Monday, March 6, 2017

Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1
Author: Keith Giffin
Illustrators: Howard Porter
Upcoming Release Date: February 7, 2017

Synopsis: Fred. Daphne. Velma. Shaggy. Scooby-Doo. Roaming the globe in their lime-green Mystery Machine, they've solved countless crimes and debunked dozens of sketchy supernatural shenanigans. 
But what if the horror was real? 
Something terrible has transformed our world, turning millions of people into mindless zombie hordes. And only five people well, four people and one mangy mutt have the smarts, the skills and the sheer crazy courage to stare down doomsday. 
Can these pesky kids and their canine companion using every incredible contraption in their arsenal defeat the evil that has overwhelmed planet Earth? We ve got only one thing to say about that: ZOINKS! 
From comics mastermind Jim Lee and the superstar creative team of Keith Giffen (JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001), J.M. DeMatteis (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK) and Howard Porter (JLA) comes SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, a whole new spin on the most beloved paranormal investigators in history. Get ready to give Scooby Snacks a whole new meaning! SCOOBY APOCALYPSE VOLUME 1 collects issues #1-6.



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Review: This is a completely new take on the classic Scooby-Doo characters. In this telling, the gang has yet to meet and live in a world that is on the brink of an Apocalypse full of rampaging monsters. Daphne is a journalist with Fred as her lackey cameraman. Velma is a member of a secret lab. Shaggy and Scooby are connected to the lab, but are still that comic duo everyone loves. 


I really like how these classic characters were re-imagined. Aspects of them are modernized. Shaggy's hipster look alone is very now. 

The concept is cool, but the execution isn't quite there. The story is slow and the exposition is prevalent. The art style is excellent and the designs of the characters and the monsters are really cool. The allude to classic monsters from the original series. The references to cliches from the show are done well. There's always a twist to them. 

I give this graphic novel a 3.5/5. Although I did enjoy it, I never was truly pulled into the world. The storytelling is slow and there were many dragging parts. I recommend this to Scooby-Doo fanatics, but if you're unfamiliar with the classic characters there isn't much for you in this comic.  

--PAUL

Friday, January 13, 2017

Paul's TOP TEN Books Read in 2016

2016 was a year of uneven reading for me. I read a total of 47 books, but a big chunk of those were graphic novels. And when I did read, I did it in bursts. This was another great year for YA Fantasy books with the start of a few very promising series. 2016 was also a great year for representation and diversity in YA. 2017 is only going to improve. It's time to share my favorite reads of the year. Below you will find the TOP TEN books that I read in 2016. Click on the titles or cover pictures for links to my reviews!



 MY TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2016


Ahsoka

False Hearts (False Hearts, #1)

Bloodline


Timekeeper (Timekeeper, #1)

Otherbound


Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)


Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)



What were your favorite books of 2016? What books are you looking forward to in 2017?


--PAUL

Star Wars: Obi-wan and Anakin (comic) - Paul's REVIEW


Obi-Wan & AnakinAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Star Wars: Obi-wan & Anakin

Author: Charles Soule
Illustrator: Marco Checchetto
Recent Release Date: July 19, 2016

Synopsis: Before their military heroism in the Clone Wars, before their tragic battle on Mustafar, and many decades before their final confrontation on the Death Star, they were Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his young Padawan, Anakin Skywalker. Now join them a few years into the "chosen one" Anakin's training. Teacher and student have grown closer over time, but it's been a difficult road. And things aren't about to get any easier. In fact, when they are called to a remote planet for assistance, the pair may be pushed to breaking point. As they find themselves stranded on a strange world of primitive technology and deadly natives, will they be able to save themselves? First they must learn who called for help...and why!



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Review: A new Marvel Star Wars comic set in the prequel era! Obi-wan and Anakin takes place between episodes I and II. There are a lot of allusions of things to come. The Anakin and Palpatine relationship is interesting. Other than references and characterization, this comic is just another one-off. Obi-wan and Anakin end up stranded on a planet. They meet the local, interesting people and have an adventure. It reminds me of a Star Trek episode because it doesn't really effect anything else in the overall story. 


I want more Prequel era comics! I loved all the bits that took place on Coruscant and that related more directly to the overall Star Wars story. 

I give this graphic novel a 4/5. For those reading all of the new Marvel Star Wars comics, definitely read this one too, but if you're a more casual reader you could skip this one. Unless you're a Prequel era fan like me!


--PAUL

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Timekeeper by Tara Sim - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Sky Pony Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*


Timekeeper (Timekeeper, #1)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Timekeeper

Author: Tara Sim
Recent Release Date: November 8, 2016

Synopsis: In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.



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Review: Timekeeper is a great example of a YA Fantasy with a gay protagonist. It's set in an alternate Victorian world where clock towers literally keep time in order. It's such an original idea. 


I give this book a 5/5. I want more books like this. I love how Danny's sexual orientation is just one aspect of him, but it still contributes largely to his character and the story. This is another book I should have written the review of sooner after reading the book. I can only tell you that I highly enjoyed reading this book. I finished it in just a few days. 


--PAUL

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (audiobook) - Paul's REVIEW

AuroraAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Title: Aurora
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Year Published: 2015

Narrator: Ali Ahn
Audiobook Length: 16 hours 55 minutes

Synopsis: A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, Aurora tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.

Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now we approach our new home. Aurora.


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Review: If you liked The Martian, I highly recommend Aurora. Science is at the forefront of this science-fiction novel. I liked that it wasn't just physics and engineering, too. There's a lot of population genetics and sociology. So much science goes into maintaining a generation ship, especially when things go wrong. 


There are a lot of great characters in this book, including the computer system. 

I listened to this book in audiobook format and I found it really interesting and when I got lost, it didn't take me too long to get back on track. 

I give this book a 4/5. If you're into hard science-fiction, this is a must-read. 

--PAUL

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*


Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake
Recent Release Date: September 20, 2016

Synopsis: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.



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Review: I am loving these YA Fantasies with ensemble casts! Just like Truthwitch, I absolutely loved this book. The world is big. The characters are well developed. The magic is so interesting. 


The different types of magic are so interesting. I wanted to jump into this world and explore it. This is just the first book and I am excited to more to come!

I give this book a 5/5 and highly recommend it. I know this review was pretty void of details, but I don't want to spoil anything. If you like Fantasy YA, this is a must read!


--PAUL

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Paul's REVIEW


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Upcoming Release Date: July 31, 2016

Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.



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Review: I was disappointed. There was so much potential. This just comes off as fan fiction. I understand that this is the script for a play, but the things that I didn't like are basic story elements. Those elements might be covered up by glitz and explosions when you see it on stage, but they were my biggest grievance. 


I do not like how time travel is used in this book. Time travel was done so well in the Harry Potter series. The rules introduced here seem so arbitrary and don't make sense. It seems more like a way to show scenes and characters that the audience will enjoy. 

The tacked on romance at the end is so stupid. The Harry Potter series gets flack for the relationships set up late in the series, but Rowling did an excellent job of writing friendship. This book is the opposite. It writes a budding romantic relationship so well, but it calls it just a friendship in the end.

There are good things this book did. Slytherin was shown in a different light. Complexities of adulthood and the difficulties of parenthood were shown well. 

I wanted so much from this book so maybe I am being unfair in my critique, but I give this book a 2/5. I absolutely want to see this play. I may even read this book again, but I don't think it is good. The rating is also comparing it to the standard I have for all things Harry Potter.


--PAUL