Glitter Vipers

Content Warning: hate crimes, bigotry, assault, suicide, and violence (a content warning is listed on the graphic novel)

I have been backing many graphic novel based Kickstarter campaigns. It’s gotten to the point where I forget that I backed them. I received my copy of Glitter Vipers in the mail this month. When I received my package, I stared at it wondering what I had ordered. When I opened my package, I was reminded how in June of last year, I backed this vigilante, drag queen graphic novel. I read Glitter Vipers the same day I opened it from its packaging and it was a fun graphic novel to read.

Before I begin writing my review, I want to highlight that I have no intention of discussing the hate crime, suicide, or violence in this book. I only include the content warning because it’s listed on the back cover of the graphic novel, so I figured it’s important to mention.

Glitter Vipers tells the story of several LGBTQIA+ people as they form the group titled Glitter Vipers. The Glitter Vipers originally belonged to a support group where they could discuss their lives amongst their own community. Each member has faced some sort of harassment, violence or discrimination based on their orientation or identity. These members are sick and tired of their circumstances, so they form their own vigilante group to stick up for their own which leads to them bringing down a hate group.

My first impression of Glitter Vipers is this bubblegum pop type graphic novel. I received stickers when I backed the campaign and they were shiny, pink with a punk twist. Paging through Glitter Vipers, the art is bright when it needs to be and dark when the story goes into a darker tone. The art itself was a huge positive for me.

On another positive note, I appreciate the way Ms. Fletcher is written. Ms. Fletcher is the villain of the story. There’s a comment she makes when she’s giving a public speech that echos almost word for word some of the comments J.K. Rowling has made about trans people. I’m sure this was intentional, but I read it and immediately this popped into my mind. The idea of a “Ms. Fletcher” type character in our society is spot on.

While I did enjoy reading Glitter Vipers, there were a couple of things I wished for. Glitter Vipers is extremely short. This novel is roughly 60 pages. I wish there was more background given for some of the characters. I felt Queenie, Cal, Mel, and Bri weren’t given enough development. I would have liked to know more about them.

Additionally, I wish there was a listing of the character’s pronouns with the character art. I can deduce which characters use which pronouns, but it’s not listed. For example, I believe Queenie is non-binary, so is it safe to assume they use they/them pronouns?? There are images in the back of the graphic novel with the pre-sketches to the characters, and I think it would have been a nice touch to list their pronouns.

I loved reading Glitter Vipers! I loved the art and the overall style of the graphic novel. I hope a sequel is eventually released. My main complaints with this graphic novel are the lack of character background and how the graphic novel is short. I want to know everything and anything about all the characters. If you missed the Kickstarter, Glitter Vipers can be purchased from Joe Glass’s online store. Joe Glass can be found on Twitter @JosephGlass

Starting a Comics Pull List

I have always wanted to start a comics pull list. I started reading comics in college, however, I wasn’t particularly fond of the comic book store in my college town. This meant starting a pull list back in Minneapolis wasn’t feasible since I wasn’t driving home consistently. Once I moved to the cities, I struggled to find a weekly comic series. I found reading trades easier than comic issues. Now, I have found at least a couple of series I’m trying to read weekly, so it made sense to finally start a pull list. I’m excited to be able to support a local comic book store weekly and get new comics! Wednesdays will have meaning for me again.

I started my pull list at Hot Comics and Collectibles. Hot Comics recently moved to a new store location in Minneapolis. It’s a quaint little shop, and it gives off a cozy vibe whenever I stop by. Hot Comics has three retail locations with two of these locations being within reasonable driving distance from my apartment. When I knew I wanted to start a pull list, I wanted a comic book store close by me. This would be a place I would drive to weekly to pick up my comics and nothing is worse than dreading a long car ride. The winter season in Minnesota makes winter driving unpredictable, and I’d hate to not be able to pick up my comics because of poor driving conditions.

So what’s on my pull list? At the moment, I have three titles on there so far. If you have kept up with my posts, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as to what’s on my pull list. First, I have Finger Guns. Finger Guns is such a fun comic series. I’m all caught up on the story, so now I’m waiting for issue #6 to release. Besides Finger Guns, I have the latest Doctor Aphra series on my pull list. The new Doctor Aphra series made me a fan of the character and her adventuring team. Finally, I have King in Black on my pull list. King in Black is the Avengers / X-Men crossover with Knull, the god of the Venom symbiote invading Earth. I haven’t been reading Donny Cates Venom series which supposedely leads up to King in Black. I never felt lost reading King in Black because the story is clear and easy to understand.

Despite having a pull list, I will read trade paperbacks. There are certain series I started way too late where I don’t think I will ever catch up to the current weekly comics. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with reading comics to have the confidence to begin a pull list. I’m happy to begin my pull list and add more titles. Let me know if you have a pull list and where your pull list is in the comments below.

2020 End of Year Book Survey

Holidays are over, and it’s time for me to recap my reading year. I always use Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Survey. At this point, I have read 61 books in 2020. I have blown past my original reading goal of 50. This is the highest recorded reading year ever since I started using Goodreads. Being in Quarantine, I found myself ordering more books, comics, graphic novels, and manga to read. I wanted to support my local businesses to ensure they remained open. Here are my answers:

**2020 Reading Stats**

Number of Books Read: 61

Number of Re-Reads: 2. To improve on my re-reads for 2021, I pulled specific books off my shelf and created a separate pile of books I want to re-read. Last year, I re-read the Harry Potter series, so my number for this was higher.

Genre You Read the Most From: Comics / Graphic Novels. I read more single issues this year than last year. I also read more romance this year.

1. Best Book in 2020

Final Girls by Riley Sager is the best book I read in 2020. This book took me on a trip. I didn’t know what was happening until the last few pages. Everything about the premise of this book is built on a plot twist. Reading Final Girls is similar to watching a slasher film. I’m a big fan of Halloween and Scream. Final Girls feels like an ode to these movies. I want to re-read this in 2021 to see if I can pick up any foreshadowing I missed during my initial first reading.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren had potential. It was a romance story taking place at a log cabin in Utah. However, I didn’t end up buying into the romance. I felt the romance between the two main characters wasn’t developed enough. By the end of the book, I wasn’t rooting for them as a couple. I felt certain characters weren’t written well which is a shame. I wish I would have liked this more. If you’re into cheesy, Hallmark movies, I bet you would have liked this more than me.

3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

I picked War of the Spark Ravnica by Greg Weisman. I have never read a Magic: The Gathering book coinciding with the release of a set. However, I’m a fan of Greg Weisman especially with his work on Young Justice. I wasn’t expecting anything while reading this book. I don’t know a whole lot revolving around the planes of Magic. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It’s not rated high on Goodreads, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

4. Best Series You Started in 2020?

The Athena Protocol is a sapphic, young adult, super-agent series. It’s the female version of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. I used to read the Alex Rider books in middle school. I have the sequel, The Shadow Mission on my 2021 to-be-read pile and I can’t wait to start it.

5. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read?

Berserk Volume #1 by Kentaro Miura. I’m struggling to find Manga I’m genuinely interested in. So far, I have read Sailor Moon, Ghost in the Shell, and My Hero Academia. I tried to get into Attack on Titan, unfortunately, I only got through the first volume. I’m discovering I like grittier manga versus the light-hearted, bubblegum manga. My Hero Academia and Sailor Moon are the exceptions to this. My brother let me borrow Berserk. This series is gory, violent, and bonkers. I’m into it. My brother loaned me volumes 2 – 4. I’m curious where the series will go.

6. Book You Read in 2020 That You Would Be Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?

Final Girls. I alluded to this earlier. I want to see if there’s any foreshadowing for the plot twists that I missed from my first reading.

7. Most Memorable Character of 2020?

Delia from Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was my favorite book character of 2020. I wanted to go into the book and hug her. Delia reminds me of me when I was her age. She’s snarky, insecure, and afraid of the future. There’s a scene where Delia is meets her dad who left her at a young age. I couldn’t stop crying while reading. It’s heartbreaking. This book is a mess at times, but Delia was one of the highlights of this book.

8. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2020?

Reading Body Positive Power, I’m trying to be kinder to my body. Megan Jayne Crabbe breaks down various fad diets, how our culture impacts beauty, and how being fat in our society is demonized. I wouldn’t say I agreed with everything Megan stated in this book, but it’s a book I would recommend anyone with a previous history of body dysmorphia to read.

9. OTP Of the Year (One True Pairing)

Stella and Michael are my everything. Michael sees Stella as being the independent woman she is. Stella likes how Michael doesn’t control her and lets her be. These two are so cute together.

10. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year?

Wes and Sadie from Finger Guns have such a wonderful friendship. There isn’t anything romantic about their relationship and while they come from different family backgrounds, they want to support each other whenever they can.

11. Book That Made You Cry in 2020?

Waves is such a touching graphic novel. This details the story of a young, lesbian couple trying to have a baby. Unfortunately, they do suffer from a miscarriage. This novel highlights the pain the couple goes through as they try to move on from this tragic event. I couldn’t stop crying. I plan on re-reading this when I’m older especially if I reach a point in my life where I’m trying for a baby.

1. New Favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube Channel

Riley Marie is a booktuber I started watching in 2020. She picks her to-be-read books for the month by pulling out a prompt from her Stormtrooper mug. Riley is fun, engaging, and her book interests align with mine. She posts videos at least twice a week, so there’s always book content for me to watch. I highly recommend her channel.

2. Favorite Post of 2020

My favorite book post I wrote this year was Pumpkinheads and the ABC’s of Fall. I read Pumpkinheads by Faith Erin Hicks and Rainbow Rowell. Even though I read this graphic novel in February, I was still hyped for Fall. I wrote an ABC’s of my favorite words coordinating with Fall. I like how the post came together.

3. Favorite Bookish Photo of 2020

My fiance took this photo of me while visiting Traverse City, Michigan. There were so many bookstores! I spent $90 on books because why not???? Before taking this photo, I dropped my bag of books because it was heavy.

4. Did You Complete Any Reading Challenges or Goals That You Had Set for Yourself at the Beginning of the Year?

I surpassed my original goal of 50 books to 61. I’m impressed with myself!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To in 2020 But Will Be Your Number #1 Priority in 2021?

I’m reading It by Stephen King. I was planning on finishing this book by the end of the year, but it didn’t happen. I’m going to ensure that I finish this book in 2021.

2. Series Ending / A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

I’m anticipating two sequels. The first is The Shadow Mission by Shamim Sarif. This is the sequel to The Athena Protocol. The second sequel is A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty. This is a mystery series set in Savannah, GA. Harper McClain is a crime reporter who’s called to a murder scene that strangely resembles the murder of her mother when she’s young. The first book didn’t answer what happened to Harper’s mom much to my shock. I’m hoping the sequel will give me some answers.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading / Blogging Life in 2021?

I’m not setting high expectations. I started a comics pull list for the first time, so I’m excited to read comics this way. I received a book gift card from my fiance for the Holidays, so I’m curious what I will spend it on. Finally, I want to re-read a couple of books I pulled off my shelf. I’m hoping life will get back to normal in 2021.

This post turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it was going to be. I guess that’s what happens when I read more in 2020. I did link the Perpetual Page Turner book prompt in the first paragraph, so feel free to write your own post. If you do, make sure to give Perpetual Page Turner credit along with posting your link in my comments section!

Star Wars & Dragons – Comic Reviews

My pile of comics I wanted to review has been stacking up. Last weekend, I stopped by my local comic book store to refill my comics. It’s close to the end of the year which motivates me to read faster to meet my Goodreads goal. I have two paperbacks, and three individual comic issues to review. Per the title of this post, there is a Star Wars comic along with a paperback featuring dragons. I’m going to start with the trade paperbacks.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Tea Dragon Society Book Cover

The Tea Dragon Society was more of a picture book than a graphic novel. The Tea Dragon Society features a mystical world where tea leaves are created by Tea Dragons. Each Tea Dragon creates a different tea leaf. Greta rescues a Tea Dragon from being maimed by a predator. She takes the Tea Dragon to Hesekiel who runs the local tea shop outside of town. Hesekiel teaches Greta over the course of a year how to care for these Tea Dragons.

Look how cute the Rooibos and Chamomile dragons are!

The art is light and refreshing. Each part of the book tells Greta’s story throughout all four seasons. I thought the Winter art was beautiful. It showed Hesekiel’s cabin lightly dusted with snow and gentle flakes flowing to the ground. The tea dragons themselves are adorable! In the back of The Tea Dragon Society, it shows the different breeds of the tea dragons and how to care for them. The Rooibos Tea Dragon looks like a baby dinosaur while the Chamomile Tea Dragon looks like a baby yellow bunny.

I loved this book. The Tea Dragons were adorable, the story was positive and overall the story had great messaging. I want to save this book for my future children to read to them. As mentioned, this is more of a picture book than a graphic novel, however, I think adults can enjoy this story as much as kids. I rated Tea Dragon Society five stars on Goodreads.

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

There’s a rumor of a witch living on the outskirts of town. Snap (full-name Snapdragon) finds her lost dog on the witch’s property. Jacks is the “witch” who Snap meets at the beginning of the graphic novel. Snap helps Jacks pick up roadkill, so Jacks can sell the put together bones online. This fascinates Snap and she becomes interested in the generic anatomy of different types of woodland creatures. As Snap and Jacks build a friendship, Snap realizes Jacks may actually possess magical abilities and Snap starts to become aware of the world around her.

Snap is a delightful main character. She’s proud of the person she is and has no shame. I like the scenes of Snap analyzing the animal bones because it introduces Snap to science. Snap’s best friend, Lu, is experimenting with their identity. There is a lot of LGBTQIA+ representation in this book which is seen in Lu and other characters. I’m all for representation as I want to read diverse stories. Snapdragon is one such story.

Snapdragon is a quirky, slightly weird fun tale about acceptance. I rated Snapdragon four stars on Goodreads.

Doctor Aphra Issue #2 Wong, Cresta and Rosenberg

Doctor Aphra & her team are aboard their ship after the shootout from the last issue. Ronan Tagge contacts them offering a deal, however, their team doesn’t take it. They fly to a new location in their search for the Rings of Vaale and chaos ensues. I like Ronan Tagge as a villain. Any person who does business on Canto Bight is shady. In this issue, we find out more about Aphra’s past as she did business with Ronan. I thought this issue carried the story and I’m interested to keep reading. I rated DoctorAphra issue #2 five stars on Goodreads.

Finger Guns Issue #1 & #2 Richards, Halvorson, Nalty and Esposito

Finger Guns follows two kids, Wes and Sadie. Wes is goofing around and points finger guns at random people. To his surprise, he can change the emotions of the recipients of his finger guns. Wes discovers Sadie can do this too. They discuss what their “power” is and why it takes the form of finger guns. I like the concept of this series. I’m curious as to how this series will go. Is their power genetic? Is it completely random? I rated Finger Guns both issues four stars on Goodreads.

This was a much longer review post than I anticipated. Let me know what graphic novels or comics you have read recently.

Carrie Fisher & Female Secret Agents – Recently Read Books

It’s been four years since Carrie Fisher has passed away. Isn’t it unreal how time passes? I remember hearing the news and feeling a sense of shock. I never met Carrie in real life, although she had a way of making you feel like she would have been your best friend. She cared about Star Wars fans while being a champion for mental illness. I finally read her memoir The Princess Diarist along with another female-centered book and I wanted to combine them into one post.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

This is the book most well known for discussing Carrie’s intimate relationship with Harrison Ford. This memoir is so much more than discussing an on-set relationship. Carrie talks about her audition for the part. Interestingly enough, Carrie auditioned for both George Lucas and Brian DePalma who was looking for the leading part in his Stephen King adaptation to Carrie. Carrie discusses how she was supposed to lose weight for her role as Princess Leia and how the role impacted her as she aged.

Carrie walks a fine line while discussing her relationship with Harrison. The description is delicate. She’s able to discuss her relationship with him without revealing everything especially since Harrison himself is extremely private. The way she describes their interactions sounds like Harrison. She also states, “How I’ve portrayed Harrison is how Harrison was with me forty years ago.” She’s able to tell this story without the bullshit and also recognizes how Harrison isn’t necessarily the same person while he was with Carrie. I think this line shows the tact and professionalism Carrie exhibits when she wrote this memoir.

Another part of the memoir I enjoyed was how Carrie discussed her fame from the saga. Carrie details some of the offensive interactions with fans as they talk about how Carrie’s body changed and how she aged since her role. Carrie respects the fans along with herself and how she won’t put up with that behavior. She talks about how exhausting it was to sign autographs while not making a huge profit off of it either. As fans, we need to respect the actors who work on the series and how they are people, just like us.

Carrie Fisher was a national treasure. She will be missed forever. I would recommend this memoir if you’re a Star Wars fan and simply miss Carrie’s presence in the fandom. I rated The Princess Diarist four stars on Goodreads.

The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

The Athena Protocol is a sapphic, young adult spy adventure novel. The Athena Protocol follows an organization titled Athena which is an all female based spy organization. They work outside their global governments to deliver justice and deconstruct corruption in various countries. The agents are well trained to handle the challenging environments they’re thrown into.

The Athena Protocol follows Jessie Archer as she’s on a mission in an African village. Her mission is to rescue women who have been kidnapped. She witnesses violence against these women and ultimately kills the man responsible. Athena has one rule, no killing. Jessie is fired and left out of a major operation happening in Belgrade. Jessie decides to work alone and flies to Belgrade to assist her team without their knowledge. Stakes are at an all-time high as Jessie uncovers new information which may jeopardize the safety of her fellow agents. Jessie is in danger and she’s alone.

One series I read a lot when I was younger was the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz starring Alex Rider, a young kid working for MI6. The Athena Protocol is this series, however, women are leading the front. Each Athena agent is given some back story. Jessie was recruited to this organization by her mother. Caitlin is a Southern belle who went to war in Afghanistan. Hala was seeking asylum in the UK and was recruited by Jessie. There’s diversity amongst all the women in Athena. I’m all for including diversity with characters in media.

The action sequences were well written and made me anxious for the characters. Jessie is put into some intense situations at her young age. The last thirty pages were intense to read. It’s surprising to me because The Athena Protocol is only 295 pages. It’s difficult to combine all the action, character development, and descriptions of the Athena group and have it all work together. Shamim Sarif, the author of The Athena Protocol is incredibly skilled at creating this world.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. According to Goodreads, I finished this book within two days of starting it. The second book to the series is out now and I’m going to ensure I order it on my next book haul. I rated The Athena Protocol five stars on Goodreads.

I hit my 2020 reading goal on Goodreads today! I still have a couple of books I want to finish before the end of the year. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spooky Themed Graphic Novel Reviews

It’s halfway through October already! Minnesota had its first snowfall last week which was way too early. The snow has already melted and we are back to the orange and red hues of fall. I have been trying to read all the horror and creepy books and graphic novels on my shelf. Here are my most recent graphic novel spooky reads.

For Goodness Sake Vol #1. Picture taken by me.

For Goodness Sake Volume #1 by K Lynn Smith

Rayne Waters is a self-proclaimed hippie. She lives on a decked-out school bus as she drives around the US. While driving, she meets Thatcher who could be a relative of Satan. His skin is red and his horns are long enough to curl behind his ears. Thatcher was put under a curse with no memory of how he turned out this way. Rayne invites Thatcher on her bus as they cruise around the US while attempting to break Thatcher’s curse.

For Goodness Sake was a graphic novel entirely funded by Kickstarter. I bought K Lynn’s other graphic novel on Kickstarter Afterglow and I have been a fan of hers ever since. For Goodness Sake was delivered to me earlier this year and I saved it for the fall to read. I missed out on K Lynn’s Kickstarter for Volume #2 and I’m bummed.

For Goodness Sake was such an enjoyable read. Rayne and Thatcher have genuine chemistry together. One of the characters in the book is on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and the way their identity is discussed is respectful of the community. In this short volume, I felt I got to know Rayne’s backstory and what compelled her to deck out a school bus. K Lynn’s art has such a unique style to it. Whenever I read one of her books, I can immediately identify her art.

I could write endless paragraphs about the first volume of For Goodness Sake. The first volume can be found on K Lynn’s website. I rated For Goodness Sake five stars on Goodreads.

Cult Classic Volume #1

Cult Classic Return to Whisper Volume #1 Rahal, Cunha, Cunniffe-Wright, Esposito, and Koh.

Childhood friends Wyatt, Dwayne, Andrew, Malcolm, Bobbi, Aubrey, Sparrow, and Cage meet in their treehouse to watch Cult Classic a local horror TV show. From the show, the kids decide to steal a journal belonging to James Benjamin Vance, the founder of Whisper. The journal supposedly shows where the hidden treasure is buried in Whisper. This story is balanced by jumps into the future as it shows the kids as adults returning to Whisper to attend the funeral of their friend.

Cult Classic Return to Whisper suffers from trying to introduce too many characters. I could barely follow all the characters and keep their backstories straight. There were a few characters I barely knew anything about, so why should I care what happens to them? The story itself wasn’t told as clearly as I had hoped. I’m still wondering what exactly happened to some of the characters as a curse may have impacted the characters.

If I were to describe Cult Classic, it reminds me of Stephen King’s It meets Goosebumps although it’s nowhere near as good. Cult Classic wasn’t the strongest first volume of the series. This is a book I would have preferred renting from the library versus owning. I rated Cult Classic Return to Whisper three stars on Goodreads.

Joker 80th Anniversary! Picture taken by me.

The Joker 80’s Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular #1

“Mariah, this isn’t a spooky read???” Yes, I’m aware this is more generic comic book reading than Halloween themed. However, Joker is one of the most notorious villains of all time, and the way Joker torments his victims could be on the creepy and ominous theme of this post, so I included this novel in this review.

The Joker was first introduced into comics in July of 1942 as an enemy for both Batman and Robin to fight against. In this 80th anniversary edition, this novel shows past covers featuring the Joker along with a compilation of various stories. One of the stories features Punchline, the Joker’s new girlfriend. While I detest Punchline’s name, I like her purple punk Roller Derby outfit. I’m intrigued by how Punchline will be involved in the newer runs of DC Comics.

As a fan of DC Comics, I thought this was a fascinating read. I liked looking at the older comic covers. It reminded me how Joker has influenced Batman and his trauma. The assault of Barbara Gordon along with the murder of Robin, Joker is one of Batman’s most threatening villains. I rated Joker 80th Anniversary four stars on Goodreads.

There are only 11 days left till Halloween and I hope you all are enjoying this spooky quarantine season.

Final Girls, The Ex & Echo Killing – Book Reviews!

I’m at 39 books out of 50 for my Goodreads goal with three full months ahead of me, can I meet my reading goal? The easiest way to reach this goal is to read graphic novels and psychological thrillers. When I think about the types of books I gravitate towards, psychological thrillers & mysteries are high on the list. I can read a 400-page mystery book in two days if the mystery is enticing. I finished reading three mystery books in a short time, so I’m combining them all into one post.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, Quincy Carpenter was the only survivor of a brutal massacre in an isolated cabin. Quincy remembers nothing of the experience as her brain protects her from the trauma. In the media, she has been labeled a “Final Girl” and grouped into a victim category with two other girls who survived their violent events. When one of the “Final Girls” is found dead by apparent suicide, Quincy is forced to dive into her memories to remember the massacre and how this relates to the death of the “Final Girl”

Reading Final Girls is similar to watching a slasher movie. In the final climax of the book, Quincy confronts her horrors and recognizes what truly happened during her time at the cabin. Final Girls had unexpected plot twists that I wasn’t fully comprehending what was happening in the story.

Final Girls was a fabulous read and my head is still spinning from what I read. I plan on re-reading this book sometime next year to see if I pick up on any foreshadowing I missed. I rated Final Girls 5 stars on Goodreads and added this book to my favorites shelf.

The Ex by Alafair Burke

Olivia Randall is a sophisticated defense attorney in NYC. She is called to represent Jack Harris who happens to be her ex-fiance. Olivia feels she owes it to Jack to represent him because of how she treated him in their past relationship. As she represents him, she recognizes Jack isn’t what he seems.

The Ex is more of a legal thriller with court scenes and legal jargon sprinkled throughout the book. I found Olivia Randall to be an unlikable character. She seems cold and ruthless, but as the book develops, Olivia gets better. The mystery itself was predictable, however, there were mini reveals I hadn’t anticipated.

The Ex wasn’t my favorite mystery book I have ever read, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. I rated The Ex 4 stars on Goodreads (I would probably rate this 3.5 stars).

The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

Harper McClain is a skilled crime reporter. She works the late shift with her partner, Miles. Harper has a unique relationship with the police allowing her to succeed at her job. Fifteen years ago, Harper’s mother, Alicia, is murdered in her childhood home. The murder has since been unsolved. Harper is sent to investigate another murder strangely resembling her mother’s case. The real question is whether these murders are connected?

Harper serves as a great main character. She’s fiercely independent and passionate about her job. She keeps investigating even though she’s told not to by several cops. Towards the end of the novel, she does what she needs to do even though it’s dangerous. She doesn’t rely on anyone to help her. As a leading protagonist, Harper is well written.

This book surprised me as I expected everything to be uncovered, but there are still so many unanswered questions. I can’t reveal any of this information without spoiling the book, but immediately after I finished The Echo Killing, I looked into ordering the second book in the series. I held off for now because I need to read more of the books in my pile, but in my next book order, I will for sure purchase the sequel.

The Echo Killing is a well thought out mystery series. I like the scenery of Savannah and how the reader gets to know Harper’s friends and where she hangs out. I’m curious to see if book #2 will answer these questions. I rated The Echo Killing 4 stars on Goodreads.

I’m always open to book recommendations, so if you have any mystery or psychological thriller recommendations, please leave them in the comments below.

Ghosts, Wars & Horror – Graphic Novels Review

I’m a bit behind in my Goodreads reading goal. My goal is to read 50 books this year. I’m at 37 books right now. I always count reading graphic novels towards my reading goal. I still have a solid stack of graphic novels to read, but I was able to finish a couple of them recently. I wanted to share my most recent graphic novels I read.

Ghosted in LA by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan and Cathy Le.

Ghosted In LA by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le. Published by Boom Box!

Daphne Walters moves to LA for college and her innocent high school boyfriend. After her boyfriend dumps her, Daphne stumbles upon Rycroft Manor, a magnificent mansion near her college campus. As she explores the mansion, she finds ghosts inhabiting the property. Having ghosts as roommates will certainly add to the college experience.

I adored this novel! The artwork was bright and upbeat. The ghosts had personalities of their own. I felt the story accurately depicted what the college experience is like. Reading Ghosted in LA allowed me to reminisce about my college memories. Additionally, there’s LGBTQIA+ representation which is always a bonus.

I cannot wait to read vol. #2. I rated Ghosted in LA Vol. #1 4 stars.

She Said Destroy by Corallo, Kangas, Nalty, and Ujimori

She Said Destroy by Corallo, Kangas, Nalty, and Ujimori. Published by Vault

Over Millennia only two gods exist Brigid and Morrigan. Brigid brings the light while Morrigan is the goddess of death. Winona is the savior who is sent to gain wisdom from Morrigan after Brigid drops her troops for a full invasion. When Morrigan tells Winona she needs to “destroy”, Winona knows what she needs to do.

She Said Destroy wasn’t great. The story was incredibly difficult to follow. This all-out invasion happens in the beginning when I barely know the back story of why Brigid and Morrigan hate each other. Winona is the savior in this story, but I hardly knew a thing about her. A major character is also killed off towards the end, but their death was glossed over.

I rated She Said Destroy Vol. #1 2 stars on Goodreads.

Glitterbomb by Zub, Morisette, Russell, and Dillon.

Glitterbomb by Zub, Morissette, Russell, and Dillon. Published by Image.

Farrah Durante is a middle-aged actress struggling to find acting work in LA. She’s a single parent and rent isn’t cheap. She’s had a rough go and finds herself contemplating her life while sitting at the beach. As she wades into the water, she’s pulled under by a black creature who invades her body. The entertainment industry tore Farrah apart, will this creature put her back together?

The art in this is horrific! The sequence where this creature inhabits Farrah and forces her to kill people is gruesome. This is a horror graphic novel by nature. The words could have been removed and I still would have paged through this novel because the art is so intriguing to look at. The alternative covers have so much detail that I found myself staring at them for a while. Glitterbomb is easily a contender for the graphic novel I read with the best art.

Glitterbomb is a horror graphic novel at its finest and is a fitting read for the upcoming Halloween season. I rated Glitterbomb Vol. #1 3 stars.

Let me know what you’re reading in the comments below. I always like having recommendations on what comics I should be reading.

BlacKkKlansman A Memoir

After viewing the BlacKkKlansman movie directed by Spike Lee, I discovered the movie was based on a book. Ron Stallworth is a real person who’s undercover investigation fooled the Klan. My expectation upon reading this book was to read about the KKK investigation with added history interwoven in the story. This book delivered exactly what I was looking for.

After viewing the BlacKkKlansman movie directed by Spike Lee, I discovered the movie was based on a book. Ron Stallworth is a real person who’s undercover investigation fooled the Klan. My expectation upon reading this book was to read about the KKK investigation with added history interwoven in the story. This book delivered exactly what I was looking for.

Ron Stallworth joined the Colorado Springs Police Department in the early 1970s. Assigned to guard police records, Stallworth wanted more from his career. In a few years, Stallworth is transferred to the undercover division of the police department. After seeing the KKK recruitment in a newspaper, he decided to infiltrate the Klan. With help from his white police officers, Stallworth convinced David Duke over the phone that he is invested in preserving the white race.

Besides reading the undercover story, Ron adds historical information to keep the reader invested. Ron discusses the history of the KKK along with the specific timeline of the KKK in Colorado. Back in the 1920s, the KKK was everywhere in Colorado. The senate, the governor, and the police were either Klan members or paid off by the Klan. For a while, the Denver airport was named after a politician who was an active Klan member. This was all new information to me. It saddens me that an airport was named after such a racist person.

One of the major criticisms I have of this book is Ron’s writing. The first page had one of the longest run-on sentences I have ever read. At times, Ron repeats statements to the point where I ask myself if I already read this section of the book. This book could have been edited better, but on the flip side, the book feels more authentic because Ron’s original writing is featured.

It’s crucial to mention the differences between the book and the movie. Some of the negative book reviews I read said this book was boring. In the BlacKkKlansman movie, Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is trying to stop a bomb plot planned by the KKK. This is added into the movie for flair, but it’s complete fiction. The book tells the story accurately, while the movie adds fictional events.

I rated BlacKkKlansman five stars because Ron’s writing didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. He does a great job detailing the chronological story of the investigation. This has to be one of my favorite non-fiction books I read in 2020

Midtown Comics Birthday Haul

Shortly before my birthday, I was going through my email when I saw a birthday coupon come through from Midtown Comics. Midtown Comics is a gigantic comic book store located in Times Square in NYC. During my first trip to NYC, we stopped by the store. I didn’t purchase anything because I didn’t want to carry it around with me. I used my birthday coupon and now I have even more comics added to my pile to read.

The Joker 80th Anniversary

Where’s Harley Quinn? She’s busy because she dumped the Joker and is doing her own thing. This edition introduces the Joker’s new girlfriend, Punchline. Punchline has got to be one of the worst names. It’s too on the nose for me. I do like Punchline’s aesthetic though. That’s about all I know of this 80th Anniversary collection, but as a DC fan, I figured this would be a necessary addition to my collection.

Finger Guns Issue #1 by Richards, Halvorson, Nalty, and Esposito

I discovered Finger Guns on Twitter. Both Richards and Halvorson were supposed to promote Finger Guns at Emerald City Comic Con this year. We all know that didn’t happen, however, I finally scored issue #1.

Finger Guns tells the story of two teenagers who can manipulate emotions through the use of displaying finger guns. This is all I know about the story. I’m interested to see what this series is all about.

Doctor Aphra Issue #2 by Wong, Cresta, and Rosenberg

I bought Doctor Aphra issue #1 and I was enthralled by the story, the setting, and Aphra herself. First issues can be a hit or a miss as they mostly set up the story for future issues. Since issue #1 was a huge hit for me, I knew I needed issue #2.

This series follows Doctor Aphra, former archaeologist for Darth Vader, as she searches for the Rings of Vaale.

I have been stocking up on comics to keep me busy while staying at home. Let me know what comics you have been reading in the comment section.