover, and will only give you broad concepts. As a brief history of business strategy, it seems to cover a lot of the milestones of the last 50 years, but won't help anyone formulate a corporate strategy. Having been in the work world for as long as I have, I've recognized some of these different movements from companies I've worked for. I think we live in a time where strategy seems to be communicated more to the workforce, and this can only serve to help companies reach goals. This is the third book in the Thinkers 50 series that I've read, and was perhaps my least favorite.



I received a review copy of this ebook from McGraw-Hill Professional and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.





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