Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Monday, November 11, 2019
Saturday, November 9, 2019
Monday, October 28, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019
Red Hood and the Outlaws is one of DC's Rebirth collection. A relaunch/reboot starting back in 2016. It's one of my favorites along with Nightwing, Deathstroke, and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corp. And this is the most recent volume.
Red Hood: Outlaw collects issues 26 from Red Hood and the Outlaws, Annual 2, and Red Hood Outlaw 27-31. Before you ask, there really isn't much of a difference between Red Hood and the Outlaws and Red Hood: Outlaw except for the slight title change between issues 26 and 27.
This picks up after Jason Todd (a.k.a. Red Hood and Robin number 2) gets into a fight with Batman. With the help from his best friend and fellow Outlaw Roy Harper (a.k.a. Arsenal) he's on the mend for the first few issues. Along the way the pick up on a case that they were working on back in the New 52 (in Red Hood and the Outlaws and/or Red Hood/Arsenal). But this tag team adventure is cut short when Roy leaves to get some help at a "rehab for capes" (which is part of a story known as Heroes in Crisis), but Jason promises to finish it. Especially when he find out that Roy *Spoiler for Heroes in Crisis* gets killed while at this "rehab for capes", which Bruce tells Jason about after the .
Jason makes a promise to finish this mission in his honor and along the way he teams up with Batwoman. we also get a glimpse into what happened to the other 2/3 of Jason's current team of Outlaws (Artemis and Bizarro).
In general, this is a series I would recommend, and is one of the few that has a returning author/writer from the New 52. That being Scott Lobdell. We have the first five volumes (including this one, the most current volume thus far) and is mean for an Adult audience.
Friday, September 13, 2019
Having done a recommendation of Batman: Court of Owls, one of three Batman inspired novels, I thought I would read through the other three and recommend them. And since September marks Harley Quinn's 27th birthday, I thought I'd do Mad Love first. This book is written by Paul Dini and is inspired by the Batman Adventures issue of the same name as well as an episode in Batman Animated Series not too long after.
Fun Fact: all three of these were written by Paul Dini, so I guess you could say he's really familiar with the story.
The story starts off with Harley as a child going to an amusement park in Coney Island. She would see her father get beaten by thugs then arrested. She would come back to this amusement park only to come across these thugs again, who attempt to attack her. Her mother would come to save her and an argument between Harley's parents would ensue when she gets home. The story would jump ahead several years to a now 17 year old Harley at a gymnastics competition, where we get an update on her living situation (her mom is home and her dad is in prison) and that she has the potential to get a scholarship out of the gymnastics program she's in. This is all we get before it jumps again to Harley's freshmen year in college, where we start to see some of the Batman oriented stuff make an appearance. Mostly the talk of Batman, the mention of Gotham and Arkham, and the foreshadowing to her career in psychology.
What I liked about this pre-Gotham/early years part is that we get to see a bit into Harley's childhood. You get to Harley begin to question who the good guys are. Something we get to see a bit of in the book.
There would be one more time jump to Harley's first few days at Arkham Asylum. And she gets a glimpse of a few familiar faces, such as Pamela Isely (Poison Ivy) and Killer Croc, who attempts to charge towards her, as well as several other characters from the Animated Series We also get a small glimpse at the Joker, but he doesn't make his actual appearance and first encounter with Harley for a few chapters.
We spend the first few chapters with Harley in a group therapy with some of the female inmates, which includes Poison Ivy, who would later become a close friend of Harley's in the animated series (which has also become something of a staple in the current comics). And by the time we get to the third, Harley has been ganged up on by the inmates, with Ivy acting as the ring leader and aid to Harley once things really go out of control.
Quite the start for their blossoming friendship, no? Pun intended.
Once we go through these sessions, we finally get to what I'd like to call the iconic encounter. That being Harley and Joker's. It kind of flips between Harley's and the Joker's perspective, but seems mostly set on Harley's. For Harley, it starts off as a curiosity, and she keeps their sessions professional. While the Joker views it as something he can have fun with.
You'll see him spin a tale about his childhood and Batman, which is what draws her to him.
With each session we see Harley getting more and more interested in Joker. And not just as a patient, but the beginning of an infatuation for him. Harley develops a love for this patient, and after a coordinated accident that get the Joker out (minutely) exposes this. And after the recapture at Batman's hand and Harley getting fired for defending him, Harley dawns the black and red costume that she would be known for (at least until the New 52 comics and the Suicide Squad movie).
Once she does, we get into her life of crime, starting with breaking the Joker out of prison. However, with this breakout, the Joker's more chaotic and violent tendencies come out. He wants Harley to be less affectionate when the "boys" (thugs) are around. His patience is tested with how Harley performs in a crime that gets Batman involved. Even so, she still holds this love for the Joker,not wanting to see just how bad he is.
But what comes as a rude wake up is when she tries to implement his plan, with an improvement to make it work the way the Joker would want, she finds herself shoved out of a window. All because she "explained the joke".
If you are familiar with this story, I think you'll find this as a pretty faithful read (with the only differences being it set in a more modern setting since smartphones and Youtube are a thing). If you're not, you might find this an interesting yet cautious tale. It might not be for everyone, but I would recommend this novel and is better suited for adults (which is where it can be found, under our science fiction section).
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
I especially enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book narrated by the author, herself. It's available via the Overdrive app at CMPL.
The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.
What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in—a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro’s memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love.
Friday, August 30, 2019
This is the first book in a new series by bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix. The three Greystone children arrive home to find their mother upset by news that three kids have been kidnapped in Arizona. Those kids have the same first and middle names as the Greystone siblings. They even have the same birthdays! Mrs. Greystone leaves on a sudden business trip the next day. Chess, Emma and Finn Greystone are left to stay with someone they don’t know and her daughter, Natalie. The kids realize something is very wrong when they find their mom’s phone and laptops at home. Chess, Emma, Finn and Natalie find clues and codes and set off into an alternate world to rescue their mom and the kidnapped kids. Read this exciting new adventure to find out if they succeed! You will anxiously await the second book in the series! Perfect for ages 9-12.
Monday, August 26, 2019
Thursday, August 15, 2019
This was a great book giving some insight into these flying mammals. And with as many species as their are, somewhere around 1,300 if not more, it's nice to see that this book highlights each one. It starts off with some basic information about these winged mammals: their biology (including anatomy and physiology), history, ecology, and behaviors. As well as a brief look into the reputations they've had over the years.
After that, it gives a brief, but informative synopsis about each bat, where their located, their size and weight, and where they fall on the IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) as far as how endangered they are. It also includes the different classes that each bat falls under, giving an explanation of what each class entails.
This is a nice culmination of one of the more unique mammals out there and what kinds of bats you can expect around the world. This book can be found in the Adult nonfiction section.
If you read Where the Crawdads Sing and loved the evocative descriptions of nature and the incredible story of a girl left to grow up on her own, you may enjoy Once Upon a River by Michigan author Bonnie Jo Campbell.
In Once Upon a River, Margo Crane's relatively happy childhood is destroyed one step a time. First, her beloved grandfather dies. Then her mother leaves home. At 15, an act of violence by a trusted uncle leaves her and her father exiled from the family home to the opposite bank of the Stark River. A year later, Margo tries to set the balance right, but starts a chain of events that ends with her alone, heading upstream on the river, with the vague idea to find the mother that abandoned her.
On the Stark, a fictional branch of the Kalamazoo River, Margo, like Kya in her marsh, is surrounded by wild things: fish, heron, duck, muskrat, and deer. Margo is uniquely suited to take care of herself on the river, having grown up at the heels of her outdoorsman grandfather. She shoots with the skill of her hero, sharpshooter Annie Oakley, and guts and skins animals herself. If Kya is the "Marsh Girl," Margo is the "wolf girl," raised in the wild, and she's not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of the comparison.
While Margo is content and confident observing the rules of the natural world, she is less confident navigating her human relationships. She cannot locate and reconnect with her mother right away, so Margo hooks up with a series of men along the river. It's a logical decision in her mind, since she is looking for someone to take her in. But her inclination to ‘wait and see’ before deciding how she feels about things often leaves her stranded in dangerous situations.
There's no murder mystery in Once Upon a River, which isn't to say there's no death. A person left to observe that in the natural world, the strong survive, will do what it takes to survive. Thriving is something else, and Margo has a long journey ahead of her before she can consider what she wants from life beyond her own survival. That journey is beautiful, heart-breaking, frustrating and thought-provoking. Not for the faint of heart, Once Upon a River is unforgettable.
Other stories of survival, living off the land, and overcoming obstacles set in a deep natural setting include:
The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Animal Vegetable Miracle or Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
As you enjoy these last dog days of summer, learn how you can optimize this time with your canine or feline family members by giving attention to your pet's health and wellness needs. The Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness by Dr. Gary Weitzman provides a wealth of information from first aid and common illnesses to a pet's psychological needs throughout its life span. This well-illustrated book is geared for adult readers.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Based on the Yukito Kishiro manga (Japanese comic) Battle Angel Alita, Alita: Battle Angel tells the story of the cyborg Alita, who has amnesia and wants to find out who she is. This movie highlights the first few issue of the Battle Angel Alita series, which includes her introduction, her interest in motorball (a fa roller derby like sport), and her time as a bounty hunter. Along the way, she meets new friends, like Hugo, who she would develop a romantic interest in as well as enemies such as Zapan, a cyborg bounty hunter, and Victor a motorball champion, who has questionable ties.
This movie did stray slightly from the source material slightly, like changing how Alita got her name (she was originally named after Ido's cat) to his daughter and Jennifer Connolly's character, Dr. Cherin. She was originally a character from the short animated series but was Ido's partner there, where here, she's his ex-wife. However, these additions were nice and added some development for the story. For example, Hugo shows Alita how to play motorball (for fun), which would at least explain where she learned it from.
This was a project that James Cameron had been wanting to do since Avatar, which would be the movie he ultimately went with first. And while the titular character's look it may take some getting used to, this is a really good cyberpunk movie. I actually saw it in theaters when it came out because I am a fan of the series and was waiting for this to finally come out for a few years. And after the wait, I can say that I really enjoyed it.
It's a good movie that tells the story of a cyborg trying to discover who she is and who she wants to be and is full of great action sequences. The motorball scenes in this movie are fast much like the sport it mimics and are fun to watch. As an adaptation of a manga series (much like Ghost in a Shell two years ago), I feel like this did it well compared to a number of others like it. And as a science fiction movie, I thought it was pretty well put together. This movie is suited for a more adult audience given some of the language and topics that are brought up.
Monday, July 29, 2019
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Friday, July 19, 2019
A captivating story that takes place in the past and present, Badani will have you enamored in her tale of Jaya, a woman who travels to her mother's hometown in India to escape her feelings dealing with her failing marriage and multiple miscarriages. While there, Jaya and readers will travel back in time to also learn the story of Jaya's grandmother, and the secrets that have been long hidden as to why Jaya's mother left India, never to return. This book is full of Indian culture, history of the British occupation in India, heartbreak, love, family, and perseverance, and will have you so enthralled that you will NOT be able to put it down.
Recommended for adults.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Friday, July 5, 2019
I am a fan of this particular character in the Batman lore, and will pick up what I can when I am in the mood. A character who learned a secret to immortality and has an intellect and fighting skills that can match the Caped Crusaders. This is the most recent item that features this character. And while this doesn't include anything new (as it gathers a collection his appearances since his introduction in 1971), it is still very enjoyable. My favorite stories in here are Daughter of the Demon, the Lazarus Pit, and Resurrection Shuffle.
"Daughter of the Demon" introduces Ra's al Ghul and reveals that he is the father of Talia, Batman's "first" love interest outside of Catwoman and later the mother of their child and current Robin, Damian. Ra's comes to Batman hoping that he can help rescue his daughter, who has been abducted on the same night and by the same person who abducted Robin (Dick Grayson). It is later revealed that Ra's set this all up to see if Batman is worthy to not only wed his daughter, but be his heir. He's also one of the few people outside of Batman's rather large family to know that Batman is Bruce Wayne, as seen in this issue.
"The Lazarus Pit" introduces the Lazarus Pit, a pool that is known to heal the injured and bring back the dead. This would be a tool that Ra's would be known for using to essentially escape death, which he does in this issue. He's the only to use it, with him only letting Nyssa his other daughter using it once and Talia using it to restore Jason Todd (the second Robin who was killed in the Death in the Family arc) behind her fathers back.
"Resurrection Shuffle" was one of the first issues in the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul arc, in which an aging Ra's is losing time and needs to transfer his soul to a new body. This would come to include Damian Wayne, Tim Drake (the third Robin, who he would later bribe with the Laarus Pit to revive his father, girlfriend, and best friend), the later two of which would actually be alive), and Ra's' father. The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul is one of my favorite Ra's stories, so it was nice to see this included.
Batman Arkham: Ra's al Ghul is a good read with some of the needed stories you'd need to see who this character is, and I would recommend it. It is an Adult Graphic Novel, but it could be something Young Adults could read too.
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Friday, June 14, 2019
Return of the Wolf: Conflict and Coexistence is a nonfiction adult book looking into the lives of wolves. Their history, their unfortunate reputation for being bad/evil, what they symbolize in some cultures, misconceptions and their future. It talks about diets, breeding habits, and the coexistent relationship that wolves and ravens have when it comes to hunting and eating. It even has a section talking about coywolves (wolf and coyote hybrids) and wolf-dogs (the half wolf, half domesticated dog breed). The author shares what they've learned and it's really interesting.
It's a fascinating read and helps give an understanding to one of the most misunderstood Apex predators. And if you're looking for something kind of different, or a good nonfiction book, I would recommend this.
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Friday, May 31, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love is Dani Shapiro's story of discovering that her father was not her biological relative. It starts with a casual DNA test on Ancestry.com and leads to a long journey through her family's past and the secrets they carried. As readers we come along for every new discovery, and ride the waves of grief with her as she accepts what she doesn't want to be true. Her parents have long since passed on, so she must do some detective work to get to the bottom of the story. She also struggles with holding onto her upbringing while learning as much as she can about her biological father. This is a memoir about her sense of identity being upended, and how she moves forward with a new sense of herself.
Recommended for Adults
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
This is based off of the first arc of the New 52's Batman run, of the same name. However, that's where the similarities end, since this has it's own story that takes place after the events of the comics. The villains are already established.
What you will need to know about the kind of villains that Batman is facing off against (in the event you are not familiar with this particular arc) is that they are an age old organization called the Court of Owls. They are an organization made up of aristocrats, known as the parliament, who's plan is to have control and power from the shadows. They were once considered to be a myth. A grim nursery rhyme in fact. That was until they made themselves know to Bruce Wayne and by extent Batman and the Robins (current and former), Batgirl, and some associates/friends of them. The Court of Owls has a group of assassins under their control, known as Talons, who are essentially immortal (with s and are the ones that do the Parliament's bidding. which includes "silencing" people who they no longer have use for or wish to dispose of. It's also worth noting that one of these Talons is the great-grandfather of Dick Grayson ,the original Robin and the original (and current) Nightwing, and it was intended that he would be come one as well. Had his parents not been murdered and Dick being placed in Bruce's care that is.
This book starts off with the brutal murder of a college professor and the theft of some files on his students. As Batman begins to investigate, he finds that one student, Joanna Lee, has apparently gone missing. Bruce knew her since he was a sponsor her for college after saving her one night that ended in the death of her parents. And on top of that, the same Talon behind the murder of the professor attempted to abduct her roommate Claire Nesko in order to get some information. As Batman continues to investigate Joanna's disappearance, and why the Court of Owls is so interested in her, as well as what caused the victim's to spontaneously combust, he does decided to do some investigating on Percy Wright (who Joanna was doing her project on) and how he ties into it. We also get a few chapters that give a glimpse into the Percy's past and how his work relates to the present day (in the book).
The Court of Owls arc was one of my favorite arcs set during DC's New 52 run, mostly for the characters, the history of this organization, and how it affected the Caped Crusader and his extended family. But even if it wasn't, I would still think this is a good book. It had a well written story and the mystery mixed with the included history/flashbacks I found really interesting. It also had good action in it and the characters were well written.
This is a book meant for a more Adult audiences given it's content, but could also be read by older teens.
Monday, May 13, 2019
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Monday, April 22, 2019
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Phil recommends "The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick"
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
While I may not be the first to recommend this series (be it the books and/or television series), I have finally managed to start it and can now safely recommend it. I have been wanting to read this series for a while now, but time and motivation slipped. But now that I have, I can say that I really enjoy the series. As someone who enjoys Fantasy series like the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings (and all of Tolkien's Middle Earth related works for that matter), this was a series that I knew could peak my interests.
As a fantasy series, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the detail that went into each character and their story, but still manages to tie back to them in one way or another. Each chapter shuffled between a handful of characters which include Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and even Daenerys Targaryen and will focus on them and their surroundings. It also has characters that you'd probably recognize if you've seen the show but haven't read the books (i.e. the Stark Family, Daenerys' brother, and Joffrey).
This is a book series for adults given some of the language used, violence, and some of the themes/topics brought up. We have all five main series books and two spin off/prequel books. If you have seen the series but haven't read the books, or are looking for a good read, I would recommend it. And while I personally still have to read through the other books, I think it's really good so far.