Sunday, August 28, 2011

[Review] Hitman Vol. 4: The Ace of Killers

Hitman, Vol. 4: The Ace of Killers
Hitman, Vol. 4: The Ace of Killers by Garth Ennis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about these comics? They have been consistently good from the start. You can tell that Ennis cared so much for these characters. They feel like people you could have in your life—if you overlook the fantastic elements that these books incorporate. Cut me some slack. They do still live in Gotham City. The stories are great, but the characters really make these books for me. They feel so true. They’re so well fleshed out and written with such dedication and obvious love.

I think this one is probably one of my favorites in the series because Deb and Tommy finally go somewhere with their relationship. And I really like how it was Tommy who set aside the gloves and said that one of them had to stop pretending instead of turning Deb into a quivering female mess and making her fall over into Tommy’s arms. Deb is such a great character, showing time and time again that she can hang with Tommy without him having to worry about protecting a dizzy female.

I also liked seeing “Section 8” (a bootleg version of the Justice League) in action again. They’re repulsive and wrong on so many levels, but so much fun to have in the series. Catwoman was also in this particular arc helping out the gang, and the men acted how I’d expect men to react to her if she were a real person.

Overall, I am still loving these books, and it really does make me sad to know that this is given a definitive ending.

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[Review] Alice in the Country of Hearts, Vol. 1

Alice in the Country of Hearts, Vol. 1
Alice in the Country of Hearts, Vol. 1 by QuinRose

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t even know anymore.

Basically, this is a violent retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Alice Liddell isn’t sure if she’s dreaming or not, but she’s in a strange world where the inhabitants of Wonderland are locked in civil war and just about everyone she meets loves her with a few exceptions. She believes this world is a product of her loneliness. This is a wholly ridiculous story, but I like it for some reason. I think it has everything to do with the characters and how cheerfully violent most of them are.

Favorite character so far is the punked-out Cheshire cat, Boris Airay, who is basically the opposite of a catgirl and dons many piercings and a skirt over his pants. There’s also the gleefully violent Peter White (the White Rabbit) who is a rabbit-boy who is completely obsessed with Alice—whom he kidnapped—and the perpetually pissed off Elliot March (the March Hare). Vivaldi (the Red Queen) was introduced as a woman who refers to herself as “we” and seems very detached from everything even though she is cordial toward Alice.

There’s Ace (Knave of Hearts) who’s directionally challenged and too oblivious to realize that Elliot really is trying to kill him, but he’s an awesome fighter. Elliot and Ace’s interactions are GOLD just because they are total opposites, and Ace seems unable to genuinely not understand that Elliot hates his guts. He seems to sincerely like Elliot much to Elliot's dismay and even went as far as to tell Elliot’s boss—who I am getting to—that he wasn’t offended by Elliot shooting at him.

Blood Dupre (the Mad Hatter and Elliot’s boss) is a boredom disliking Mafia boss who is the thorn in Gowland’s (a gender-swapped Duchess) because he’s told the whole country that Gowland’s first name is “Mary,” which sends Gowland into a rage. There’s the bloody twins Dee and Dum who Elliot also hates because they’re always calling him a “newb” hare and goofing off. And last we have Nightmare Gottschalk (the Caterpillar) and Julius Monrey (an original character, I think, but seems to be a representation of “time”) who seem a bit immune to “loving” Alice and seem to know more about why she’s there but are very cryptic about it.

While this is obviously shojo (manga marketed toward females), it’s ultra-violent which isn’t typical of shojo. I don’t think it is anyway, but I tend to read more shounen than shojo. I can’t say the story is very strong at this point, but it has done a bang up job on reimagining these characters and giving Wonderland a harder, satirical existence. At first I thought I was going to take issue with most people loving Alice, even Vivaldi hints toward loving her, but looking at it as a woman who’s created this world because of her own loneliness and betrayal, it makes sense and works.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[Review] Storm Front

Storm Front
Storm Front by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reread for the G+ book club that a friend put together. I was initially drawn into these books by the television series, which ended well before it should have and before my crush on Paul Blackthorne could reach full fruition. This is a fun series, and I was more than glad to reread it with some other fellow book nerds. When I'd started reading this years ago, it was so rare to see a male lead written in a paranormal series. And in the world of Anita Blakes, Rachel Morgans, and Sookie Stackhouses, it's still somewhat rare to have a male navigating the quirky world of the paranormal, adding a male slant on the familiar victories and defeats that are present in paranormal books.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

[Review] The Stranded

The Stranded
The Stranded by Mike Carey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recommended this series because I recently read Eat the Dead, which is printed by Virgin Comics, as well. Siddharth Kortian wrote and illustrated that book, and his named was attached to this project, too. However, he was only the illustrator here. The story was written by Mike Carey.

Alien refugees are in hiding on Earth. But they have no memory of their former lives or the powers they possess. Now, they’re being hunted and killed. Tamree is the only person from their home who remembers everything, and she has been tasked with keeping the others (called Sleepers) safe. Realizing that she’s not going to be able to save the Sleepers alone, she begins waking them and restoring their memories.

This was a Virgin/SyFy collaboration. If Heroes and X-Men had a baby, this would probably be the result. I’d read that it was supposed to have been made into a television series, and honestly, it’s the perfect story for that format. This television show based on this hasn’t happened yet (as far as I can tell), and this book ends on a cliffhanger, of course. However, I haven’t been able to find a continuation to this, so I’m assuming one wasn’t written which is a shame.

The story moved fast, but was still able to give a glimpse of the characters’ personalities before they became Sleepers. It was a typical sci-fi story. It was a solid story that laid the ground for this series. And I have to applaud them for leaving some things to the imagination (like wondering what Dzin really looked like after she mentioned that it’d turn Tamree’s stomach if she revealed her true form).

While I thought the story was usual of the genre, I liked how they played around with familiar powers giving them something a little different, like having Drum being able to break his shields into shards that can slice and having Cullen’s ability to absorb the powers and feelings of other help to mask him from Janus and Dzin because they’re unable to “read” him.

There were parts of the story that were a little unclear to me and seemed to go against everything that was happening in the book. And the ending wasn’t quite what I expected, but that’s only because it contradicted what happened during most of the story. I could’ve missed something, though. I expected a twist for the ending, but it played out differently than what I’d thought.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I’m highly disappointed that there aren’t more comics. I was looking forward to reading more about different Sleepers and their powers.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

[Review] Eat The Dead

Eat The Dead and Others
Eat The Dead by Siddharth Kotian

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Last night while gaming with friends, I read this during moments in our mission where people were leveling or working on adding enhancements to their character before moving on to our next missions. The story took place in India and played around with the Aghoris. If you're not familiar with them, they're followers of Shiva who believe everything is sacred, everything comes from "God." They're known for their cannibalism. They eat corpses because they believe that keeps them in touch with "God" and that it helps them to transcend their earthly body and keeps them in touch with the universal mind. Other than that, they're vegetarians.

I knew this before I read the book because I have intense interest in theology and the beliefs of people. And it was cool to see it in the comic. I think Kotian did a very good job of explaining the Aghoris. And this book had a great premise surrounded around the Aghoris and the fate of five strangers who (most of them unaware, except one) are trying to "better their karma" by breaking a negative karmic circle that they began together in a former life hundreds of years ago. But because it was a one shot the story suffered greatly. It just wasn't meant to be a one-shot, in my opinion.

The descriptions of the the Aghoris and a creature called the Adrika were well-written. However, you don't get a chance to care about the characters like you ought to, and these were characters you definitely needed to know more about, especially Joel, for this story to be as gripping as it could've been. In other words, it would've benefited from being more than a one-shot. (And that bitter ex-boyfriend hate text that Raj wrote could've been taken out because we got he hated his girlfriend for breaking up with him. Something else could've filled that space... LOL)

Some one-shot horror comics work, but there was too much going on this for me to feel completely satisfied with it. So, even though I said, I give it a 2.5, it's on the lower end of that.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

[Review] The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No matter where you are in your financial journey, this is an excellent book to read. I've been concerned with finances lately, reading books and articles about getting money in tip-top shape because I want to start building a big emergency fund and I want to start saving more for our kids.

While this book is geared toward people who are trying to get from under debt, so many of the tips are simple and would work for any financial situation. He even gave me a few ideas to try when I start teaching my kids how to manage money.

This is not a "get rich quick" scheme. The advice offered in this book takes a gradual approach to getting financially fit. Some of the tips may be a bit aggressive for people who are (honestly) doing well with their finances, but there's still something to be taken from this book even with the best finances.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Tuesday, August 2nd, I was greeted by the internet with sad news.

One of my favorite authors, L.A. Banks, passed away after succumbing to a fight with cancer. She meant a lot to me for so many reasons, but I’ll admit my love for her started when I realize that she was a black author who wrote paranormal books that featured heroines of color.

If you forget about the textbook black romance, fiction written by black authors usually fall into one of two categories. Either you have the thought-provoking, poetic prose about the black experience such as Toni Morrison’s Sula or you have the urban novel with its snappy slang that still follows the black experience.

There’s nothing wrong with either of those genres of writing, but sometimes, it feels like that’s all black writers are limited to, that that’s all people expect from black authors.

As a black woman and avid fan of science-fiction and horror, it’s somewhat disheartening that I don’t find more books in those genres by authors of color--not just black authors, but authors of color... PERIOD. Slowly, there are more authors of color writing in those genres, but it’s still so sparse. And I know some like Octavia Butler have been around ages and are only now getting the recognition they deserve.

I’ve picked up a couple of horror/paranormal anthologies that have done a great job of combining African mythology/black folklore with horror and science fiction. Reading stories like Whispers During Still Moments by Linda Addison or Vamp Noir by Angela C. Allen makes me wonder why authors of color don’t play in these genres more. They add such a fresh spin these stories.

L.A. Banks was probably one of the first black authors that I read in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre. I started reading her Vampire Huntress series when I was pregnant with my son--who’s almost 6 now. And sure her stories are multiracial like all good paranormal books (isn’t that almost a rule by now), but her heroines are always women of color who are intelligent, strong, inspiring characters. 

Sure, the first Vampire Huntress book was only okay to me, but as I continued with the series she really started adding a depth to the characters and their environment that I really could get lost in. She played with old legends and made them her own and introduced me to a character who has come to be one of my top favorite female characters in a book.

I really hope that L.A. Banks inspired other writers of color who might’ve been reluctant to write in these genres. And while her life was cut short, I’m so glad that she had the courage to step out into a genre where she was probably told in the beginning didn’t want her. R.I.P., L.A. Banks.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

[Review] 300

300 by Frank Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Since this was such a short story, this took me about 20 minutes to read. I don't know what everyone complained about with the movie. They pretty much followed this down to the letter, only adding scenes because this was so short.

Honestly, as much as I hate to say this, I liked the movie better because of the added scenes. Not saying that this was bad, but it wasn't the epic that I expecting. Most of the rating comes from the beautiful art and how the story is spun like a fairy-tale.

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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.



PSN: DigitalTempest | XBL: DigitalTempest | Steam: DigitalTempest | Raptr: DigitalTempest

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.

Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

Tiara's bookshelf: read

really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

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