January 9, 2017

Recent Reads

196. Artist's Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures
I dip into this book whenever I'm looking for creative inspiration, and it has not failed me yet. I always find something new to try, and I believe this is my fourth reading of the book. This wonderful book is full of ideas, inspiration, advice, and has lots of colorful examples of fun journal pages. Rating: 4 stars.

197. Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening
I don't even know how to summarize this graphic novel, so will stick to the blurb:

"Set in an alternate world of art deco beauty and steampunk horror, Montress tells the epic story of Maika Halfwolf, a teenage survivor of a cataclysmic war between humans and their hated enemies, the Arcanics. In the face of oppression and terrible danger, Maika is both hunter and hunted, searching for answers about her mysterious past as those who seek to use her remain just one step behind...and all the while, the monster within begins to awaken..."

This might well be the most beautifully illustrated graphic novel I've read in ages. The art alone makes this one worth picking up. But, that's not all you get. This is a wonderfully women/girl/female centric world, and trying to figure out what different groups the main characters belong to is part the fun. This one is certainly more action/plot driven than I'd expect for the first volume. There isn't much world building, and you are left to figure things out at your own pace. And there are things that we just don't know, and I look forward to uncovering those plot lines as this story unfolds. There's also this adorable fox. There so much I loved about this one, and if you are a cat person, you must get this one pronto. Delightful. Violent. Dark. Not for the kiddos. Rating: 4 stars.

198. Velvet, Volume One: Before the Living End
Book blurb: Velvet Templeton is supposed to be just a secretary, the personal assistant to the Director of a top secret Intelligence Agency, but when the world's greatest spy is killed, she quickly finds herself caught in a web of mystery and murder, as her own secret past comes to light.

Rather than review each volume of this graphic novel trilogy individually, I'm going to review it in it's entirety here.

If you are a fan of Jason Bourne and James Bond, and have always wondered why those roles are not cast with a woman, this is the series for you. A fun, fast paced, violent, spy thriller, with a kick ass older woman in the lead role. Yes, you read that correctly, older woman. In a genre where so many of the women are young and perky teenagers (or so it feels to this middle aged woman), it's wonderfully refreshing to see this one cast differently. The story is interesting, the art wonderfully evokes the right noir mood, and Velvet Templeton rocks. The only reason I docked a star, is that I wanted more dialog to flesh out the story better, and some of the men were hard to tell apart. Now, will someone please make this a movie and make my day? Rating: 4 stars.

199. Velvet, Volume Two: The Secret Lives of Dead Men
See my review of this trilogy above. Rating: 4 stars.

200. Velvet, Volume Three: The Man Who Stole the World
See my review of this trilogy above. Rating: 4 stars.

201. Snow White: A Graphic Novel
I'm not sure what I expected when I picked up this graphic novel, but it wasn't what I got. I love the art, and the setting of this classic story in New York City, circa 1928, is a brilliant idea. The plot does not stray far from the Disney adaptation, and the casting of Snow and the seven street urchins was quite fun. There is so little dialog, that this might almost be a wordless picture book, and while the art is wonderful, I found the story itself just OK. So, 4 stars for the art, and 2 for the story, averages out at 3. Rating: 3 stars.

That's the last of my 2016 reads. It's been a good one, and I look forward to 2017.
Happy reading!

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