Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Last Apprentice: Slither by Joseph Delaney

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I took a little break from this series but I'm ready to finish and find out what happens to Tom, Alice, and the Spook. This is listed as the 11th book in the series but really it doesn't fit in the story line. Like the 9th book, Grimalkin the Witch Assassin, this is a stand alone story. It almost seems like the this was a different project that was rolled into the series to draw it out a bit. This story has very little to do with Tom and his quest. It takes place in a different realm where they have never heard of Spooks. 

This book is about a creature who lives off the blood of others and makes a deal with a local farmer. He will leave the farmer and his family alone if he will allow Slither to feed from the animals from time to time. Something happens tot he farmer and we learn that as long as Slither gets his two youngest daughters to safety then he can have the oldest. 

There are a few references to Spooks and we have a pop in from one of the bigger characters to help move the story along. This was an ok book but I have to admit that I was glad to finish this one. I kept going because I wanted to know how this book ties in only to find it really doesn't. The story is kind of slow and most of this is a repeat of the plot line over and over. 

I'm kind of torn as to how to rate this book. There were some parts that held my attention, but overall I felt let down. I was anxious for this book to be over so I could get back to Tom and the Spook. I need to know how Tom will defeat the Fiend and if Alice can remain in control of her own powers. The prophecy that has been set in this series raises some interesting questions and this book just made me aggravated that I wasn't getting a step closer to the answers I'm looking for. 

I had trouble trying to decide just how I was going to rate this book. I kept teetering on the fence between a 3 and a 2 star rating. The more I think about this book the more aggravated I am getting by the whole thing so I have decided this only a 2 out of 5 star read. If you are not as crazy and stubborn as I am I would suggest just skipping this book in the series. At this moment I don't see the purpose for this one. Maybe something will be revealed in the final two books that will make this one seem more important but I can 't see it. I don't mean to be harsh on this because the series is great and I have really liked the writing. Delaney is a great writer and his style is very well done, I just didn't care for this book. Even the Grimalkin book which felt like a deviation from the series was enjoyable. This fell flat for me. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bout of Books 12

Bout of Books
Bout of Books 12

It's that time again and I am excited to be able to participate in this round of Bout of Books. I have had my slumps this year because of one thing or another, but this is a great opportunity to catch up. I have fallen behind on my Graphic novel challenge this year so I'm hoping to start off 2015 with a bang. In case you don’t know what Bout of Books is all about here is a little blurb:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a weeklong read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Bout of Books was the very first blogging event I participated in and I had so much fun. I have been giving my goals some thought this year and I have a few ideas. As I mentioned I want to down a few comics, I have also been struggling to get time to read my copy of Mr Mercedes so I would like to make more time and get that one finished. I also have some YA series that I would like to finish and I will be listening to those while at work. Look for my Goals and Progress post coming at the start of the event. I will try to update it daily so check back on that post to see how I am doing.

I missed out on the last round because I just didn't have the time to keep up with it but I’m ready for this one. For all my blogging friends who will be participating in this I wish you all luck and I look forward to seeing what you have as your goals and how you all are doing.  If you are thinking about participating in this for the first time I would encourage you to do it. It is a lot of fun even if you only participate a little bit.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to all!!! Now I'm not so single minded to think that everyone celebrates Christmas and for those that read my blog I really hope you all have a very Happy Holidays. I do celebrate Christmas in my family'e life it lasts a little over a week. That's a long story I won't bore you with but we try to get as much out of this holiday as possible. Our kids are getting older and we do our very best to give them the best Christmas possible. Things are a little better this year for them thanks to my great job I got back in July. So we put up the tree and the lights and our Elf on the Shelf came for a visit.

Have you heard of the Elf on the Shelf. It is a cute idea but really a pain in the butt. Every year our elf Neighbor. My Son named him, comes on Thanksgiving night with breakfast fixings. Every day he is in a new spot in the house to watch the kiddos and report back to Santa every night if they have been good or bad. This worked great last year but this year my five year old has been testing his limits. He got an official Elf Warning this year. Some of the things people do with the elf are really creative. Last year I did an homage to Stephen King's Under the Dome complete with a little Bloody ketchup hand on the clear mixing bowl we put him in. This year I built one of my Batman Legos and used the Scarecrow's Plane to fly our elf in this year. I hung it from the ceiling and the kids loved it. 

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful Holiday with their families and a very Merry Christmas. “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” 
― Clement C. Moore

Monday, December 22, 2014

Graphic Novel Challenge 2015


I love this challenge. Comics are something that I have never grown out of and since my library carries a huge catalog of graphic novels I read more of them as an adult. The Other thing I love about this challenge is that it lasts all year round. I am always working towards my goals and planning what books I want to catch up on. 

Like last year there are three levels to aim for this coming year. 

Levels

Modern Age: read and review 12 books during the year (that's only 1 book a month)

Bronze Age: read and review 24 books during the year (Can you handle 2 books a month.)

Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year (Are you up to a book a week!)

Last year I decided to go all in for the Silver Age challenge. I fell short with a total of 40 Graphic novels read at the time I posted this. I might be able to get one or two more in before the end of this year. I had some great things happen this year with my new job that I love but it did cause me less time to read comics. Since I don't have as much time to read as I did last year I think I will set my goal at Bronze Age. I think 24 will be a good number to shoot for with my reduced reading time at home. If I finish my goal next year I will shoot for the Silver age but I'm definitely thinking more realistic for my goals this year. 

Last year I got close to 40 Graphic Novels and this year I hit that and will hopefully get a few more in. I am excited be joining this challenge again and I can't wait to see how many I can get in this coming year. Stay with my blog to see all of the reviews I post from my challenge entries. If you are a big fan of comics yourself there is plenty of time to join in for the 2015 challenge. It is a lot of fun and I love seeing all the different books that get reviewed for this challenge. I have found some great comics reviewed by other in this challenge that I might not have considered if I hadn't read one of the reviews. Here is to a great year of comic book reading. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Night Eternal by Guillermo Del Toro

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Well, I'm finished with the trilogy and I'm glad it's over. I wanted to like this series but by the time I got about a quarter of the way through this one I wanted to pack it in and move on. My stubbornness won out and since I had already read the first two I had to know how this was going to end.  

My biggest complaint with this book other than it was just dull, was the fact that a few chapters in I hated all of the characters in this book. I like our little survivor team of Fet, and Eph, and Nora, but in this book things personalities change and I really didn't like the turn they had taken. I was amazad at how quickly Guillermo Del Toro made me hate characters I grew to like in the first two books. That kind of put me off the whole book fright from the start and I was only a few chapters in. 

Unlike book two, The Fall, this once doesn't pick up right where the previous left off. This book begins 2 years later. A lot can happen in two years and apparently it wasn't important enough to write a book about. I guess the show could fill in that gap with two seasons if it continues to be popular. 

This book was so dull and slow. We have characters who only care about themselves, constantly whine, and do nothing to advance the story what so ever. I also felt the ending was a complete cop out. I felt like they wanted to make it a big as it could possibly be and then wrap it up with a happy ending. It was just cheesy and could have been much better.

I'm not going to complain about this book anymore and just move on to the review. Now I was only half interested in this after reading the first book and not being really into it. I will give this book 1.5 stars and round up to 2 mainly because this isn't the worst book I have read this year, but all I can say is I'm glad it's over. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nightwing Vol 5: Setting Son by Kyle Higgins

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I did things a little backwards. I have only read Vol 1 of the New 52 reboot, but when this became available through Edelweiss as an Advanced reader copy I jumped at the chance to put my name in the ring. I was fortunate enough to be granted a copy from DC Comics and I am very grateful. Nightwing is one of my favorite superheroes. I always loved the lighter side Dick Greyson brought as Robin to the Dynamic Duo. When he left the cave to become his own man as Nightwing I was hooked. I always enjoyed the stories that he came back into to, and then when he was rebooted the first time with the new black and blue suit I collected every single issue till Battle For the Cowl when Nightwing's series ended. 

I really liked this Vol even if I was a little lost at times. I have heard from friends what all is going on with Dick in his series so I wasn't spoiled by anything, but still a little lost. This book is a collection of stories from Dick's past. Starting out early on with him as a boy in the circus with his Mom and Dad still alive. Then we move onto modern day with a pretty good story guest staring Batgirl herself. The writing on these was great and I couldn't put this book down. I'm already heading to get Vol 2 so I can catch up on all that I missed. 

The art work on this book was also really good for the most part. There is a section with Batman that was to dark which made the characters seem to lack detail. The rest of the book was really well done and fit the stories perfectly. This is one of my favorite graphic novels I have read this year and there are a lot. I can't wait to get caught up because I am really curious to see where Nightwing's story takes him from here. There are a few series that have had a really good story line since the New 52 began. Some of my favorite heroes have had less then stellar stories and I kind of wish things would go back to the way they were. Nightwing has grown and been one of the best stry lines I have read and for now I have only read the beginning and the present. Kyle Higgins has had a great run on this series and if the books in between are as good as this I'm in for quite a ride.

I've gushed for long enough about Nightwing so let me get to the rating. In case you haven't figured it out I am giving this 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this and can't wait to catch up on all I have missed.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Fall By Guillermo Del Toro

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The Show the Strain was really good this first season. It renewed my interest in this trilogy. The first book wasn't as good as the television series in my opinion but I wanted to see where the story was going. This is definitely a middle book. Nothing really happens in this book until the very end and it really feels like that was just setting up the final chapter in this story. 

So here comes the warning. I am going to mention some things that happened at the very end of the last book/show so if you don't wan't SPOILERS then I would stop here. If you have seen the show or read the first book you will be fine. If you don't care to read these and are curious to find out what O have to say then keep reading. I'd love the company.

This book picks up right where the last leaves off. The Master has escaped and looks like an over cooked turkey. The sun may have burned him but it didn't kill him like it does the underlings. The Vampires have begun to out number the humans on this planet and our little group of survivors are taking the fight to them.

If you were to draw a graph of the plot of a book it would look similar to a mountain, at least that is what my English teachers used to tell me in school. The story starts off building to a point or climax and then turns and heads down to the conclusion. Realizing this is a trilogy I still felt like this story line was nothing more than a straight line. The very end picks up a little which I had hoped would set the final book up for one hell of a climax. I got to the end and could only think to myself "Really? You are going to go that route?". Out of all the ways this book could have ended I feel like this ending was cheesy and underwhelming.

All of this aside there were some decent moments in the story so I will still give this 3 out of 5 stars. I would say I have high hopes for the final book but my excitement is faltering. I hope the show does a better job with season two but I will wait and see. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Batman/Superman Vol 2: Game Over by Greg Pak

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I was fortunate enough to be granted a review copy of this from DC Comics through Netgalley. I have enjoyed this series and wished it was a little better at the same time. The thing I really like about this series is the back and forth between Batman and Superman, but not the dialog but the internal thoughts of these characters. Batman will think something like Clark is a Boy Scout, and then the next text box is Superman thinking something like "I'm sure Bruce thinks I'm a Boy Scout". This non verbal back and forth shows just how close the friendship between these characters is. 

The one thing I am not a big fan of is the cross over between our universe and the Earth 2 universe. I get confused as to which Batman I'm reading about, the younger one who has little experience or the older one that has this family and is not what Batman is about at all. The story in this was pretty interesting. It starts out with Mogul and his son which run through the whole book. The first part of this has a video game designer with some special technology creates a game that can control Batman like he is an action figure. Later in the book we get a pretty cool battle royal on another planet. 

I liked the story and it has its moments where it falls a little flat. Overall it is a pretty good story. The artwork is also really good in this book. At the very beginning there is this great page that is half Batman and half Superman but it is split right down the middle Making the two one character. 

This is my favorite panel of the whole book. If I could cut out all of the text bubbles and boxes I would blow this up and frame it for my future office. It would look great behind my desk on the wall of my dream writing office. To brag about the art work in this just a little more do you remember my mentioning a Battle Royal. This is one of the covers in that section of this book. 

I did enjoy this book and look forward to vol 3 when ever it is released. These have been great books so far and I love the combination of two of my favorite superheroes. Batman is of course my favorite but I have like Superman for a long time also. I actually really wondering where this story is going to take us in future books after finishing this one.

I am going to give this 4 out of 5 stars. This kept my attention and I looked forward to picking it up again every time I had to put it down. As always I am grateful for the opportunity to review this book from DC Comics. I may not get picked to review there books as often as I would like but when I do they usually are the best titles that will be coming out. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Burning Girl by Lisa Unger

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I got this email from Netgalley offering two novellas from Lisa Unger. The premise for these two books was to not judge a book by its cover so there wasn't one when these came available on Netgalley for request. I really liked this idea. I must admit that a really good cover can make me want to read a book or on the flip side make me avoid a book at all costs no matter how interesting it might sound. I threw my name in for these and was fortunate enough to be selected to review this and the other book. 

I was intrigued by the idea of a psychic who is finding out dark secrets about her past while trying to figure out the mystery behind the burning girl she keeps seeing.  I didn't realize it at the time I started this but this is the second book in the Whispers series. I read these two a little out of sequence but to be honest I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. This book reads like a single story and I didn't feel like there was stuff in this book that I would only know if I read the first one.

I will be reading the first part of this series because I was lucky enough to be granted these from the publisher for a fair review through NetGalley. I think I will stop just there. This one isn't really mu cup of tea. Still I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. Short review for a short story.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

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I'm not sure I know what to say about this book that I haven't already said in my review for The Lost Hero. I still felt like I have read this book before because of the parallels between the Percy Jackson series and of course the first book of this series. I know the two books in this series are supposed to be parallels but I again felt myself letting my mind wander away from the story.

One thing I did like about this book was the fact that we are back with Percy Jackson. He is paired with new Demi Gods and in this case they are from the Roman version of Camp Half Blood. The constant bouncing between Greek and Roman references was dizzying at times. It was hard to keeo straight what gods they were talking about. It has been quite awhile since I have studied Greek and Roman Mythology in school so I was a little rusty.

I feel like these book seem to be missing the level of action that was in the previous series. There is a lot of talking and not much happening. My hope is that these two books were just setting the stage for the series to really ramp up. I am hopeful that I didn't set my expectations to high causing me to not enjoy these books. I know the last book in this series has come out a month or two ago so at least I don't have to wait to finish these.

I really am out of things to say so I guess I will get to the rating. Just like the first book, The Lost Hero I think this is a 2.5 out of 5 Start book. I will give it 3 stars to round up. I will get to the next books in the series soon but I think I need to step away from these for awhile. Maybe coming back fresh after a book or two will help me get into a better mood for the next three books in the series. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

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I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and both my wife and a friend of mine raved about this series. They liked this series better than the Percy Jackson one so I had high hopes. Well, I wasn't all that impressed. I knew going into this that it isn't going to be all about Percy Jackson but I really didn't care for the new characters. I also felt like I had read this book already. This one was so similar to The Lightening Thief  I could predict everything that was going to happen. To top it off this book opens yet again with a class field trip where property is damaged by some evil mythological creature. 

I spent most of this book kind of bored as I just stumbled through. There were times that I thought I would just move on but decided to stick it out. In this book we have a new Demigod wake up with no memory and he is thrown into a new life with the kids of Camp Half Blood. Jason has to adjust to Leo and Piper who have fake memories of being friends with him. Nothing brings people together better than a quest. Another God is growing to rise and take over Olympus and again I find myself overwhelmed with this feeling of deja vu.

I wasn't impressed with this book but I read through to the end and that's when things got interesting. Questions were answered very quickly and pieces of the puzzle came together. I had to move on to the next book in the series. We will see how the series goes but had the ending of this book not been enough to keep me interested this would have been the end of my journey. I will give this book 3 out of 5 stars. Really this is a 2.5 star read for me but I have to pick 2 or 3 for ratings on Goodreads or Amazon. It's not really a 2 star read so I rounded up.