Books

Books

Tue
27
Nov

Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps

Where Dragonwoofs Sleep

When thirteen-year-old Ben wakes up in a fantasy land called Meridia, he encounters evil faeries, transparent elves, and others like him called 'weeds.'  The world he has entered is disappearing, or 'fading.'  All things are vanishing.  ”What once was, never was.”  Fortunately, Ben is wearing a watch, albeit broken, that can stop the Fading.  He befriends brother elves, Tamerlane and Charlemagne, as well as other weeds Queen Regent Avery and Marcus.  They are attacked, and barely escape one of the Sovereign’s generals in the queen’s crystal castle.  Together they set out on an adventure to find The Creator to stop the Fading.  During the journey, they acquire three dragonwoofs, creatures Ben describes as, “You really are just a dog, aren’t you?”  The dragonwoofs used to be able to fly and breathe fire; but no longer, and they are almost extinct in Meridia.

Fri
09
Nov

Just in Time for Christmas -- DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments

100 Greatest DC Superheroine Moments

Following up on his chronicling of the Justice League's 100 Greatest Moments, comics historian and science fiction veteran Robert Greenberger manages to top himself with DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments. And while I wasn't particularly fond of the artwork selected for the packaging, finding it not particularly attractive, there's an adage about "books and covers" that comes into play.

This beautiful hardcover book isn't one that you rush through. You linger over each page and, if you're like me, you find yourself in one of two places: you're either recalling happily the first time you saw this event happen, perhaps when it was new to everyone, or you find yourself discovering something you've never known happened and now have something to seek out and add to your collection.

Sun
14
Oct

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Book and Mega Model -- A Lesson in Frustration

Millenium Falcon Book and Model

If you have high blood pressure or low stress thresholds, be warned. This book is probably not for you.

No, that's not a knock on the last STAR WARS film, SOLO, which doesn't even come into play in the historical timeline presented in this book. I haven't even seen that film to comment on it. (It does include milestones from THE FORCE AWAKENS, which I have seen, but I'm not going to hold that against the book either.)

No, the triggering factors of this book are not what you read out of it, but what you punch out of it.

You see, while this is a rather thick book, the reading portion is not that many pages. The rest of the book is cardboard pages with perforated sections that, when following the instructions in order, ostensibly can be assembled into a 3D replica of the Millennium Falcon itself.

Provided, of course, you have patience, skill, patience, and probably a half a tube of super glue. Also, patience.

Sat
13
Oct

Star Wars Writer Goes to the Dark Side, Ousted by The Force of Marvel

Shadow of Vader

"Fear is the path to the Dark Side.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

If Master Yoda hadn't lived a long time ago, and in a galaxy far, far away, he might have said that it also leads to termination. That's what Star Wars writer Chuck Wendig discovered when he took to Twitter in the aftermath of the confirmation of Brett Kavenaugh to the Supreme Court.

The Kavenaugh hearings were a hotly contested subject of conversation in social media, with both sides absolutely convinced the other side was sheer evil, and had to be defeated. So it should come as no surprise that there were many less-than-civil discussions to be had.

But one would think that someone who was as versed in Star Wars lore and Chuck Wendig should be would have recognized the roadsigns, and heeded them rather than plowed over them. Here's how it played out.

Wed
03
Oct

Rex Royd Revels in Radical Restructuring of Reality

Imagine if Lex Luthor was about a million times smarter, and his avowed enemy wasn't Superman, but the reality that created Superman in the first place.

That's (maybe) the plot of REX ROYD, a disjointed collection of mind-f*cks from the mind of Frankie Boyle and Jim Muir. 

Rex is a businessman, CEO of Rexcorp. What the company does is hard to say, There's an indestructible superbeing who helps him, an unnamed British agent with a license to kill, and Eve -- the biblical Eve

The ostensible target is Proteoman -- the book's analog for Superman. Thing is, seems he dies a couple of different times in the book. And as for truth and justice, he seems to just fight because he exists.

Sat
22
Sep

Whatever After: Abby in Wonderland

Whatever Ever - Abby in Wonderland

Abby is eleven years old and lives in Smithville with her mother, father, Jonah her younger brother, and their dog named Prince.  Abby and Jonah have a secret fairy friend named Maryrose who is trapped in a mirror in their basement.  Abby, Jonah, and even Prince typically go on fairy tale adventures when Maryrose helps them enter through the mirror.

Tue
04
Sep

The Pros of Cons (Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman)

The Pros of Cons

Callie is an only child of a world-renowned taxidermist.  She helps her father in his shop as his assistant.  Callie’s mother and father are divorced and, since the divorce, this is about the only time she spends with her dad. 

 

Thu
16
Aug

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

House with Chicken Legs

Marinka is twelve-years-old and lives with her Baba, or grandmother, and her pet bird, a jackdaw named Jack.  Marinka’s grandmother is a Yaga, a Guardian who guides dead people through “The Gate” so they can return to the stars and complete the cycle.  Marinka never meets people who are alive, as they must keep their distance from the living, but she yearns for a real friend and a normal life with the living.

The most unusual and amazing thing about Marinka’s life is her house.  Her house is the home to The Gate; it cares for, comforts, and protects Marinka; and moves on chicken legs at will.

Thu
09
Aug

Greenberger Lays Out Justice League's 100 (or so) Greatest Moments

Justice League 100 Greatest Moments

Every comic book fan has a secondary hobby, whether they realize it or not. It goes beyond the enjoyment of four-color adventures and into the realm of subjective statistics. I'm speaking of course of the ranking system everyone keeps of Top Ten this or Worst Ever that. It's almost always a trap, and everyone's list may overlap with someone else's but will almost never be the same.

So when comics and science fiction veteran editor Robert Greenberger says he's compiled the Justice League's 100 Greates Moments, you can be almost assured he's missed something on your list, and included something you've either missed or dismissed.

Tue
31
Jul

Summer Memories Made with Ochiltree's "It's a Firefly Night"

It's a Firefly Night

A daddy takes his adorable little girl out in the evening hours when the moon and stars are in the sky to catch fireflies.  The little girl is barefoot and in her pajamas.  She counts the fireflies she catches, and they light up her jar and glow in the night.  She loves looking at the fireflies but knows she cannot keep them.  She takes one firefly out of her jar, and she tells it good-bye as she lets it fly away.  The little girl empties her jar and sees many sparkling and shining fireflies all over her backyard like tiny stars.  She and her daddy return to their home while she hopes for another firefly night tomorrow.

Wed
25
Jul

The Boy Who Went Magic by A.P. Winter

Pirates, airships, and floating castles … Oh My!  Bert is dropped off at a boarding school at the young age of three by a cloaked man of mystery.  He is said to be an orphan from the streets.  Bert’s world has a strong government presence, with the royal family fighting to regain more power.  Prince Voss is the head of the royal family and is determined to take over at any cost.

When Bert is thirteen, his school goes on a museum field trip.  Here, things start to happen…magical things!   Bert meets his first pirate, the Professor.  Bert is also drawn through a mirror and begins seeing and hearing things no one else around him can.  He also experiences his powers for the first time.

Thu
19
Jul

Smiley's Dream Book by Jeff Smith

Smiley's Dream Book by Jeff Smith

Smiley is an adorable character who takes a walk through the woods on a beautiful day.  The sun is shining and the birds are joyfully singing.  Smiley decides to count the singing birds he sees in the trees and flying around.  When he gets to twelve birds, he realizes there are more birds than he can count.  Smiley decides to just fly around with the birds and enjoy the day and their song.  Smiley and the birds are very happy until a large, mean bird appears scaring all the birds.  The mean bird chases and snaps at the smaller birds until Smiley confronts the large bird.  The large bird abruptly stops in its flight.  Smiley scares it away.  All the small birds hug Smiley, and they continue to fly around and sing happily.  Smiley then counts the birds backward from ten to one as he descends back to the ground.  And so the story goes, Smiley wakes up.  It was all just a dream!  

Thu
28
Jun

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts

Some of us have parents who are lawyers, plumbers, doctors, investment brokers, pharmacists, or police officers.  Cassidy’s father is a history scholar. Her mother fills in the history with ghost stories, and together they write books.

The family lives in up-state New York with a cat named Grim.  Cassidy loves taking pictures with her clunky, vintage camera.  Unknown to her parents, Cassidy’s life intersects with their careers.  Cassidy was thrown over the railing of a bridge and drowned in the cold river while attempting to take the perfect sunset picture.  However, a ghost named Jacob pulled Cassidy from the water.  Now Cassidy can cross the “Veil” between the living and the dead, and Cassidy and Jacob form a special bond.

School is ending for the summer, and Cassidy’s parents have agreed to take the family along while recording documentaries for TV in different haunted cities around the world.  Their first adventure is in the old city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Fri
15
Jun

Geek Goddesses Inhabit Alvarado's Cosplay Pin-ups Photography

Alvarado's Cosplay Pin-ups

I'd like to think that cosplay started simply enough; that fans saw a character, realized they could make themselves look like that character, then surprise their friends and fellow fans at conventions by showing up in imitation of that character. I'd like to think that this came first, before cosplay became inartfully synonymous with fetish photography and roleplay sexuality, but they probably happened nearly concurrently, as certainly some of the costumes couldn't exist in real life without being conforming, revealing, and fetishistic.

Wed
06
Jun

A Journey of Discovery at Core of Weil's 806

806 by Cynthia Weil

If you did not know who your biological father was, would you break the law to find out?  How far would you go?

Katie, or KT, is a teenager who wants to know her biological father.  Her mother, Kim, finally tells Katie where to find, who Katie believes to be, her biological father.  Truth be told, Katie learns her mother and father used a sperm donor: Donor 806.  Through social media, Katie learns of two boys who are also recipients of Donor 806.

The three of them set out on a journey together to find their biological father.  Their experiences are enjoyable, worrisome, and amusing.  Imagine three extremely different teenagers, from three very different homes, on limited funds, driving together to find a man who does not necessarily want to be found or know “his kids” are seeking him out.  All three teenagers have very strong, but different, reasons for wanting to find their biological father.

Mon
04
Jun

Gerald Welch talks Legacy with Critical Blast

Having grown up in Jersey City and spending most of my working life in Newark, New Jersey, I have always had a great love and respect for Warren Murphy’s The Destroyer series. Warren himself was born in Jersey City, and his most iconic character, Remo Williams, started out as a Newark cop. Don’t tell Chiun I called Remo more iconic than him, he would not appreciate that at all….

I had lost track of the series over the years, but I was definitely curious when I heard that Warren Murphy had developed a spin-off called Legacy with Jerry Welch. I immediately fell in love with Legacy. Freya and Stone are terrific characters, and in just a few short books, Murphy and Welch have managed to expand the world of The Destroyer in some brilliant new ways. Jerry has been wonderful about answering any questions I have had about the series over the last few years, and I was glad to be able to sit down with him and do a full form interview.

Fri
01
Jun

Cirsova, Little Rocket Team Up to Publish WILD STARS III: WARMAGEDDON

Wild Stars III Time Warmageddon

Cirsova Publishing has teamed up with Little Rocket Publications on the eve of the 35th anniversary of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars® to publish a special edition of WILD STARS III: TIME WARMAGEDDON.

Faster-than-light scouts are arriving at distant suns to discover that they have been “replaced” by white dwarfs and their planets have gone missing… Terraformers find a world that shows signs of previous human colonization: who were those people and where did they go? The saga of the Wild Stars continues as former-President Bully Bravo seeks to solve these mysteries while pursued by an evil pirate queen and a rogue time-traveler trying to create a god.

Tue
22
May

Mystery, Intrigue and Friendships Drive Piontek's Spirit of Cattail County

Spirit of Cattail County

Sparrow Dalton is a 12-year-old girl living in the small town of Beulah. Her mother has just died, and to make matters more difficult, she never knew who her father was.  Sparrow’s aunt (her mother’s sister) has come to live at Dalton House to take care of Sparrow. Auntie Geraldine is strict, does not like Beulah, and Sparrow thinks she hates her. 

Mon
21
May

Wild Wild Weasel a Fun Fun Book

Wild Wild Weasel

Wild Wild Weasel begins with a young boy and his best friend and pet, Weasel.  Sadly, his parents have rules for his pet because they think Weasel is just a wild animal.

When the boy receives a school assignment to write about something he learned in a book, he decides to read a book that would help him train Weasel to be more obedient.  Unfortunately, he cannot find a book at the library, but he is not discouraged.  He knows Weasel is talented, but he has to find a way to show others.

The boy decides to take Weasel to a pet training class.  Others in the class have pets like lizards, snakes, pigs, and butterflies.  The boy and Weasel do not graduate, even though the boy had high expectations they would be #1 in the class.  But Weasel continued to be wild during the class, and the boy left class very sad.

Fri
18
May

Bellin's ECOSYSTEM Beautifully Served, Bitter to Swallow

Ecosystem

​Imagine a sentient, hostile world focused on the destruction of all human life. In Joshua David Bellin's ECOSYSTEM, Mother Earth has rejected her evil human inhabitants, driving them near extinction. Only small pockets of humanity remain, having evolved to combat their inevitable destruction by becoming "in tune" to the language of nature--a language that requires using previously untapped human abilities, a sixth sense requiring extreme mental energy, emotional control, and physical exertion. This "Force of Nature" is the only gift that allows humanity to exist on the planet. These highly gifted individuals serve important roles in the community, taking back from nature what it previously provided, such as food, wood, shelter, and other natural elements used for the benefit of mankind.

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