Genre: General

Mini Reviews: Nimona and Seconds

Posted September 23, 2015 by Emily in Review / 2 Comments

Mini Reviews: Nimona and SecondsNimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published by Harper Collins on May 12th 2015
Pages: 272
Source: library
Buy on Amazon

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

I really liked this book. Nimona is a shapeshifter. She’s able to transform herself into any animate creature, like talking sharks! She shows up and convinces Lord Ballister Blackheart to take her on as his sidekick. Ballister is an evil supervillian with an axe to grind against the Institution in general and its top agent, Ambrosius, specifically. Unfortunately, he is also extremely reluctant to actually hurt anyone, much to Nimona’s dismay. Both of them are intent on disrupting the Institution’s plans as much as possible, if in completely separate ways. This book started as an online comic, so it has a special place in my heart.  I loved the spiky, funky art style and the relationship between all the characters; even between the villian, Ballister, and the hero, Ambrosius. Twitter recommended this one to me, and it was definitely a win.

Mini Reviews: Nimona and SecondsSeconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Published by Ballantine Group on July 15th 2014
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, General, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 323
Format: hardcover
Source: library

The highly anticipated new standalone full-color graphic novel from Bryan Lee OÂ’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series
Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
1. Write your mistake2. Ingest one mushroom3. Go to sleep4. Wake anew
And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.
From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits thatÂ’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.
Advance praise for Seconds
“In Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley plays the angst of youth against the fabric of a larger epic. In doing so, he enriches both. A great ride!”—Guillermo del Toro
“Bryan Lee OÂ’MalleyÂ’s Seconds is adorable, haunting, funny, and beautiful. A perfect recipe for a great graphic novel.”—Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics

When I picked up Seconds I had no idea what it was about. However, on page 48 it’s revealed that Katie is gifted with a do-over and I knew immediately that it would be a instant win with me. I love time travel stories, especially when the main character gets a chance to go back and change something and gets to see how the small change ripples and enacts huge differences in the future. The Groundhog Day trope is one of my favorites. This was the second Groundhog Day esque book I’ve read this week. Funny how that happens sometimes. This book also had an actual explanation for why Katie was in the time loop and how to solve things. That’s not something that happens very often and it took my enjoyment of the story to the next level. I went from liking it to loving it. I definitely wasn’t looking for books about time loops, but that’s what I found. Twitter wins again! I still have a stack of graphic novels from the library I’m working my way through, but I would say that this one in particular is a new favorite. I will be on the lookout to buy a copy for myself in the near future.

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Review: The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted September 14, 2015 by Emily in Review / 2 Comments

Review: The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David HutchinsonThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on January 20th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Death & Dying, Boys & Men, Comics & Graphic Novels, General
Pages: 336
Source: Free for Review

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.
Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.
Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.
But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so heÂ’s determined to make things right. HeÂ’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.
But Death is not easily placated, and DrewÂ’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.
A partly graphic novel.

If you can’t predict it from the title or the description, this book is about grief. I am by no means an expert on grief but I do know a little bit about it. In her book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kublar-Ross names the 5 stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  These stages are in no way linear. People can start at one stage, skip stages, go backwards, go forwards. Grief is a hard terrible subject because its never uniform. Grief looks different for everyone because no two people grieve the same way. Grief is personal and it takes as long as it takes. There is no rushing grief and it has to be felt.

Andrew Brawley was in a terrible accident. Death came for his sister and both of his parents but it was late in coming for him. Now he lives in the hospital where they died. He hides from death, watching her go about her work. When Rusty is admitted to the hospital, badly burned and in agony, Drew recognizes his pain instantly. Drew slowly approaches Rusty and they form a tenuous friendship born of grief and pain. However, that’s not the only thing they have in common.

Some books you love because they make you smile. Books like that are light and carefree. They are easy too read and can be devoured in minutes. Other books are more complicated. Some intense books make you feel things that you aren’t ready to or that you have been hiding from yourself. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is one of these books. There were times where I was afraid it would break my heart. Sometimes you read a book to enjoy it and sometimes you read a book because it makes you feel. This book was an emotional read. I cried reading through the entirety of the last 50 or so pages. For me it was also a very cathartic read. I was experiencing Andrew’s pain and grief and I was remembering my own.

The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley was a sad and beautiful story,

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ARC Review: Breakout by Ann Aguirre

ARC Review: Breakout by Ann Aguirre

Breakout (Dred Chronicles, #3) by Ann Aguirre Published by Ace on August 25th 2015 Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Sci Fi Pages: 336 Format: ebook Source: Free for Review, Netgalley Goodreads All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann AguirreÂ… The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of DredÂ’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by SilenceÂ’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station. If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her graspÂ… Ann Aguirre has done it again! Before I get into the review, I should mention that this is the series finale. There are two other books ahead of this one. The other two books in this series are below. Perdition and Havoc, Dred Chronicles 1 and 2 also I’ve been a huge fan of her Sirantha Jax […]

Posted August 25, 2015 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments

Arc Review: Two Across by Jeff Bartsch

Arc Review: Two Across by Jeff Bartsch

Two Across by Jeff Bartsch Published by Grand Central Publishing on August 4th 2015 Genres: General, Historical Pages: 304 Format: ebook Source: Free for Review, Netgalley Buy on Amazon Highly awkward teenager Stanley Owens meets his match in beautiful, brainy Vera Baxter when they tie for first place in the annual National Spelling Bee-and the two form a bond that will change both of their lives. Though their mothers have big plans for them-Stanley will become a senator, Vera a mathematics professor-neither wants to follow these pre-determined paths. So Stanley hatches a scheme to marry Vera in a sham wedding for the cash gifts, hoping they will enable him to pursue his one true love: crossword puzzle construction. In enlisting Vera to marry him, though, he neglects one variable: she’s secretly in love with him, which makes their counterfeit ceremony an exercise in misery for her. Realizing the truth only after she’s moved away and cut him out of her life, Stanley tries to atone for his mistakes and win her back. But he’s unable to find her, until one day he comes across a puzzle whose clues make him think it could only have been created by Vera. Intrigued, he plays along, communicating back to her via his own gridded clues. But will they connect again before it’s all too late? I really wasn’t sure what to think […]

Posted August 11, 2015 by Emily in Review / 0 Comments