Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 in 2018, 5 stars, Book Review, Jim Kay, JK Rowling | 0 comments

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated edition by J.K. Rowling with art by Jim Kay

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling with art by Jim Kay

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Oversized Hardcover
Series: Harry Potter #3
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

The third book in the bestselling Harry Potter series, now illustrated in glorious full color by award-winning artist Jim Kay!

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts . . . he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to bother to talk about the story because we all know it. I’ve read it multiple times, listened to it once (the Jim Dale versions) and plan to listen to it again (the Stephen Fry versions) so obviously, I love it.

I adore these illustrated editions of the series. They have been released in October every year so far. I have made it an annual tradition to start reading them in January every year. The books are big and heavy so definitely not something I take with me to work. That means I read them a little bit every day so I can savor them all over again.

These editions are oversized (coffee table size) books printed on high quality paper with an attached ribbon bookmark. I’m still a little worried about what they’re going to do with Order of the Phoenix. I have to think it’ll be a two volume set or I won’t be able to lift it. We’ll see how much Goblet of Fire weighs in October.

Jim Kay has done a masterful job with the illustrations. They are beautiful. I am amazed that he has managed to create these images. They are wholly new, yet at the same time remain true to both the drawings in the original editions and the sets and actors from the movies.

I felt that Jim Kay managed to take the images in my head and make them even more beautiful than I hand imagined.

Fortunately this one didn’t have the spiders that Chamber of Secrets had. There weren’t any illustrations in this one that I had to skip.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Mudbound by Hillary Jordan – Audio Edition

Posted by on Dec 8, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan narrated by multiple artistsMudbound by Hillary Jordan narrated by Ezra Knight, Kate Forbes, Joseph Collins, Tom Stechschulte, Peter Jay Fernandez, and Brenda Pressley

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2008
Length: 9 hours, 16 nminutes
Read by: Ezra Knight, Kate Forbes, Joseph Collins, Tom Stechschulte, Peter Jay Fernandez, and Brenda PressleySource: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.

My Thoughts:
I read the print edition of this when it was new in 2008. I loved it. When I saw the trailer for the Netflix film version I decided I wanted to reread the book before watching it. I chose to reread by listening to the audio version. I think I loved it even more the second time around.

The book is formatted with alternating chapters told by six of the characters. Sometimes their chapters overlap. The six narrators representing those six characters do a marvelous job. I think the story was more impactful in the audio format than the print. The writing was beautiful to begin with but the narrators made it even better.

If you haven’t read this book or even if you have the audio edition is excellent.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

5 stars 5/5 for the book

4 stars 4.5 for the narration

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Descender Book Four: Orbital Mechanics by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Sep 8, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 2 comments

Descender Book Four: Orbital Mechanics by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin NguyenDescender Book Four: Orbital Mechanics by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin Nguyen

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Descender #4
Format: Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 4 is a compilation of issues 17-21 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

Tim-21, Telsa, and Quon finally escape the Machine Moon and head out on a quest to find the ancient robot who may hold the key to the Harvesters. Meanwhile Andy and his ragtag team close in on Tim, but their fragile alliance is shattered by Driller’s revelations.

My Thoughts:
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Jeff Lemire. This science fiction series he’s doing with Dustin Nguyen handling the artwork is wonderful.

This is volume 4 so the story is well in progress and the synopsis won’t make a lot of sense if you aren’t already reading the series.

My point here is to tell you to get your hands on this comics series and start reading it. You too will fall a little in love with a robot boy and have stronger than you expected feelings about a robot designed to drill mines.

The previous volume focused on the back stories of several of the main characters. This one jumps right back into the action and takes off.

The story is wonderful and the artwork is equally good. It’s done in watercolors which gives it a whole different feel than many comic series.

You need to read this series.

a9741-rating_5stars Rating 5/5

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Secret Path by Gord Downie

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Secret Path by Gord Downie with art by Jeff LemireSecret Path by Gord Downie with art by Jeff Lemire

Genre: History
Format: Music plus graphic novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 96
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Secret Path is a ten song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

Chanie’s story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this book and music in my LibraryThing group. I was immediately interested because Jeff Lemire did the artwork and as you know he’s one of my favorites. It wasn’t readily available but I was able to get a copy throuth interlibrary loan.

This is much more than the graphic novel. The music is an integral part of Chanie’s story. The only text in the graphic novel is the lyrics to the songs by Downie.

Secret Path Screenshot

After reading the book I watched the animated film that was created from Downie’s music and Lemire’s art. It’s about an hour long but in my opinion the best way to experience this story.

In all of it’s formats Chanie Wenjack’s story is heartbreaking. In the music of Gord Downie and the art of Jeff Lemire it is one of the most beautifully heart wrenching stories I’ve ever experienced.

This is the film which is about an hour long followed by an hour long panel discussion. Secret Path is bookended by Downie’s visits with Charlie’s family. Save this link and watch it when you have time.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Roughneck by Jeff LemireRoughneck by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Gallery 13
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 272
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Derek Ouelette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too much and fighting anyone who crosses him. But he never counts on his long-lost sister, Beth, showing up one day out of the blue, back in town and on the run from an abusive boyfriend. Looking to hide out for a while, the two siblings hunker down in a secluded hunting camp deep in the local woods. It is there that they attempt to find a way to reconnect with each other and the painful secrets of their past…even as Beth’s ex draws closer, threatening to pull both Derek and Beth back into a world of self-destruction that they are fighting tooth and nail to leave behind.

My Thoughts:
Yes. I know, another Lemire. He’s being rather prolific this year and I can’t help it. I love his work and this one is no exception.

For this one he’s back to doing his own artwork. He has a distinctive style and I’m happy to see it again. He’s done the main story is blues, white and black. It’s the colors of the landscape in wintertime in remote northern Canada. He’s done the flashbacks in more color as well as the danger and violence in the present to underscore the connection.

The story, as with much of Lemire’s work, deals with emotional issues. It’s about family dysfunction, loss, healing, and breaking the cycles of violence and abuse. It’s a dark story but one that draws you in and tugs at your emotions.

Here’s a video from the publisher that include some of the first few pages and some comments from Jeff Lemire.

I know I always highly recommend Lemire’s work but seriously do yourself a favor and read this one.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff LemireBlack Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire with art by Dan Ormston

Genre: Superhero Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Black Hammer series
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 184
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-6 of the comic series
From the publisher:

Once they were heroes. Now, banished from existence by a multiversal crisis, the old champions of Spiral City lead simple lives in a timeless farming town. But as they attempt to free themselves from this strange purgatory, a mysterious stranger works to bring them back into action for one last adventure!

My Thoughts:
I know. Another Lemire. I can’t help it I love his work and this one is no exception. This is the first trade paperback collection of this new series. Lemire wrote it and Dean Ormston did the artwork. In fact, Dean Ormston did the artwork after suffering a brain hemorrhage that affected the right side of his body. He’s right handed and had to recover from having his drawing hand partially paralyzed. It’s a bit of a superhero story about the making of a series about superheroes.

This is a superhero story but with a distinct Jeff Lemire feel to it. The characters’ superhero days seem to be behind them. They are living in a farming community and hiding their identities and talents. How they got there and whether they can leave is unknown. Each issue focuses on one of the main characters and both gives their background as well as filling in bits and pieces of the story.

This is clearly an introductory and stage setting book with much of it devoted to filling in who the characters are more than moving the story forward. It’s a twisty story too. Time and space shifting keeps the settings interesting and give Dean Ormston plenty of opportunities for creating different scenes.

I’m hooked and highly recommend this. I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until the next collected edition is released. I’m going to have to subscribe to the individual issues of this series.

a9741-rating_5stars Rating 5/5

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