Month: June 2017

Manga Review: The Ocean of Secrets Volume #1

The Ocean of Secrets Volume #1

The Ocean Secrets Volume #1 by Sophie Chan – eBook, 170 pages – Published May 16th 2017 by TokyoPop (first published April 1st 2015)

This was a really interesting little manga. Lia, living with her adoptive family, remembers nothing of her life before adoption. When her sister takes her out in their uncle’s boat, Lia discovers a world of secrets she could never have anticipated.

Just as she thinks she’s going to drown, Lia is caught and saved by Moria and Al, sailing… through the sky. They teach her about the kingdoms floating in the sky, right in the middle of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. And they tell her about the magic they wield, like the other citizens of the three sky kingdoms.

But Al and Moria can’t go back to their home. They sail around instead, avoiding capture; Al was accused of a crime involving the Queen and Princess of Lyronaz, which he had no part in. So now they are forced to roam around the skies alone.

The Peacekeepers finally catch on, though, and Al is captured. Can Lia borrow enough of Moria’s magic to rescue him? Or will she fall back to earth – to her death?

At the end of the volume, the King is finally reunited with his beloved daughter. Al is finally accepted as innocent, but is now determined to discover who is responsible for framing him.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

The art is pretty nice, relatively simple and clear. There were a few grammar and spelling mistakes, but in general it was written quite well. If the next volume is available for review on NetGalley then I may request it.

A really interesting idea. I like the idea of the kingdoms banished to the sky. 3.5 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Volume #2: Bottled Light

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Volume #2: Bottled Light

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #2: Bottled Light by Robert Venditti – eBook, 146 pages – Published June 6th 2017 by DC Entertainment

Following on from the previous volume, the Green Lanterns are back but Hal is gone. Sinestro has been defeated, but now the Lanterns are defending a planet from an attack by Starro.

While the Lanterns are fighting Starro, Hal Jordan finds himself in some mysterious realm with Abin Sur and other deceased Green Lanterns. The remaining Guardians of the Universe summon Kyle Rayner to try and retrieve Hal.

The Starro attack turns out to be a lure, though – bait. Brainiac is behind it, having captured the Green Lanterns (as well as the entire planet). But who’s behind him?…

It took me far longer than it should’ve to understand the title of this volume…

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

This is a really, really good story arc. I like this comic series in general, but this was really enjoyable and interesting. 4 stars. As well as the great plot, the writing is clever and pretty funny.

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WWW Wednesdays

I keep putting this off again. Oops. Sorry?

What am I currently reading?

I’m just starting Red Queen, and am also reading The Three Musketeers, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. #2 and Kahayatle.

What have I finished recently?

Since the last post, I’ve finished Manga Classics: Emma, Superwoman Volume 1, Supergirl Volume #1, Blue Beetle Volume #1, Superman Action Comics Volume #2, The Jigsaw Man and Dead to You.

What am I reading next?

I’ll be starting Ocean of Secrets Volume #1Rippler and Justice League Volume 1: Origins next.

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Book Review: Dead to You

Dead to You

Dead to You by Lisa McMann – Paperback, 288 pages – Published May 2nd 2013 by Scholastic (first published February 7th 2010)

This is just a short YA book, but it was really interesting. It’s about Ethan, a teenager who was abducted 9 years ago and lived alone on the streets after being abandoned, who has returned to his family at last.

Obviously, it isn’t going to be easy for anyone. But Ethan doesn’t remember a single detail from his life before the abduction, and his brother, Blake, is adamant that he’s an imposter. The family goes through therapy together, and Ethan builds a loving relationship with his young new sister. But even with his new girlfriend, Ethan finds his new life awkward and difficult. The tension in his house is unbearable, and his own anger issues aren’t making things any easier.

I personally found Ethan’s edgy, youthful narration a bit fabricated. Almost like McMann was trying too hard to make him come across a certain way. But it wasn’t a major problem, and I still enjoyed the book.

And the ending was so unexpected, and not in the typical, predictable way. I won’t ruin it for anyone who wants to read it, but the ending raised this book from 3.5 stars to 4.

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Book Review: The Jigsaw Man

The Jigsaw Man

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton – Paperback, 672 pages – Published May 15th 1998 by Corgi (first published May 1st 1997)

My psychology teacher recommended this book at the start of the year, and as it’s about the field of work I’m hoping to go into I thought I’d read it. It did take me quite a while to finish, but I still really enjoyed reading it.

Paul Britton, a successful forensic/criminal psychologist, goes into detail on some of the most horrific cases the UK has seen. He discusses his role in the House of Horrors, the contamination of Heinz products, and the abduction of a newborn baby, as well as countless other murders and rapes.

As well as his psychological profiles, Britton talks about his personal experience with working with the police, and how his personal life was affected. He also mentions his NHS career in psychology.

Because this is my ideal career, I found this all very fascinating. It definitely isn’t a book for the fainthearted, though – Britton’s descriptions of crime scenes and offences are brutally honest and vivid, and I was honestly so shocked by the cases he worked on. As Britton says, it really does make you see the world in a whole different light when you’re aware of offenders walking the streets right now.

This was really interesting and gave a lot of insight into the life and career of Paul Britton. It didn’t glamorise the career or the offences committed. 4 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superman Action Comics Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics Volume 2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics (Action Comics III, Volume #2 – DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet by Dan Jurgens – eBook, 130 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 30th 2017)

Another great comic, featuring some of our favourite people – including Clark Kent, Superman (no, they’re not the same person), Lois, Jon and even Superwoman.

Carrying on from the previous volume, we’re waiting to discover who this new Superman is after the original Superman’s death, not to mention the mysterious Clark Kent who’s turned up too. And tying into Superwoman, Lana is still mourning the death of her friend when the replacement Lois turns up.

I’ve found this plot really intriguing – what happened to Superman and Lois Lane? Where have all these “replacements” come from?

The first issue(s) in this volume touch(es) on Lex becoming the new Superman, featuring several other famous heroes. Again, this ties in to Superwoman.

I love Jon, and it’s nice to see Lois and Clark/Superman making themselves a little life together. And I like how the different Clarks and Lois’ have their little differences as characters, despite technically being the same people. And Jon is trying to cope with the change in lifestyle, with this whole new world.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I think this is a really interesting story currently. It’s a good comic in general, and I plan to keep up with it. 4 stars.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Blue Beetle Volume #1: The More Things Change

The More Things Change

Blue Beetle (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: The More Things Change by Keith Giffen – eBook, 146 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 10th 2017)

I really didn’t know much about this comic before. All I knew about Blue Beetle is that my boyfriend pointed out how he, in Injustice 2, has a face like Groot. I just can’t unsee it now.

Another teen hero – but one that was not raised into the role. Jaime Reyes has a strange beetle attached to his back, found by him and his friends. With the “help” of Ted Kord, Jaime goes into some pretty interesting scenarios, playing hero. And then Doctor Fate makes an appearance, warning them about the scarab being “unreliable”. Extensive tests on Jaime bring to light what is happening to him.

He runs into The Posse, a gang who are well-acquainted with Jaime’s mother. And then Mordecai shows up, threatening Mrs Reyes’s life. But it’s not her he’s after.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I won’t lie, I kind of had no idea what exactly was happening half the time. I liked the banter and humour in this – especially with Ted Kord – but I couldn’t really keep up with the main plot. Maybe if I read more, I’ll understand what’s going on. I’m not sure. 3 stars for this.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Supergirl Volume #1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Supergirl (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen by Steve Orlando – eBook, 166 pages – Published April 4th 2017 by DC Entertainment

I went on a little comic spree yesterday and this is my favourite of the three I read. It was my first introduction to the Supergirl series, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more!

Kara Zor-El, the cousin to Superman, is sent to Earth while her home city is dying. She;s given a secret identity, a human life to lead under the name of Kara Danvers. Her human parents try to help her settle in and live like a normal human, going to school with other teens and even learning to drive a car. But then her father – who she thought was dead – returns, with some strange new (and very modern) changes.

I love Kara as a character. She’s a sassy teen, but she also has so much more going on. She’s from a whole different planet, she lost her parents (twice, now) and has to make decisions that no teenager could ever dream of.

And the art style in this is a bit different to other comics – more sketchy, kind of sharper. I liked it.

The overall plot was really good – Kara’s dad, Zor-El, is trying to rebuild Argon for her. But his visions are twisted, and he’s causing harm to Kara’s new family while trying to bring back her old one.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

This was easily one of my favourite comics I’ve read. 5 stars. It was so interesting and exciting and I just love Kara’s character so much.

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Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superwoman?

Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superwoman?

Who Killed Superwoman? (Superwoman: DC Universe Rebirth Volume #1) by Phil Jimenez – eBook, 170 pages – Published May 9th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published April 4th 2017)

I finished this ARC this morning, just one day before the file expires. Oops.

So the protagonist of this novel is Lana Lang – probably a lesser-known character from the DC Universe. She, along with the infamous Lois Lane, doubles as a Superwoman – protecting the city now that Superman is gone. Of course, they still have Lex Luthor playing Superman, but he seems to be bringing more trouble than good.

I won’t ruin it for any potential readers, but I will tell you this: Lex’s past is really coming back to haunt him now. After all these years, there appears to be a new Luthor on the block…

My favourite part of this was Lana’s battle with anxiety. Yeah, I know, I always point out stuff like that. But this was really good – I found it so relatable at times. It was so refreshing to see a big superhero character have human issues like anxiety.

And I actually found myself feeling kinda sorry for Lex. He was only trying to help (though I suppose we all know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions).

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I really liked this volume. The art was great, the plot interesting, and the characters relatable. 4 out of 5 stars. A series I’ll be reading more of.

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Manga/Graphic Novel Review: MANGA CLASSICS Emma

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

After reading a couple of the books in this Manga Classics collection, I decided to take a look at the other titles available on NetGalley. I’ve never read the original novel by Jane Austen, but I hadn’t read Great Expectations either before reading the manga adaptation.

Emma

Manga Classics: Emma by Stacy King (originally by Jane Austen) – eBook, 377 pages – Published June 17th 2015 by UDON Entertainment

As usual with these adaptations, I’m not going to focus too much on the story as that was down to the original author, not the author of this particular adaptation. Here’s a quick synopsis though, in case you’re not familiar with the novel:

Emma Woodhouse is a single young lady living with her father. She prides herself for her ability to see into the hearts and minds of others, and her matchmaking capabilities. Her governess has just recently married a man Emma set her up with, after all. When she acquires the friendship of Harriet, she believes herself capable of matching her with a suitable gentleman. But it turns out to be a lot more difficult than she anticipated.

And her own mind – once set on remaining single and unmarried forever – is suddenly rather confused…

It is, clearly, a romance novel. But it’s not just a boy-meets-girl kinda thing. It’s a typical Austen novel, I think, with all the misguided affections and complicated love stories all tangled up.

This adaptation is wonderful; I’m a big fan of this collection. As I’ve said before, it helps you understand the story and characters a lot better, and is really useful for people who aren’t that fond of classic literature. The author manages to keep the original tone and language (mostly) intact, while still making it a lot easier to understand and relate to. The art is fantastic, too; it really expresses the different moods and scenes, and the feelings of each character.

I’d easily give this 4 stars out of 5. I really think this collection is worth looking at, whether you’re interested in classic novels or not.

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