Monday, December 21, 2015

Graphic Novel Challenge 2016

It's that time of year again. Time to sign up and throw my name in the ring for a new years worth of Comic book reading. I always have a great time do thing this because it is something I am already doing. Anyone who reads my blog knows I am a comic book nerd. I like to have an outlet other than my blog to not only get my reviews out there but to read other ones and maybe find some great books I might have missed out on. 

Like the last few years the levels haven't changed. Here they are right from the source. 

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!)

In 2015 I took the safe bet and pledged to do the Bronze age because I knew I would be able to complete 24 books in the year. The last 2 years I have been right around 40 books. If I could get another 12 comics in I would be able to complete the top tier, Silver Age. This year I am going to try and push myself to get to 52 books. There are a lot of books out there I really want to read and this could be the year I not only shrink my to-read pile but make it to complete the Silver Age challenge.

Good luck to all who enter the challenge. I can't wait to see what everyone reads this coming year and I hope we all have fun. If you are interested in checking out the  challenge yourself click the link under the picture up top to go right to the sign up page.

Friday, December 18, 2015

White Night by Jim Butcher


I really liked this installment in the Dresden Files. Someone is killing wizards that are not part of the council but under their protection. Dresden is tasked to get to the bottom of what is going on only to find that the biggest suspect in this string of murders is Harry's half brother Thomas. While Harry is doing what he does best and solve this mystery he has quite a few struggles to get through at the same time. 

Harry has taken on the responsibility of training Molly as his apprentice. She used magic and broke on of the laws of the council. Harry has risked his life to save her from sudden death. We also see a much darker side of Harry in this book. The demon that is residing in him is starting to wear on him. His temper is getting short and Harry is relying more and more on help from the demon making him one step closer to completely loosing himself. 

I have read through a bunch of reviews about this book and the one thing they mostly have in common is they are short. So many reviews talked about how much they liked the book but there is very little reason why. I understand this. I loved this book, but thinking back on it and trying to figure out exactly what I want to say is actually really hard. I am already forgetting parts of the story. What is it about this book that leaves us readers at a loss for words when it comes time to write a review.

Here is what I can say. I liked a lot of different things about this book. First and foremost I love the characters. Harry and Murphy are great but I also really like Thomas, and Molly. The brother relationship between Harry and Thomas really makes for some interesting situations. Read this book and you will know exactly what I am talking about. Molly is the oldest Daughter of Harry's friend Michael. She is new to her powers and still trying to learn how to control them. The other thing I really liked about this book was the action. There are a lot of great scenes and action throughout the book which really kept the suspense level high and me engaged in this book. 

I really liked this book and will always recommend this series. I am not a fan of this type of fiction but Jim Butcher does such a great job writing this series that I have really enjoyed these books and I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read these. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins


There has been a lot of hype around this book and had it not been for my wife reading this for her book club I might have passed it by. I don't usually read a book because of the hype, I really need to be invested in the plot. The idea of a story along the same lines as Hitchcock's Rear Window peaked my interest. The more I read this book the more similarities I found with Gillian Flynn than with Hitchcock. 

This is a dark messed up book. Rachel has lost everything all becuase she is an alcoholic and she takes the train to a job she doesn't have so her roommate doesn't know she was fired. Each day she takes the train she looks longingly at her old house and the neighbors who live a few houses down. One day in a drunken haze she sees something but isn't sure what. Then the woman who lives there, Megan goes missing. Rachel then makes it her mission to figure out what happened. 

Here is what makes me say that Paula Hawkinns's book is very much like Gillian Flynn's. All of the characters are horrible horrible people that are not likable at all. The impressive things is that even thought the characters are horrible and I didn't like any of them, the story was so good I couldn't stop reading. There is so much mystery and suspense I couldn't wait to see what happens next. I even tried to figure the whole thing out. I got a few different things figured out but for the most part the ending was all a surprise. 

I really liked this book and I'm so glad I read it. I really could go deeper into detail but I really don't want to give anything away. All I will say is go read this book. Look past the hype unless you are reading all of the great reviews about this book. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. This was a lot of fun to read and I highly recommend it. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon by Sylvain Cordurie


I was fortunate enough to be chosen by Dark Horse comics and Edelweiss to read this for an honest review. I'm going to be honest and it pains me. This book is dry, I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and no one writes a better story then Conan Doyle did but I have enjoyed plenty of Pastiches. I have also enjoyed a few Sherlock graphic novels. This was hard to get through and I ended up skipping around. 

I was excited by the title of this book because I am really enjoying Ash vs Evil Dead and that is all about the power of the Necronomicon or book of the dead. I had really high hopes for this book because there are a few characters I'd like to see back form the dead. We do get a resurrection of an old character but I was underwhelmed. I would have expected a much better story throughout this book. I struggled to get through this book and that shouldn't happen with a comic book. 

The art work for the cover was really good as you can see above but the rest of the art work in the book was plain and lacking detail. I really wanted to like this book more but I just didn't. I also wish I had more to say about this book but I have said my piece. I didn't hate this book so I give it 2 out of 5 stars. I tend to reserve my 1 star for those books that I just really couldn't stand.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Finders Keepers by Stephen King


When you think of Stephen King, most peoples first thought is of the Horror novels he writes. There are a ton of amazing novels that will scare the pants of you like IT, The Shining, and Salem's Lot. These are just a few of my favorites but something I have been pleasantly surprised by is his mystery writing. I really liked Mr Mercedes and when I heard it was part of a trilogy with the same characters I got really excited. It took me awhile to finally get to this book but it was well worth the read. 

This book is about a vengeful reader who feels his favorite author sold out and destroyed his very favorite character. Wanting to steal the rumored unpublished work takes a violent turn. Clearing the author's safe, Morris Bellamy hides the notebooks and stolen money he stole only to be arrested for a different crime leaving them behind. Flash forward to 30 years later when these are found by a young man named Pete Saubers.

Now I am going to be honest here, when you think of a trilogy with the same characters you expect to have these characters front and center. Bill Hodges was the retied detective in Mr Mercedes and who the trilogy is based around. He doesn't show up till about 200 pages into the book. The first part is all set up with Peter and Morris which would normally loose my interest because of all the back story but not with this book.

Here is the beauty of Stephen King. King is a master at writing memorable characters that you can just love from the very beginning. Morris is our villain but he has depth and is very well written so I didn't mind reading all about his story and about how we got to the present day. The other great thing about King that I really enjoy is how he ties everything together. This book directly links to the events of Mr Mercedes and these characters have little things in their history that ties everyone together in one way or another.

This isn't a book that grabs you from the very beginning and wont let up till the very last page. This is a story. This is like a ladder, the story builds slowly laying the foundation for one heck of an ending. It is always tough for me to read an actual book. I just don't have time which is why most of the books I read are audio. When I got to the end of this book I could't put it down. I must apologize to my kiddos because this past weekend I spent a lot of it on the couch reading instead of playing with them. I could go on and on about this book but I will end it here with my rating. I really liked the story and enjoyed every bit of it, but I couldn't help comparing this to Mr Mercedes. This was not as good so I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this series and I can't wait to read the final book in the trilogy which is out in June 2016. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Message

'The Message' Podcast

If you have read my blog before you have probably noticed I mention the Web site Nerdist often. I really enjoy the Podcasts that Chris Hardwick does with different celebrities. Before each podcast he has a community cork board that allows people to advertise their different endeavors and this podcast was mentioned It sounded pretty interesting and was even better to listen too. 

Here is the description from the web site:
The Message is a new Podcast following the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 episodes we get an insider ear on how a top team of cryptologists attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message.
Each week she'll bring you the latest chapter, so it's important to listen in starting with episode 1.
The message is a co-production with Panoply and GE Podcast Theater, unlocking the secrets of healing with sound technology. 
This whole story is just over an hour and a half but it didn't feel that long. From the very fist episode I was hooked and loved every minute of this. The story was very well written and gave me goosebumps at the very end. I was really impressed. Now, I must tell you that this is a work of fiction. There is actually a disclaimer for the podcast on their website. The reason for this is because it is like an old fashion radio drama. Even if you weren't alive way back in the day most people have heard about H.G. Wells radio drama War of the Worlds. It was so realistic that people actually thought the Earth was being invaded by aliens. This podcast is very similar in that it felt real. It is very convincing and I had to keep reminding myself it was all fiction.

I usually stick to books and movies but I enjoyed this podcast so much I had to get the word out to get more people to listen to this. This is kind of a test run for GE Podcast Theater to see how many people they get to listen to this. If it does well it could open the doors for more like this.  I highly recommend this to anyone who has a spare hour and a half. 5 out of 5 stars all the way. This is available on several podcast subscriptions. I use iTunes so if you have an Apple product then use this link to subscribe to The Message.

Friday, December 4, 2015

M &M Mariam Books Blog Awards

I realize this post is a little late considering the voting has been going on for almost a month now, but I am proud to have been nominated for Best Comic Book blog. I have no idea who nominated my blog but I am really excited to have been noticed enough to be nominated. 

In the category for Best Comic Book blog it is myself and my friend Angie from Angela's Anxious Life. She has a great blog and is really tough competition. She deserves to win but I would love to as well. All I can say is if you like my blog please vote for me but if you haven't checked out Angie's then I highly recommend hers too. She also reviews book and video games. 

Thank you to all who have read my blog and to all who vote for me. I do appreciate the support. I do this because I think it is fun for me, but it is nice to know that someone out there actually enjoys what I post.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher


I really wanted to like this book. I tried and even re-read the beginning of this book three times because I was so lost with the point of what was going on with all of the characters that are introduced very quickly. I love Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and from what I have read about his he seems like a really cool guy. I also like the fact he is form Missouri.

I am not a fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy books but I tried the Dresden Files and love the series so I was really looking forward to this book coming out. This book is kind of a cross between Firefly and Game of Thrones. I like both shows but I wouldn't want to read the, As a matter of face I tried to read Game of Thrones and couldn't stand it but that is a different review. I couldn't get into this book and I found that I was reading just to rad the book and not really retaining the information. By the end of the book I wasn't really invested in the story. It pains me to say these words about a book by an author I really like.

This is my review and my thoughts and opinions so I am not necessarily saying this is a bad book, it just wasn't something I enjoyed. I know this genre isn't something I normally read but I had hope Butcher would surprise me again. I wish I had more to say about this book but I don't. Most of this book I have already forgotten because I was barely paying attention. The characters were kind of forgettable except for a talking warrior cat that was just weird. I didn't understand the importance of his character at all. I hope if you are a fan of these kind of space fantasy novels you enjoy it more than I did. I think I will stick with Dresden and don't think I will continue with this series when the next book is released.

As I had mentioned I am really sad to have to rate this book so low but I didn't like it. I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. It wasn't the worst book I have read but I struggled to get through this.