Chew Vol. 5: Major League Chew by John Layman

Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Book Review, Comics, John Layman | 0 comments

Chew Vol. 5: Major League Chew by John Layman

Chew Vol. 5: Major League Chew by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #5 in the Chew series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 120
Source: Library

*Note – this is volume 5 so spoilers for previous volumes are inevitable

The Book:
This volume 5 is a compilation of issues 21-25 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Tony Chu – the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats – has been kidnapped. He was ambushed, knocked out, brought to a remote location, and bound securely. His captor intends to feed Tony from a menu of his choosing, to find out what Tony can see, in order to learn from him. His daughter Olive has been kidnapped for the exact same reason. Two kidnappers, two captives, and two very different outcomes.

My Thoughts:
This series just gets weirder and more fun with every volume. Tohy has been demoted to traffic division and for unexplained reasons wears a kilt and rides a Segway while on duty. His partner has been transferred too and is working at the USDA with a new partner even stranger than Tony. Then it turns out that Tony’s daughter Olive might be even more gifted than her dad.

Some previous characters show up as well as some new people with different food related special power. One can sculpt chocolate in a way that it’s as real as what it’s supposed to look like (think deadly chocolate sword).

The artwork by Rob Guillory is colorful and fun and manages to present some bizarre stuff in a way that isn’t completely gross. There is plenty of funny stuff in the background of the main action.

I know it sounds a bit disgusting but I definitely encourage you to give this series a try.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Tony Akins and Jim Fern

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #8 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 126
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 8 is a compilation of issues 41-46 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
The newly dragonified Jack of Fables has finally found contentment in the form of a huge pile of gold upon which he can rest his enormous, scaly bulk. Contentment, however, never makes for an interesting story – which is why Jack isn’t the star of this exceptionally exciting collection.
Instead, his son Jack Frost takes center stage, traveling through a kaleidoscope of worlds in search of chivalric adventure and entry-level heroism. Along the way, his unique brand of open-hearted altruism will yield some cruelly valuable lessons regarding human nature – provided he can survive the endless waves of assassins that his efforts inevitably stir up.

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the increasingly insufferable Jack of Fables was totally absent from this volume of the series. This one is all about his son Jack Frost and his endeavors to become a hero. There are also occasional visits from Babe the Blue Ox and his remarkably hilarious fantasy life.

Jack Frost is determined to become a hero but he doesn’t think ahead very far before jumping in to help. His help has a tendency to be less than helpful. His sidekick Macduff the owl is a great character. He tries to rein Jack in but he’s not always successful.

This is the penultimate volume in the Jack of Fables spinoff from the main Fables series. They haven’t been nearly as good as the main series and I’m glad there’s only one more.

The artwork continues to vibrant and the story allows the artists to create some new and interesting settings. Some of it looks a little more science fiction that fantasy.

This one was actually OK but that was helped by the lack of Jack.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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Chew Vol. 4: Flambé by John Layman

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Book Review, Comics, John Layman | 2 comments

Chew Vol. 4: Flambé by John Layman

Chew Vol. 4: Flambé by John Layman, with art by Rob Guillory

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #4 in the Chew series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 4 is a compilation of issues 16-20 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

These are strange times for Tony Chu, the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from the things he eats. Strange writing in extraterrestrial script has appeared in the skies of Planet Earth – and stayed there People don’t know if the end days are upon them or not, but they don’t seem terribly concerned about the laws of the FDA, and what was once the most powerful law enforcement agency is rapidly descending into irrelevancy. So where does that leave the FDA best agent, Tony Chu?

My Thoughts:
This series is bizarre but and filled with seriously dark humor but in such a fun way. The gist of the initial plot is that in the aftermath of bird flu (or possibly a government conspiracy) poultry meat is banned and chicken is a hot black market item. Tony’s psychic ability is triggered by whatever he ingests or tastes. He definitely tastes some strange and downright gross stuff along the way.

The added complication in this volume is the appearance of fiery writing in the sky in an unintelligible language. This makes the regulation of poultry meat rather unimportant but Tony Chu and his partner still have plenty of crime to investigate.

Tony’s family members continue to play increasingly more important roles. His sister was a great addition to this volume. There are also more food related special powers introduced. One character is brilliant but only as long as he keeps eating.

The artwork by Rob Guillory is colorful and fun and manages to present some bizarre stuff in a way that isn’t completely gross.

I know it sounds a bit disgusting but I definitely encourage you to give this series a try.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Book Review, JK Rowling | 2 comments

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Children’s High Level Group
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 108
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.

Additional notes for each story penned by Professor Albus Dumbledore will be enjoyed by Muggles and wizards alike, as the Professor muses on the morals illuminated by the tales, and revealed snippets of information about life at Hogwarts.

A uniquely magical volume, with illustrations by the author J.K. Rowling, that will be treasured for years to come.

My Thoughts:
I actually bought this little book several years ago but it’s been sitting unread on my shelf since then. When I decided that I was going to make an effort to Read My Own Damn Books in 2016 I put all my unread books that I still wanted to read on a couple of shelves and this one was included.

I decided to read it this week because I was still in a Harry Potter mood after reading the Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s a cute little book. There are five stories that are introduced as the wizarding world’s version of our familiar fairy tales. After each story are notes by Albus Dumbledore about the tales and how they had been received over the years among the wizarding world.

In retrospect this book is much more closely related to the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I will likely read it again before I get around to that volume of the series on my next reread or listen.

It’s a little side note in the world of Harry Potter, it’s certainly not required reading but I’m glad I read it anyway.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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Nutshell Review – Audiobook – A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in 2015, 3 stars, Audio, Book Review, Rhys Bowen | 1 comment

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen narrated by Katherine Kellgren

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #2 in the Royal Spyness series
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: Originally 2009, this edition 2010
Length: 8 hours, 57 minutes
Read by: Katherine Kellgren
Source: Purchased


The Book:

From the publisher:

The Queen of England has concocted a plan in which penniless aristocrat Lady Georgie is to entertain a Bavarian princess and conveniently place her in the playboy prince’s path, in the hopes that he might finally marry.
But queens never take money into account. Georgie has very little, which is why she moonlights as a maid-in-disguise. She must draw up plans: clean house to make it look like a palace; have Granddad and her neighbor pretend to be the domestic staff; un-teach Princess Hanni the English she’s culled from American gangster movies; cure said princess of her embarrassing shoplifting habit; and keep an eye on her at parties.
Then there’s the worrying matter of the body in the bookshop and Hannis’ unwitting involvement with the Communist Party. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy.

My Thoughts:
This is a fun series. I read the first one in print and had heard a recommendation for the audio editions so decided to give that a try.

I’m glad I did. Katherine Kellgren does a good job with a cast of characters with a cast of characters from a variety of places and social classes. She’s fun and entertaining to listen to while I’m driving.

Set in 1932 London where Lady Georgianna (Georgie) Rannoch is 34th in line to the throne but penniless and unable to get a job because for women in her class that’s just not done.

The titular Royal Pain is the visiting Bavarian Princess that the Queen orders Georgie to entertain. The Queen also want’s Georgie to try to use Princess Hanni to divert the attentions of the Prince of Wales away from the American Mrs. Simpson.

This is a charming light cozy mystery series set in one of my favorite places and eras. The mysteries aren’t nearly as involved as all the social politics and rules.

I will probably continue this series in the audio format.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

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Audiobook – Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in 2015, 3 stars, Audio, Book Review, PG Wodehouse | 3 comments

Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: Originally 1934, this edition 2006
Length: 6 hours, 4 minutes
Read by: Jonathan Cecil
Source: purchased

The Short Version:
The first full length novel featuring the impeccable and brilliant valet Jeeves and his hapless employer, Bertie Wooster.

Why I Read It:
After reading several of the Jeeves and Wooster short story collections I listened one and now prefer them as narrated by Jonathan Cecil.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Bertie’s enthusiastic banjolele playing inspires his neighbors to have him evicted – and it’s even enough to move his able butler to give notice. But the two aren’t parted for long: Bertie moves to a cottage on Baron Chuffnell’s country estate, and “Chuffy” naturally hires the now-available Jeeves for himself. To Bertie’s surprise, Chuffy is also hosting an American millionaire and his fetching daughter, Pauline, who once was engaged to Bertie. When her father decides that Bertie must make an honest woman of Pauline, even though she only has eyes for Chuffy, the millionaire holds Bertie captive on his yacht. Thank goodness Jeeves is there to aid in Bertie’s escape by disguising him – although the disguise leads to more trouble for Bertie, particularly with the local police. Fortunately, Jeeves just might have a solution that will fix everything.

My Thoughts:
As with the the previous Jeeves book I listened to (Very Good, Jeeves) the highlight for me is Jonathan Cecil’s narration. He has a wide and varied cast to portray in his narration and does it wonderfully. I just love listening to him narrate these books.

The book however wasn’t quite so much of a delight for me as the previous ones. After getting used to the short story format it was quite different to have Wodehouse shift to the longer form novel length for this story. It was entertaining enough but being used to the short story format it felt drawn out a bit.

It still had the usual Bertie and friends getting themselves in trouble and being rescued by Jeeves. There was plenty of ridiculous and ovecomplicated plots by Bertie that naturally didn’t work.

The trouble with a book that was written in 1934 is that in a far different place and time the n-word and blackface were viewed quite differently than they are today. It was a little jarring to hear but minor points in the book.

The same is true of this novel as with the earlier short stories. It’s a story that is easy to drop and pick up again with listening to only a few minutes at a time. The humor is light and witty with the occasional laugh out loud moment. I will continue with the audio format for Wodehouse because I enjoy it so much more than reading them. I’m curious to find out how the next one is since it’s another novel

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

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