Free Comic Book Day – 2022

Last weekend was Free Comic Book Day. Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May when comic book stores have free comics to pick from. I try to participate in Free Comic Book Day every year with the exception of the Covid pandemic or if I’m out of town for the weekend. I wanted to share my comic book stop along with my massive comic haul.

The weather on Free Comic Book day was gorgeous! It was sunny, 70 degrees, and a blowing breeze which was a nice balance with the sun. I visited my local store, Hot Comics, and Collectibles at their Minneapolis location. Since it was nice out, the free comics were on tables outside to peruse. I took a few titles that caught my eye before wandering inside.

I won’t share every single comic I bought because it was a huge stack. Instead, I wanted to share the most exciting purchase of the day. After browsing through the recent comics selection, I meandered through the back issues. In most comic book stores, there are long white boxes of comics from storylines that are a couple of years old. Since I’m in my Star Wars May plan, I was only looking for Star Wars comics. As I picked through the Star Wars comics, I found a complete series of Star Wars: Poe Dameron in single issues! I was so happy! I am missing a few issues, but for the most part, it’s the complete series. I’m looking forward to reading this series this month.

Free Comic Book Day was a success! I have a huge stack of Star Wars comics to dig into and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Let me know what you picked up at Free Comic Book Day in the comments section below.

May the 4th Be With You – 2022 Plan

May the 4th be with you! May the 4th has a special place in my heart because I’m a big Star Wars fan and I look forward to this month every year. Every May, I dedicate the whole month to Star Wars. I wanted to share my official plan for this year as far as the books I want to read, the shows I want to watch, and the video games I want to play.

Books and Comics

I have three books on my list to read for the month of May. The first book is Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray. This book highlights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan before the events of The Phantom Menace. I have a soft spot for the prequels, so I like that more of the Canon Star Wars books are taking place during this era. The second book on my list is Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) by Claudia Gray. This book focuses on Leia as a sixteen-year-old girl who starts to begin her dive into the fight against the Empire. The final book on my list is Resistance Reborn: Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rebecca Roanhorse. This book focuses on Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the final movie in the trilogy. This book has mixed reviews, so I’m going into reading this book with a mindset of wanting a fun adventure between the trio versus this being the best book I have ever read.

As far as comics, I have three graphic novels on my list: Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol #1, Star Wars: The High Republic Volume #1, and Princess Leia Volume #1. I have a few comic book store trips planned this month, so I may pick up Star Wars comics as I see fit.

Movies & TV

My number one priority is to finish Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I typically only watch the show during May, but we shall see if this is the year where I finally finish it! Besides The Clone Wars, I do want to do a re-watch of The Mandalorian. There’s also The Book of Boba Fett and Bad Batch. My focus this month will be on the Star Wars TV side of things, however, I would consider doing a re-watch of Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. I did a move re-watch a few years ago, and I don’t think I made it through those three. I know for a fact that I haven’t watched The Rise of Skywalker since I saw it in theaters, so I may add that to my list. There’s so much content and such limited time to watch it all.

Gaming

This should come as no surprise since I wrote about this recently, but I’m still going through LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. I’m at the end of episode III right now. My goal would be to complete all episodes by the end of the month, but that seems like a huge task. I do have Jedi Fallen Order on my list to play as well, however, I don’t think I will have time to complete both games.

May the 4th be with you and don’t forget that May 5th is “Revenge of the Fifth”!

Batman, Manhattan Projects, Plume – Graphic Novel Review Roundup

I have been in a reading slump when it comes to books, however, I have been reading a lot of comics and graphic novels. I’m not sure why that is. April is one of the months where I don’t designate what I plan on reading, so I find I tend to slip when it comes to reading regularly. Comics and graphic novels are easy because it has become a Saturday morning routine where I drink my coffee and read comics. I wanted to do a graphic novel roundup and write short reviews on the most recent graphic novels I finished reading: Plume, Batman: Year One, and Manhattan Projects Vol. #3

Plume Volume #1 by K. Lynn Smith

Plume originally started as a webcomic series by K. Lynn Smith. With the success of Plume, K. Lynn turned the series into published physical graphic novels. Plume follows Vesper Grey, an ambitious woman who looks up to her archeologist father. Vesper has a life-threatening accident and is saved by a golden man who popped out of the necklace Vesper wears around her neck. Corrick is imprisoned in the necklace bound to protect anyone who wears it. Vesper’s father invites Vesper and Corrick on an adventure where things go awry. Vesper and Corrick have to learn to work together to survive out in the Wild West.

I like the friendship between Vesper and Corrick. I hope Vesper finds a way to free Corrick from the necklace. The first volume has a lot of buildups which can be a bit lackluster to read. However, I think there’s enough story where I’m intrigued to keep reading the series. This series combines Fantasy with the Wild West. I rated Plume four stars on Goodreads.

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Richmond Lewis, Todd Klein, and Dennis O’Neil

Matt Reeves, the director of The Batman, cited Batman: Year One as inspiration for the film. I had Batman: Year One on my graphic novel TBR for way too long, so this was the perfect excuse to finally read it.

Bruce Wayne comes back to Gotham after a twelve-year hiatus. Bruce knows he’s going to avenge Gotham as it’s grown into a grittier city. Harvey Dent is still an attorney, Jim Gordon just got a job at the GCPD, and corruption is at an all-time high. This feels like an origin story for Batman, but also for other notable figures in Gotham.

I liked how this isn’t an origin story, but more of a story showing Bruce Wayne/Batman’s inexperience. In this novel, Bruce is seen injured and close to being caught while he’s Batman. Besides Batman, Jim Gordon is shown how he stood up to corrupt cops and how Jim is a flawed human being even though he doesn’t take money from mobsters. Selina is just starting out and has her first run-in with Batman. Reading through this graphic novel was like re-watching The Batman. I rated Batman: Year One 4.5 stars on Goodreads.

Manhattan Projects Volume #3 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra

Manhattan Projects is a series by Hickman and Pitarra which serve as a re-telling of the Manhattan Projects. Instead of being 100% historically accurate, there are science fiction elements thrown throughout each volume. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an A.I, Harry S Truman led up a cult, and Werner Von Braun has a rocket gun as an arm.

I like how Manhattan Projects are based on real events. For example, Harry Daghlian was a scientist who worked on the Manhattan Projects and was unfortunately killed in an accident. In this series, he’s reimagined as someone who is still alive except his brain is enclosed in a spacesuit full of radioactivity.

The only downside to the Manhattan Projects is how convoluted the story gets. It seems like there are so many side plots to keep track of. It probably doesn’t help that I go two years in between I read each volume. I rated Manhattan Projects volume #3 three stars on Goodreads.

Let me know what comics or graphic novels you have read lately in the comments section down below!

My Road Trip Book Haul

My favorite souvenirs I buy on vacation are postcards and books. Postcards are inexpensive and I like to tape them into my travel journal. It reminds me of the trip and the places I visited. Besides postcards, I like to buy books. This could be at a local bookstore in the area or at a museum. During my road trip, I bought a few books, so I wanted to share what I bought.

The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

The Mothman Prophecies is a non-fiction book in which author John Keel investigates strange sightings. In 1966 and 1967, there were apparent sightings of a winged creature nicknamed Mothman. Keel writes about various supernatural theories and phenomena as to what could have contributed to the sightings.

I knew Mothman existed, but I didn’t know much else. I’m looking forward to reading this as I think supernatural sightings are fascinating to me.

March Volume #1 by John Lewis

March by John Lewis is a graphic novel re-telling of U.S. Congressman John Lewis’s story of participating in the Civil Rights movement.

I’m happy to see more non-fiction graphic novels being published. It’s a great medium for those who aren’t big readers or are intimidated by longer books.

Last Call by Daniel O’Krent

Last Call is a non-fiction book detailing the Prohibition era in the US. Prohibition lasted from 1920-1933 before being repealed. Is it sad to say that I didn’t realize Prohibition lasted so long? My US history is a bit rusty, and I truly thought that it was only a year or two. Prohibition led to unintended consequences and reminds me of the 2000s “War on Drugs”

Clearly, my knowledge of Prohibition isn’t high, so I’m excited to learn more about this time in history.

I’m growing more fond of reading non-fiction. I’m not sure when I will get around to tackling my growing non-fiction TBR. I’m thinking that sometime this summer, I will start fitting these books into my reading schedule.

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby

CW: violence against LGBTQIA+ folks, graphic violence, mistreatment of women

While on vacation, I make it a point to finish at least one book. I’m the type of person on vacation who I enjoy downtime. If a vacation feels jam-packed, I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. The book I chose to read was Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby. I heard about Razorblade Tears as it was one of the books included in the Book of the Month book box. While I’m glad I read Razorblade Tears, I’m having a hard time giving this book a rating.

Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee Jenkins are grieving. Their sons, Isiah and Derek were brutally murdered. The police don’t seem to care or in Ike and Buddy Lee’s eyes, they aren’t doing enough. Ike and Buddy Lee want to redeem themselves since they didn’t accept Isiah and Derek’s relationship and marriage. Their quest leads to corruption and a big reveal of irony in the South.

Razorblade Tears is a tough book to read in part because Ike and Buddy Lee are homophobic and this book centers around their journey for revenge and acceptance. It’s difficult to see this through their eyes. While Ike and Buddy Lee are born and raised in the South, I find it difficult that they couldn’t look past their bias and accept their sons. I didn’t realize Ike and Buddy Lee would be as homophobic as this book points out, I went into this thinking that Ike and Buddy Lee had relationships with their sons when clearly that wasn’t the case.

Despite the emotionally heavy content of the book, I do think there are a lot of interesting conversations that occur. Buddy Lee is a poor white man who lives in a beat-up trailer. He often makes comments to Ike about how he wishes he could trade places with him. Ike is a working-class black man who points out to Buddy Lee that he is able to exist in the world differently because of the color of his skin. It’s a pull of race and class privilege and how this can impact relationships or political opinions.

Per the content warning, there is a lot of graphic violence. As mentioned, this book is centered around Isiah and Derek’s deaths. In my opinion, I think the author went into WAY too much detail about their deaths. I don’t see why that was needed. Women are also mistreated by several male characters.

This was an emotionally heavy book to read. I would heed the content warnings as this book is tough to get through. I’m going to leave this book unrated which is a first for me. I’m glad I took the time to read this and I feel for all the people who don’t have family who accepts them for who they are.

Vigilante & Birds of Prey – Vintage Comics Review

At my local comic book store, I have started perusing through the white long boxes where older comics are kept. The issues can vary from comic runs from last year or ten years ago. I wanted to poke around and see if I could find anything interesting. As it turns out, I did find a few issues that were worth purchasing. I wanted to share what I found.

Vigilante #1 – 2009 Marv Wolfman, Rick Leonardi, and John Stanisci

I became a fan of Vigilante partly due to the Peacemaker TV series. In the show, Vigilante is played by Freddie Stroma, and he portrays Vigilante as being a psychopath with an extremely dark sense of humor. In the comic, Vigilante gives off a Red Hood (aka. Jason Todd/2nd Robin) vibe to me. Vigilante is investigating a few murders with mob connections and ends up being purposefully captured by police, so he can brutally interview prisoners. This was an entertaining issue, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the complete series, so it serves as more of a collectible than a story.

Birds of Prey Manhunt #1 – #4 – 1996 Chuck Dixon, Matt Haley, and Wade Von Grawbadger

Birds of Prey is one of my favorite superhero teams. Led by Oracle (Barbara Gordon, paralyzed by the Joker) she works with Black Canary as they challenge the crime syndicate. In this run, Huntress and Catwoman get involved much to Oracle’s chagrin. It’s interesting how comics have evolved since 1996. There were certain images of the female characters where I thought “a man definitely drew this.” An example is Black Canary and she’s standing in a really awkward position, but her hip is out, so it shows off her body at a better angle. This didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading Birds of Prey, it made me laugh and realize how in some ways, comics have become more evolved. I’m happy that I found this complete series.

I have had good luck with searching through vintage issues that I plan on doing this every time I stop by my local comic book store. It’s relaxing to simply sift through comics and I never know what I’m going to find.

Romance Reading Month – Recap

In February, I wrote my Romance Reading Month post where I mentioned which romance books I had on my list to read in February. I had five books on my list and ended up reading three of them, with a fourth being read at a slower pace. Let’s take a look at the romance books I read last month.

Eleanor & Park – Not Finished.

I have been going through my bookshelf and picking books I want to re-read. Eleanor & Park is a romance story starring Eleanor & Park who meet at school and develop a romance. Eleanor & Park has come under some controversy with how Rainbow Rowell wrote Park. My prediction is similar to how I felt about Fangirl that this book won’t hold up to what I felt when I first read the book years ago. I’m slowly reading a chapter here and there. I plan on finishing Eleanor & Park before the end of 2022.

The Ex Hex – Didn’t Read

I saved The Ex Hex for Fall as I think it’s a perfect book to get into the Halloween spirit.

Well Met – Finished

Well Met is a romance starring Emily and Simon. Emily temporarily moves to a small town in Maryland to take care of her older sister who was involved in a car accident. Emily gets roped in by her niece to volunteer at a Renaissance Festival where she meets Simon, a pirate who helps organize the Renaissance Festival. Simon has a hardened persona, but eventually Emily breaks through this leading to the beginning of their romance.

I adored this book. Emily and Simon had great chemistry together. I liked the Renaissance Festival as the background of their relationship. I kept imagining the lush forest surrounding the festival and all the performers sashaying throughout the grounds. Besides the festival, I liked the setting of the town. There’s a small town bookstore Emily works at that’s owned by one of the founders of the festival. This book was everything I wanted and I rated Well Met five stars on Goodreads.

One to Watch – Finished

Bea Schumacher is a successful plus-size fashion blogger who also is a fan of the reality show, Main Squeeze. As the next season is being determined, Bea is approached by Lauren, the producer of Main Squeeze to headline the series. Bea decides to accept. While Bea is confident in her blog and fashion sense, she has concerns over whether men will want to date a plus-size woman. Will she find love? or leave alone?

I went into this book wanting a confident and sassy plus-size woman to have fun on this reality TV show. Unfortunately, it seemed Bea’s entire character arc was her saying that no man would date her for her size. I understand Bea having some insecurities over her body, but it seemed to be the background of the entire book. I struggled to understand why Bea would agree to a reality TV show with where her head space was at.

I do want to be up front that I have no idea what it’s like to be overweight or have my body constantly a topic of conversation. This might be where my bias comes in as this might be something that’s more realistic for someone with a similar body type to Bea.

This was a big let down for me. I rated One to Watch two stars on Goodreads.

Get a Life Chloe Brown – Finished

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill geek who comes up with a bucket list of things she wants to accomplish. Chloe meets Red who decides to help her with her list. A romance develops with Chloe realizing her feelings for Red going beyond the list she originally created.

I liked the idea of Chloe being this geeky woman living her life through her chronic pain. Red seemed like such an opposite to Chloe, so I thought they would connect well. Although I did like this book, I struggled to fully immerse myself in the book. I found myself stuck on the first half of the book for a long time. I think this book is so important because of the representation of a character with chronic pain. I rated Get a Life Chloe Brown three stars on Goodreads.

The books I read in February were a mixed bag. In March, I’m taking a break from romance and tackling more of my mystery and thrillers on my TBR.

D&D, Peacemaker, and Superheroes – Comic Reviews!

I’m usually on top of posting my book reviews on a timely basis. However, I sometimes forget to write about the comics I’m reading. Since starting a pull list last year, I have been reading more single issues than ever before. I wanted to share what comics I have been reading and what I have been enjoying so far.

The Last Session Issues #1 & #2 – Mad Cave

Jasmine Walls, Dozerdraws, Michah Meyers, Michael Moccio, and David Reyes.

The Last Session follows five friends who met at an LGBTQIA+ high school club. During their club meetings, they launched a long-term D&D campaign. The friends are now in college and have decided to resume their campaign.

I love everything about this series! I like how the friends are still good friends after all this time and how D&D has become a big part of their friendship. I like how the issue flashes between the campaign and their real life. I think this comic series does a great job at highlighting the insecurity they face as they are unsure of the direction of their lives. As someone who graduated college five years ago, I still find that I can relate to a few of the characters in this comic. I rated The Last Session five stars on Goodreads.

Vampire Emmy and the Garbage Girl – Space Between

Pat Shand, Roberta Ingranata, Carola Borelli, and Jim Campbell

Vampire Emmy and the Garbage Girl follows Emmy, a cynical Vampire who’s finding herself a bit bored with life. Her relationships have never lasted partly due to outliving her partner. As she lives her mundane life, she meets Annabelle, the garbage girl who collects her trash twice a week. Emmy invites Annabelle on a date and they start to bond over shared supernatural lived experiences.

This was a quick read! This graphic novel was a lot shorter than I expected it to be. There didn’t seem to be much of a plot to this as it was more following Emmy and Annabelle on their adventures. I wish this was longer as I felt there wasn’t enough material to connect to both Emmy and Annabelle as characters. I rated Vampire Emmy and the Garbage Girl four stars on Goodreads.

The Death of Doctor Strange Blade #1 – Marvel

Danny Lore, Dylan Burnett, Mike Spicer, and Travis Lanham.

The Death of Doctor Strange Blade is Marvel’s latest crossover where Doctor Strange is murdered leaving a cataclysm of events on Earth. This includes releasing vampires who were otherwise imprisoned. Blade being the vampire hunter that he is, is displeased and serves as Dracula’s bodyguard.

It seems fitting that Marvel’s latest event is Doctor Strange themed since the movie is being released this year. As someone who’s a fan of Blade as a character, I thought this was a blast. The art is vibrant, the story moves along at a good clip, and I’m curious to see how Blade will move through this crossover. I rated Blade #1 four stars on Goodreads.

Peacemaker Disturbing the Peace – DC Comics

Garth Ennis, Garry Brown, and Lee Loughridge

Peacemaker Disturbing the Peace follows Peacemaker aka. Christopher Smith as he’s being interviewed by a therapist. Christopher goes into his story about why he cares so much about peace and his military experience. It’s clear Christopher is being examined for some sort of assignment, but it’s not disclosed what that assignment is.

I liked this series, however, with the success of the Peacemaker show, I prefer how the show portrays Peacemaker versus this series. With Garth Ennis attached, this series was gory which I think fits the character. There isn’t a whole lot going on in this issue as it’s clearly meant to be an origin story for those unfamiliar with Peacemaker as a character. I rated Peacemaker Disturbing the Peace three stars on Goodreads.

Hawkeye Kate Bishop #1-3 – Marvel

Marieke Nijkamp, Enid Balam, Oren Junior, and Brittany Peer

Hawkeye Kate Bishop stars Kate who’s living in LA taking on bad guys. Kate is invited to a Hamptons resort by a mysterious guest. Kate realizes that her older sister Susan invited Kate to help her find a missing ring. While the resort is beautiful, it’s clear there is something more sinister going on.

This series is okay. I’m finding that each issue seems to follow the exact same setup. Kate goes into investigation mode, she brings Susan, Kate beats up a bunch of bad guys and more bad guys arrive leading to a cliffhanger into the next issue. I do plan on finishing this story arc to see if this is a series I plan on continuing with. As of now, I’m not super invested in this. I rated Hawkeye Kate Bishop three stars on Goodreads.

If you thought this was a lot of comics, I still have a small pile on my nightstand. It helps that I carve time every Saturday morning to read comics before I start my day. I do want to prioritize writing more comic reviews, so there will be more to come! Let me know in the comments what comics you’re reading right now.

February – Romance Reading Month

Every February, I like to read romance. It gets me in the mood for Valentine’s Day and it allows me to target the romance books sitting on my TBR. I wanted to share all the books I want to read in February and once February ends, I will write a recap post where I review the romance books I ended up reading. I have set high expectations this month, so I’m not sure if I will get to everything. Here are all the romance books I ideally would like to read this month

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I read Eleanor & Park back in 2015. This had been sitting on my re-read TBR for a while. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell is about a budding high school romance between Eleanor and Park. I re-read Fangirl last year and I realized I didn’t love the book versus what I remembered several years ago. I’m curious if Eleanor & Park will hold up or if I will feel the same way as I felt for Fangirl.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

I had The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling on my Spooky TBR last year, although I ended up not getting to read this. I’m debating between reading this now or saving it for this October. The Ex Hex is centered around Vivienne Jones who puts a curse on her ex-boyfriend that should have been mild. However, her ex returns to their town and all hell breaks loose. As mentioned, I may save this for Fall, but I have no doubt that I will read The Ex Hex this year.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

A romance that takes place at a local Renaissance festival? Sign me up. Well Met follows Emily and Simon. Emily is roped into signing up for the Renaissance festival while Simon’s family runs the festival. I have had this on my TBR for a long time, so I’m glad I’m finally going to read this.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

If the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise were to include plus-size women, that’s the premise of One to Watch. Bea Schumacher is a plus-size fashion influencer who loves the reality TV show Main Squeeze. When she’s contacted by Main Squeeze to be a part of their show, Bea agrees. She doesn’t think she will actually find love unless what if she does. While I’m personally not a fan of the Bachelor, I think this book will still appeal to me.

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I hear so many good things about Talia Hibbert and her books. Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek who creates a list of things she wants to do. Chloe meets Red and she enlists him to help her accomplish all the things she wants to do. I like the chronically ill representation as there are so many people out there with either chronic pain or chronic illness. Representation is so important.

This is an ambitious TBR for February. I’m most excited to read Well Met, One to Watch, and Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

One of the reasons why I love to read is the feeling of finishing a great book. For a few days, the book I finished reading is all I can think about. It could be the setting, the characters, or how the book turned out that stay with me. I finished reading The Guest List by Lucy Foley and it’s hands down one of the best thrillers I have read. It’s a close contender to being one of my favorite books I read in 2022. That may be too early to say, but that’s how much I loved this book.

A wedding party flocks to a remote, Irish island. The wedding is breathtaking until someone is murdered. As the story progresses, secrets are revealed and it seems like everyone has an ulterior motive.

One reason I loved The Guest List is the setting. The wedding takes place on this remote Irish island with a chapel, house, and lavish tents are set up to house guests. There’s a small Celtic cemetery located nearby giving this island a haunted feel to it. I took pauses while reading The Guest List to imagine the island in my mind. The setting helped solidify the story and made me want to continue reading.

The Guest List is told through the perspective of several key characters. Usually, I’m not a fan of this type of storytelling because it’s tough to keep everyone straight. However, Lucy Foley does a great job at balancing all of the characters. I felt drawn to Hannah and Olivia specifically. Hannah was the character I connected with the most because she’s a middle-class outsider to this swanky lifestyle. Olivia is a character who is struggling mentally and I just wanted to reach out to her and give her a hug. Olivia is someone I wanted to see succeed and overcome her struggles.

In The Guest List, there’s a big reveal that I predicted early on. In some cases, I become disappointed when I am able to predict the plot of the book, although, in The Guest List, I was more excited to see how everything came together even if it was something I could see coming.

The Guest List was everything I wanted in a thriller: an intriguing setting, a sprinkling of characters to root for and characters you would like to see burn, and a few twists throughout. I don’t have anything bad to say about The Guest List. I have since added a few of Lucy Foley’s other books to my TBR on Goodreads as I’m curious to read more from her. I rated The Guest List five stars on Goodreads.