Lady Killer Vol. 2 by Joelle Jones

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in 2018, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Joelle Jones | 0 comments

Lady Killer Vol. 2 by Joelle Jones

Lady Killer Vol. 2 by Joelle Jones  with art by Joelle Jones

Genre: Action/Adventure
Format: Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 127
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 2 is a  compilation of issues 1-5 of the Lady Killer 2 comic series.
From the publisher:

The secret’s in the cleanup!

The killer housewife is back! The Schuller family has moved to Cocoa Beach, where life carries on as usual. Josie continues to juggle Tupperware parties, her kids, and a few heads–and things don’t get any easier for the entrepreneur hit lady when her past comes back to haunt her.

My Thoughts:
I loved the first volume of this series so I was not surprised at all that I loved this second volume too. Josie Schuller is a picture perfect housewife in early 1960’s Florida. She’s also a killer for hire. She’s a Tupperware lady with a plan for after the party.

Yes there’s plenty of graphic violence in this series but it also manages avoid being gross. There are also picture perfect early 1960’s fashion and decor. In addition, there is plenty of dark humor.

When I finished the first volume I had said I was interested in “finding out what is the story with her mother-in-law? That woman has a past, I tell you.” Oh boy was I right.

This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so I hope Joelle Jones is working on more.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in 2018, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Wiley Cash | 3 comments

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley CashA Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Genre: Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback and ebook
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 306
Source: Purchased (paperback), Library(ebook)

The Book:
From the back cover:

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to-an act that will have repercussions. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. He now knows that a new understanding can bring not only danger and evil-but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance. Told by resonant and evocative characters, A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all.

My Thoughts:
Every single one of my friends who recommended this book was right. I loved it.

The book is told by three people in alternating chapters.
Jess is 9 years old and his voice as both observer and protagonist is the one that will stick with me.

Adelaide Lyle is an older woman who took it upon herself to keep the children outside of the local church during services.

Clem Barfield is the local sheriff who has his own sad past and a history with Jess’s grandfather.

It’s the preacher in the local church who is the embodiment of evil dressed as a messenger of God.

This is a heartbreakingly sad story but it is beautifully told and I won’t soon forget these characters. The story itself grabbed me right away and was eager to find out what happened. Along the way Cash created a place and atmosphere that I could almost tactically sense as I was reading. The more the story continued the more I started to dread the outcome.

I’ve seen many reviews that stress how Cash was able to accurately capture the regional dialect and area of western North Carolina. I know I could both see and hear what was happening in my mind as I read it.

The lyrical writing is a stark contrast to the violence of the story but it all works so beautifully. I am definitely looking forward to reading Wiley Cash’s new book.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Fables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in 2018, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Comics | 0 comments

Fables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill WillinghamFables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Lee Loughridge, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #18 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 192Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 18 is a compilation of issues 114-123 of the comic series
From the back cover:

Little Girl Lost

Her sister Winter was crowned the new North Wind, but all Therese Wolf got was a lousy toy boat.

She doesn’t much like the thing – and that’s before it starts whispering to her in the middle of the night, encouraging her to run away from home. But with her father preparing [sibling] for [their] new responsibilities and her mother busy with the rest of the brood, a magical journey might not be such a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Therese’s voyage takes her to the desolate shoreline of Toyland, where dwell the broken-down playthings of the Discardia. Wooden, metal, plastic or stuffed, they’re all looking for a queen to fix their bodies and their realm.

But these toys are broken in more ways than one.

As her family – led by her wild brother Dare – frantically searches for her, what will become of Therese when she discovers the terrible truth about Toyland? And what price must be paid to save her life – and her soul?

My Thoughts:
This was so good. It was both wonderful and horrible and probably one of the more complex and interesting books in the series. The prophecy about Snow White and Bigby Wolf’s seven cubs is starting to come true.

The first child will be a king.
The second child a pauper.
The third will do an evil thing.
The fourth will die to stop her.
The fifth will be a hero bold.
The sixth will judge the rest.
The seventh lives to ages old, and is by heaven blessed.

This is a grim and disturbing tale. These are not comics for children. This is not the pretty Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

The final two issues in this volume are about Bigby Wolf’s early days. It filled in some very interesting history about him.

As usual the artwork by Mark Buckingham and others is wonderful. Part of the story is only told in images. The way the images coordinate with and expand on this story works incredibly well.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Robert Galbraith | 4 comments

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert GlenisterThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert Glenister

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #1 in the Cormoran Strike series
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2013
Length: 15 hours, 54 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

My Thoughts:
I pretty much avoided this one when it was first released. There was all kinds of publicity around the fact that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling and everyone I know seemed to be reading it. Then there were sequels so it couldn’t be bad. Then I read something about Tom Burke being cast as Cormoran Strike in a television adaptation. At the time we were winding up a binge watch of The Musketeers in which Burke plays Athos.

So I knew I would be watching the show (Strike in the UK and C.B Strike when it hits Cinemax in June) so I might as well read the book, right. BethFishReads mentioned that the audio edition was good and I had an audible credit sitting there waiting to be used so the inevitable happened.

This was wonderful. Robert Glenister does a fabulous job on the narration. His gruff Cormoran Strike and soft efficient Robin are excellent characterizations. He has quickly earned a spot on my list of favorite narrators. His performance of the story made it much better than I could have if I’d read the print edition.

Strike is a mess but he’s also an excellent detective. Robin starts out as a temporary secretary but is soon a capable part of the investigation even though she knows the job is temporary and she has to look for another. The story moves along rather slowly at first then continues to increase the pace as the investigation continues. By the end I was taking the long way home so I could listen to as much as I could before arriving home.

The story was wonderful. The characters were likeable (or detestable as needed) The case was interesting. I cannot wait to listen to the rest of the series.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in 2018, 4.5 stars, Book Review | 4 comments

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice MillardDestiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 376
Source:Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.

But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.

My Thoughts:
I had seen so many good reviews of this book I was expecting it to be good and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It’s the story of President Garfield, his assassin, madicine in late 19th century and of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of an early metal detector to attempt to find the bullet inside Garfield’s body.

Garfield was shot on July 2nd but didn’t die until September 19th. AT that time there were not secret service or bodyguards for the President.The story of the ‘medical’ care he received during that time is horrifying compared to modern knowledge. It was completely normal for doctors to stick unsterilized fingers into the Presiden’ts wound in attempts to locate the bullet.

Science would soon exceed even Bell’s expectations. Had Garfield been shot just fifteen years later, the bullet in his back would have been quickly found by X-ray images, and the wound treated with antiseptic surgery. He might have been back on his feet within weeks. Had he been able to receive modern medical care, he likely would have spent no more than a few nights in the hospital.
Even had Garfield simply been left alone, he almost certainly would have survived. Lodged as it was in the fatty tissue below and behind his pancreas, the bullet itself was no continuing danger to the president. “Nature did all she could to restore him to health,” a surgeon would write just a few years later. “She caused a capsule of thick, strong, fibrous tissue to be formed around the bullet, completely walling it off from the rest of the body, and rendering it entirely harmless.”

The story of assassin Charles Guiteau is of a mentally unstable man. He didn’t consider what he was planning to be murder. In his mind God wanted him to “remove the President’ so that the other faction of the Republican party would be in control of the Government. In actuality he wasn’t the primary cause of Garfield’s death. That distinction goes to the primary doctor.

Bell’s story is sad because he wasn’t able to perfect his Induction Balance in time to save the President.

This is up there with some of the best nonfiction I have read. I will definitely be adding Candice Millard’s other books to my TBR list.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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The Fade Out Act Three by Ed Brubaker

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Ed Brubaker | 0 comments

The Fade Out, Act Three by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips
The Fade Out, Act Three by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: The Fade Out #3
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 126
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 9-12 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Hollywood – 1948. A noir film stuck in endless reshoots. A writer plagued by nightmares from the war. An up-and-coming startlet’s suspicious death. And a mogul and his security chief who will do anything to keep the cameras rolling before the studio system comes crashing down.

My Thoughts:
I love old detective and mystery movies and this trilogy is like reading a noir book about the making of a noir movie so it’s right up my alley. It’s set in 1948 Hollywood with WWII in recent memories, McCarthy Communist hunting in full force and the Hollywood studio system in flux after Paramount lost an antitrust suit.

As this is the final volume in a three book series I can’t really say much about the plot without giving away things that happened in the first two volumes. I will say that questions are answered and a lot of background information is filled in. I will recommend that you get your hands on all three volumes and read them back to back. It’s what I intend to do now that I’ve finished.

The setting in old Hollywood and the artwork combine for a very atmospheric look and feel. Occasional real people are inserted into the story and it doesn’t feel too contrived at all.

The art throughout the series is wonderful. Sean Phillips has created an environment that looks just like the old movies and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is fabulous.

If you want an excellent story without getting involved in an extended series I highly recommend this trilogy.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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