The Fade Out Act One by Ed Brubaker

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Ed Brubaker | 4 comments

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

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: The Fade Out #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 1-4 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

The Fade Out is an epic noir set in the world of noir itself, the backlots and bars of Hollywood at the end of its Golden Era. A movie stuck in endless reshoots, a writer damaged from the war and lost in the bottle, a dead movie star and the lookalike hired to replace her. Nothing is what it seems in the place where only lies are true.

My Thoughts:
I love old detective and mystery movies and this is like read in a noir book about the making of a noir movie so it was a hit for me. 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.

It opens with screenwriter Charlie Parish waking up after a night of wild partying in the bathtub of a house that isn’t his. Then he discovers the lead actress of the movie he’s working on strangled in her living room. He leaves and doesn’t call the police. The plot thickens several times before this volume is over but I can’t say anything more without giving away things but there is an appearance by Clark Gable.

The art is wonderful. Sean Phillips has created an environment that looks just like the old movies and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is fabulous. The panels are just as moody and atmospheric as you could want for a story like this but never too monochromatic or hard to figure out what was going on.

This is a three-volume story and I plan on getting the other two very soon.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Brian K Vaughan, Comics | 4 comments

Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: Paper Girls #2
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 125
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 6-10 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

After surviving the strangest night of their lives in the Cleveland suburb of Stony Stream, intrepid young newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, and Tiffany find themselves launched from 1988 to a distant and terrifying future… the year 2016. What would you do if you were confronted by your 12-year-old self? 40-year-old newspaper reporter Erin Tieng is about to find out in this action-packed story about identity, mortality, and growing older in the 21st century

My Thoughts:
I started the first volume of this series not really knowing what to expect but positive that almost anything by Brian K. Vaughan would be good. It was a little bit of science fiction, a little bit of paranormal, a little bit of nostalgia for the late 1980’s and just a whole lot of fun. Four paper delivery girls stumbled into the middle of strange events that weren’t totally explained in volume one but it was so good I’ve been waiting for Volume 2.

Apparently so were a lot of other people. I finally got to the top of the hold list at the library. I read this in one sitting and I’m already getting annoyed about having to wait for volume 3. I have a feeling that this a comic series I’ll subscribe to the digital editions of the individual issues.

Three of the original girls land in 2016 right in front of the present day adult version of one of them. It’s time travel with plenty of twists.

There’s a lot of action and adventure but there is also a lot of humor. Landing 3 twelve year old girls from 1988 in 2016 makes for some pretty funny moments.

1988 meets 2016

Click on the image for s larger version

The art is wonderful. It’s colorful and even though some of the creatures are kind of gross it’s not disgusting.

This is a comic series you should be reading either in the collected volumes or the individual issues.

Brian K. Vaughan does it again.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Corman and Shana Knizhnik

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 227
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Nearly a half-century into being a feminist and legal pioneer, something funny happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the octogenarian won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg made her name are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute. In a class of its own, and much to Ginsburg’s own amusement, is the Notorious RBG Tumblr, which juxtaposes the diminutive but fierce Jewish grandmother with the 350-pound rapper featuring original artwork submitted from around the world.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers a visually rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the Justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg’s refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation’s highest court—with the fierce dissents to match—get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

My Thoughts:
I have admired Ruth Bader Ginsburg for years. I enjoyed the Notorious RBG Tumblr from its early days. When this book was published I quickly bought a copy. Since then Justice Scalia passed away and the Supreme court became more of a battle between the major two political parties than ever before.

I was needing to read something positive and uplifting. The day after the Womens’ March seemed like the perfect time to pick this one up.

I loved it. I admire RBG even more than I did before. She has a brilliant legal mind and great sense of humor.

The book isn’t a traditional biography. It tells her story through a series of episodes from her life. It ends up being a very entertaining read. She was and is a pioneer in the legal battles for gender equality and civil rights. The accomplished many firsts for women. She also had a long, loving marriage that was truly a partnership.

There are plenty of photos throughout the book as well as some great annotated excerpts from some of her legal work and her Supreme Court opinions and dissents.

I highly recommend this.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Louise Penny | 6 comments

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny narrated by Robert Bathurst
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny narrated by Robert Bathurst

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #12 in the Armand Gamache (Three Pines) series
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 13 hours, 32 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.
Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.

For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.

My Thoughts:
I didn’t enjoy the previous book in the series quite as much as I had enjoyed the others. It was still good but just not quite what I had come to expect from Louise Penny. I am happy to say that with this twelfth book she is back up to the standard of the earlier books.

In fact, I thought this was one of the better books in the series.

There were several mysteries going on. Who killed the professor? Why did Gamache do some of the things he did? What is the story behind the map found in the bistro? And is there a connection between Armand Gamache and Amelia Choquet?

Penny doles out the clues in bits and pieces throughout the book and the final few chapters were quite satisfying.

I was happy to see parts of the story take place in Three Pines so the regular recurring characters were involved.

Robert Bathurst had big shoes to fill when the narrator of the first ten books passed away. This is the second one I’ve listened to him narrate. He does a great job of voice characterizations. I always knew who was speaking before it was mentioned.

These books can work as standalones but you’ll understand the ongoing stories if you start from the beginning with Still Life.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Fables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 2 comments

Fables, Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill WillinghamFables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #17 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 17 is a compilation of issues 108-113 of the comic series
From the back cover:

And a child shall lead them

The fearsome Mister Dark is dead, killed in a kamikaze attack by the only entity even colder than himself: The North Wind, King of the Frozen Wastes, Ruler of the Cardinal Winds — and Bigby Wolf’s deadbeat dad.

Now, with Bigby having renounced any claim to the throne, one of his cubs must take up the crown — and he and his wife Snow White must watch as the North Wind’s servants subject their children to a series of trials to determine who will reign supreme.

Meanwhile, winds of change are blowing in other lands as well: the once-winged monkey Bufkin’s impromptu revolution against the new ruler of the Pan Ozian Empire is gaining unexpected allies; Rose Red’s reconnaissance team finds good tidings at the Farm, just in time for Christmas; and in Castle Dark the former Nurse Spratt waits for the return of the Fables with bated breath — and sharpened blade.

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of shorter stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing story line.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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As You Wish by Cary Elwes – Audio Edition

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden narrated by Cary Elwes and others

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 7 hours, 1 minutes
Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Wallace Shawn , Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, and Danny Burnstein
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

My Thoughts:
This one is partially Trish’s fault. She was talking on twitter about how much she was enjoying this audiobook. As a huge fan of the movie The Princess Bride that was just the minor little nudge I needed to purchase this,

I have lost count of how many times I have seen the movie and quotes from it are a routine part of our conversation. Hearing Cary Elwes talk about his experiences during the making of the movie is an absolute delight.

He narrates most of it but there are bits and pieces here and there where his co-stars, Rob Reiner, Bill Goldman and others involved in the movie added their comments to his book. Many of these people narrate their own comments. Danny Burnstein narrates for others.

I was only a few chapters into the book when I insisted that The Hubster listen to this foo. I downloaded it to his phone and he has been enjoying it just as much as I did. I cannot wait for him to finish the book so that we can watch the movie again.

There are lots of wonderful stories about the making of the movie and Elwes tells these stories wonderfully. I’m not going to spill a lot of what he shares but I will say that Andre the Giant was clearly loved by all the cast. Billy Crystal is a nightmare when you must keep from laughing. Robin Wright’s first day on the film involved her dress catching on fire. Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all the sword fighting themselves and spent months practicing and learning from experts.

If you are a fan of the movie, then you will enjoy this book and I highly recommend the audio edition.
Check out this video on the Simon & Schuster website.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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