March Wrap Up

So it seems I’m still on some kind of graphic novel kick, though I think it’s petering out a little. This month, I read a total of 11 comics, 8 novels, 8 short stories, and I also listened to 1 audiobook – so despite going ridiculously overboard with my book-buying, I can at least comfort myself with the thought that I am still reading more books than I’m buying… That said, here’s what I read in March:

Mag Rosoff//Picture Me GonePicture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. A part-mystery, part-road trip story about a girl who goes to New York with her father, in order to find her father’s missing best friend. There’s a dose of magical realism in the mix, too, as Mila (the main character) has almost supernatural senses, which could (in true Meg Rosoff style) be just as easily interpreted as her simply being incredibly perceptive. I enjoyed the book, and the characters a lot – the mystery elements were perhaps a little predictable, but I felt that the story was really more about Mila’s journey, and how she has to grow in order to find the right answers (and a lot of pondering over whether or not that growth is a good thing). I wouldn’t rank it quite as highly as How I Live Now, but it’s definitely up there, and Mag Rosoff’s writing is as wonderful as ever.4 stars17137639Superboy Vol. 2: Extraction by Scott Lobdell & Tom DeFalco. The Superboy series is fun, but kind of all over the place, and this volume is no exception. It starts off with a couple of issues from The Culling crossover event, which don’t make too much sense on their own, then go on to a couple of brief stories about Superboy (kind of) joining the Teen Titans, and adjusting to life outside N.O.W.H.E.R.E. The Zero issue at the end of the collection was kind of interesting, and I hope that the connection (if there really is one) between Kon and Superboy will be elaborated on eventually…2 starsIsabel Greenberg//The Encyclopedia of Early EarthThe Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. A graphic novel about a storyteller from the Land of Nord, who is travelling the world in search of the missing piece of his soul (and telling a lot of stories on the way). The stories are all incredibly witty, and the art is both cute and distinctive. A fantastic read.5 starsTom DeFalco, Scott Lobdell & Tony Lee//Superboy vol. 3Superboy Vol. 3: Lost by Tom DeFalco, Scott Lobdell & Tony Lee. The beginning was a bit shaky, with more chatter about events from other series, but it picked up a lot during the H’El on Earth tie-in issues (though the end of the storyline was cut off, presumably because it took place in Superman or Justice League, or one of the other series that was part of the H’El on Earth crossover). I enjoyed the dynamic between Superboy and Superman a lot, and the Harvest backstory was interesting, too. I’m looking forward to seeing how the series will move forward from here.3 starsDoogie Horner//100 Ghosts100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner. A cute little book of pictures of ghosts in various different situations. Some of my favourites include the athletic ghost, the ventriloquist, the Fantastic Four, and the mini dachshund. 😀4 starsFanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault//Jane, the Fox & MeJane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault. A short graphic novel about a young girl who’s being bullied at school because of her weight, and how she tries to escape from reality by reading Jane Eyre. The story is very short, but powerfully-written, and it reminded me a lot of books like Speak and Wintergirls (both by Laurie Halse Anderson). The artwork really suited the melancholy tone of the book, and the contrast between the black-and-brown shades used to illustrate Hélène’s life, and the full-colour pages that appear when she talks about Jane Eyre was particularly poignant.4 starsLemony Snicket//HorseradishHorseradish by Lemony Snicket. A book of quotes and observations about (at the risk of sounding unoriginal 😉 ) life, the universe, and everything. Very witty, and written in Lemony Snicket’s usual straightforward doom-and-gloom style, which I enjoy – though it does tend to get rather stale after a while, and unfortunately I found myself enjoying the last few sections of the book much less than the first few (although the whole thing only took me about an hour to finish…).3 starsScott Lynch//Lies of Locke LamoraThe Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. A fantasy novel following the adventures of the con-man Locke Lamora and his crew. Excellently written, though I had a little difficulty getting into it at first, as cons are not a theme that I am entirely comfortable with – somehow, stealing from people who have shown you kindness seems so much worse than stealing from strangers… That said, the con itself was only one part of the story, and everything was woven together so cleverly that it didn’t take me too long to get over myself. Overall, the book was thoroughly enjoyable, and I am looking forward to reading more of Locke’s adventures (and I hope that we will finally be meeting Sabetha in the next book!).5 starsIsabel Greenberg//The River of Lost SoulsThe River of Lost Souls by Isabel Greenberg. A (very) short comic about Charon (the ferryman from Greek mythology), and a human woman who marries him. The art was cute and quirky, and the story was really cute, too (though of course I would’ve liked it to be longer… 😉 ). I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s at all interested in Greek mythology.5 starsSarah J. Maas//Throne of GlassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. The story of an assassin who is taken out of a labour camp in order to compete in a tournament to become the King’s Champion. First of all, let me just say that Celaena is just as amazing a character as people keep telling me she is – snarky and sassy, without it being annoying, and I really liked the fact that, despite being a legendary assassin, she still loves balls and pretty dresses. The romance perhaps developed a little quickly, but I liked both Dorian and Chaol (though at this point I am definitely on Team Chaolaena!), and Celaena’s friendship with Princess Nehemia was particularly enjoyable. 🙂 Plot-wise, it was sometimes a little predictable, and the villains ended up being exactly who I expected them to be, but I feel that the real mystery in this series is going to be Celaena’s past, which I am very intrigued by (and already forming theories about).5 starsEoin Colfer//Artemis Fowl & the Last GuardianArtemis Fowl & the Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer. The final book in the Artemis Fowl series, which follows Artemis the boy genius as he attempts to swindle, and then eventually becomes friends with fairies. In this book, Opal Koboi tries to destroy the world, and Artemis and Holly have to stop her. I thought it was a decent conclusion to the series – though I wasn’t particularly impressed by the very end of the book – and the characters were all spot-on. It was a shame that we didn’t see more of Juliet, but I really enjoyed the insights into Foaly’s relationship, and, of course, the dynamic between Artemis, Holly and Butler. I actually listened to this as an audiobook, which I would definitely recommend, as I was beginning to get tired of the series after the first three books or so, but Nathaniel Parker’s excellent narration really re-invigorated my interest.3 stars

Isabel Greenberg//The Snow Queen & Other StoriesThe Snow Queen & Other Stories by Isabel Greenberg. Another short comic, which re-tells the stories of first The Snow Queen, and then The Emperor’s New Clothes. Both stories were very cute (though The Snow Queen was told in rather more depth), but with the same humourous dash of common sense that I’ve come to appreciate in Isabel Greenberg’s work.4 starsSarah J. Maas//Crown of MidnightCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. The sequel to Throne of Glass, which obviously I can’t tell you all that much (or, in fact, anything) about, because spoilers. But it was definitely an excellent follow-up, with a couple of surprise plot developments (though the major twist at the end was not quite so surprising), and great character and relationship development, particularly for Dorian, who I thought was a bit under-developed in the first book.5 starsSarah J. Maas//Heir of FireHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. The third book in the Throne of Glass series. It was a little odd at first to have all the main characters separated, but it definitely allowed for a whole load of plot development that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Several new characters: Rowan took a little getting used to (& I was initially afraid that he was going to be another potential love interest…), but he really grew on me, & is now probably one of my favourite characters in this series; Manon, I also really like, and she provides a really interesting new perspective for the story; Sorscha was probably the least interesting of the new characters, but still likeable; and Aedion shifted wildly from being borderline threatening to hilarious (mainly due to his odd relationship with Chaol). I’ve written a whole spoilery discussion of the book here, which you can take a look at if you’re already caught up. 😀 Mostly, though, I am just super, super-impatient for Queen of Shadows to be released.5 starsSarah J. Maas//The Assassin and the PrincessThe Assassin & the Princess by Sarah J. Maas. A brief, but cute scene set between Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, where Celaena and Nehemia go shopping together. I enjoyed it a lot (& I can’t help hoping that Celaena will wear that dress sometime in one of the future books, to show off her new tattoos!), but it was very short…4 starsThe Captain & the Prince by Sarah J. Maas. Another short scene between Dorian and Chaol, this one set before they leave for Endovier in Throne of Glass. Basically, just a nice little insight into their relationship… You can read it online here.4 starsThe Assassin & the Captain by Sarah J. Maas. The last of the three extra scenes that Maas has written (though there are also several novellas, of course), set between Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, and featuring Chaol meeting Celaena as she arrives back in Rifthold after an assignment. This one was split up into several parts, which can be read online here: Part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4.4 stars

Sarah J. Maas//The Assassin's BladeThe Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. A bind-up of the five prequel novellas for the Throne of Glass series. I’m rating these together because, put together, they ended up making a pretty cohesive story in and of themselves, despite initially being published separately, and also because I’ve done a full review where I talked about each individual story (you can read it here). They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but overall it was solidly written and incredibly enjoyable.4 starsSally Green//Half WildHalf Wild by Sally Green. Wow, did that escalate quickly! 😮 The sequel to Half Bad, which I read late last year, and I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since. Nesbitt and Van were interesting new characters, and I really loved how Marcus’ character has finally been fleshed out. Nathan and Gabriel’s relationship development was great, too, as was Nathan and Annalise’s (though I could never bring myself to trust Annalise entirely). An incredibly quick read, despite being over 400 pages long (I finished it almost in one sitting), a really engrossing story, and a whole ton of emotions, which I felt was the only thing really missing from Half Bad.5+ starsPaullina Simons//Tatiana & AlexanderTatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons. The sequel to The Bronze Horseman, an epic-length historical romance set in the Soviet Union during World War II. This second book focuses mainly on Tatiana in New York, trying to find out what’s become of Alexander, and on Alexander trying to find a way to escape from the Soviet Union and reunite with Tatiana. As I’ve come to expect from this series, it was in many places incredibly bleak (which is probably why it’s taken me several months to finish), though Tatiana’s storyline at least included some bright spots (such as Anthony, and her friendship with Vikki). There’s not too much else that I can say without risking huge spoilers, but, needless to say, I really loved it, and I’m hoping that The Summer Garden, the last book in the trilogy, will be a little happier.5 starsSimone Lia//Please God, find me a husband!Please God, find me a husband! by Simone Lia. A graphic memoir about the author’s journey to find peace with God (and hopefully also a husband). I don’t really know what I expected from this book, given its title and synopsis (which I clearly did not bother to read before picking this up), but, although I didn’t exactly dislike the book, I found it a bit too preachy for my tastes, and not nearly so funny as I was hoping…2 starsJean Regnaut & Émile Bravo//My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo BillMy mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill by Jean Regnaud & Émile Bravo. Another graphic memoir, this one about Regnaud’s childhood growing up without his mother, and always wondering where she is and why he hasn’t seen or heard from her in so long. This was beautifully written, with a great balance of funny and sad moments, as well as a really cute art style.4 starsGrant Morrison//Batman Incorporated vol. 1Batman Incorporated Vol. 1: Demon Star by Grant Morrison. I was a little unsure about whether or not I wanted to read this, because on one hand, I know that important DCU continuity things take place in this series, but on the other hand, I’ve never been a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s writing – mainly because I really, really don’t like the way he’s chosen to portray Jason Todd, and this book is no exception in that respect, though thankfully Jason only made a brief appearance… That said, I enjoyed this a surprising amount. Various different things were going on as Batman & his allies tried to take down the Leviathan cult, but the heart of the story was Bruce’s relationship with his son Damian, which I enjoyed a lot. My only real problem with the series at this point is the artwork, which is pretty ugly, but I’ll definitely be picking up the next volume when it’s available at the library…4 starsJustin Jordan, Scott Lobdell & Michael Alan Nelson//Superboy vol. 4Superboy Vol. 4: Blood & Steel by Justin Jordan, Scott Lobdell & Michael Alan Nelson. This volume is half made up of a story involving Superboy and Doctor Psycho attempting to take on H.I.V.E., which I enjoyed, and the rest of the volume appeared to be some random issues from various crossover events (one with the Superman and Supergirl titles, I assume, and the other with Teen Titans), and although both of these events seemed interesting, there was no real way to determine what was going on, as both stories were incredibly fragmented…3 stars

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February Haul

SO TALL! (You should be able to see the titles if you click on the image to zoom in...)

SO TALL! (You should be able to see the titles if you click on the image to zoom in…)

Something else that I should’ve posted a while ago… :/ And as you can see from the lovely picture to your left, this post is certainly not late because I didn’t buy enough books to merit a haul post. Rather, it’s late because I’ve had to take a significant amount of time to recover from the shame of having bought so many (& most of them are comics, too, which are expensive). 😦 The reason for my sudden splurge? Chloë came to visit towards the end of the month, and when I am with other bookish people, I tend to go to lots of bookish places, and buy books. (Self-control? What is this “self-control” you speak of?)

But anyway, here’s what I bought:

1) Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. All I know about this is that it’s non-fiction (probably), which I’ve been wanting to read more of, and it was super-cheap, so I thought I’d give it a try.

2) Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey. Another non-fiction book (obviously), which I bought as part of the same deal. My historical knowledge is sorely lacking, so hopefully this will teach me a few things…

3) Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky. I don’t even know what this is, but I couldn’t resist…

4) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. A re-telling of Homer’s Iliad, which I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. I have heard super-good things about it, and I am a Classicist… 😀

5) No Life but This by Anna Sheehan. A sci-fi (possibly romance?) novel that I found at the second-hand book stall at the market. Of course, only after buying it did I discover that it’s a sequel, but both books sound interesting, so I’ll have to track down the first book (A Long, Long Sleep) soon…

6) Sasameke, Volume 2 by Ryuji Gotsubo. This is actually a bind-up of the last half of the Sasameke series, which is a sports manga about a boy who was really, really good at football, then went away to play abroad for a year, and came back having given up the sport completely. It’s been a while since I read the first volume, so it probably merits a re-read, but I remember enjoying it a lot, & I’m looking forward to finishing off the series.

7) Little Red Riding Hood & Other Stories by Charles Perrault. A beautifully-illustrated edition of several classic fairytales, including Little Red Riding Hood (naturally), CinderellaBluebeard and Puss in Boots.

8) Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean. A sequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, which I don’t know all that much about, plot-wise, though I’ve been aware of it for a while…

9) The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips. A comedy set in Arthurian times, about the Knights of the Round Table. Again, I don’t really know anything else about it.

10) Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake by Natasha Allegri. A gender-swapped Adventure Time graphic novel, which I have already read and loved, so you can read about it in my February Wrap-Up.

11) Various DC New 52 comics, including: Volumes 2 & 3 of Teen Titans by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Scott Snyder & Tom DeFalco; Volume 3 of Red Hood & the Outlaws by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza & Scott Snyder; Volumes 2 & 3 of Nightwing by Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder & Tom DeFalco; Volumes 2 & 3 of Batman & Robin by Peter J. Tomasi & Scott Snyder; Volumes 2 & 3 of Batman by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV; Batman: Night of the Owls by Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, Tony S. Daniel, Scott Lobdell, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Gail Simone, Duane Swierczynski, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV & Judd Winick; and The Joker: Death of the Family by Scott Snyder, John Layman, Ann Nocenti, Adam Glass, James Tynion IV, Gail Simone, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Kyle Higgins, Tom DeFalco & Peter J. Tomasi. This impressive number of comics takes all the series on my buy-list through the Night of the Owls and Death of the Family storylines, and up to volume 3.

12) Saga, Volumes 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughan. The first three volumes I got in a massive bind-up, which is that blue book labelled “Book 1”, and Volume 4 individually (because I couldn’t bring myself to wait another 3 years or so for the next deluxe edition). Again, I’ve already read this, & I talked about it in my wrap-up, but to sum it up, it’s a sci-fi series about forbidden love in wartime.

13) Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan. A graphic novel about a pride of lions that escape from Baghdad Zoo, which, again, I’ve talked about already in my wrap-up.

14) The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. A collection of folk-tales set in “Early Earth”, a place that apparently existed before actual Earth. And, once again, I’ve already read this, & I’ll tell you about it in my March wrap-up, so there’s (thankfully, since my fingers are getting tired now) no need to say any more about it here.