Manga Review: Witch Hunter by Cho Jung-man

witch hunter by cho jung man

In a world where witches have declared war against humanity, causing two-thirds of the world to fall apart, the surviving human population has gathered specialists with the power to hunt and destroy witches.

Tasha Godspell, also known as the “Magic Marksman,” is one of the best Witch Hunters there is. Along with his sword-wielding Jack-o’-Lantern partner known as Halloween, Tasha puts his magical training and weaponry to good use, in his constant battles against witches. And yet, he cannot bring himself to fully hate the very witches he is tasked to destroy.

Description taken from Wikipedia.


So for conveniency’s sake, I wrote this up as a manga review. In reality, WITCH HUNTER and the WITCH HUNTER series are manhwa (man-ha), which means they’re Korean comics and not Japanese. Most people won’t know the difference and in reality, it’s not very apparent if you’re skimming the manga/manhwa section at your local library or bookstore. One key difference is that manhwas tend to read left to right, but mangas read right to left. There’s also manhua, which is from China, and is in single-issue, fully colored format.

On to WITCH HUNTER though, I’ve only gotten into manhwa recently (the only reason I didn’t read it before being that I didn’t have access to it nor did I know it existed) and so far, WITCH HUNTER has been one of the better ones that I’ve read.

For those of you who enjoy anime, WITCH HUNTER is also in anime form.

WITCH HUNTER tells the story of Tasha Godspell, who tends to appear as a money-grabbing, penny-pinching snot who only really cares about himself. However, that is not the case–and that is one of the many reasons why I really liked WITCH HUNTER.

I’ll face it. This is not SWORD ART ONLINE, clever and unique and amazing all at the same time. But I did really respect the way that WITCH HUNTER was set up, and I found myself enjoying the world building much more than I thought that I would. Tasha’s quest is to take back his little sister from the clutches of the witches, but along the way he has to confront his own demons about his sister, accept the help of others and fight people (and witches) even stronger than himself.

There are some things that don’t make sense in this series. For the sake of not giving away spoilers, I won’t mention them, but there are certain inconsistencies to who beats who and who is stronger than who or certain magical powers. Overall, I really enjoy WITCH HUNTER though and I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

If this is your first time or you’re still just beginning to read manga, especially shounen manga (action/adventure meant for boys) then I would suggest beginning with something a little more mainstream such as REBORN!, BLEACH, ATTACK ON TITAN, SWORD ART ONLINE or even NARUTO. If your local library doesn’t have all the volumes of these extensive series, then I would suggest reading on a computer or a phone. I use Manga Rock and Mango. Both awesome apps available on Android and iPhone. 4 stars.

Review: The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

the shadow hero by gene luen yang

In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.

The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of “American Born Chinese,” Gene Luen Yang, has finally revived this character in “Shadow Hero,” a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.

With artwork by Sonny Liew, this gorgeous, funny comics adventure for teens is a new spin on the long, rich tradition of American comics lore.

Description taken from Goodreads.


THE SHADOW HERO.

When I first heard about this book, I wasn’t that interested in it honestly. I was disappointed, actually. I had expected something more along the lines of Gene Luen Yang’s AVATAR or AMERICAN BORN CHINESE. I LOVED both of these titles, and that was actually the only reason why I ended up reading THE SHADOW HERO.

THE SHADOW HERO is worth it.

I loved the journey of this story, and just how similar and different it is from Yang’s other books. There’s the same concepts of trials, strengths, weaknesses, growth and humor. Yang also employs and embraces the stereotypes, history and character of Asian culture, which is great to see. There were so many things I loved about this story, and I think the major thing that stands out here is just how different of a story THE SHADOW HERO is.

There are many superhero stories out there, all with their own struggles, but Yang manages to tell the story of someone who never wanted to become a hero, but was born one anyway. The “Green Turtle” as he becomes known has a very rough backstory, and as the book went on I began to feel for him as a character. He manages to become something that I didn’t see coming, and that was really surprising and entertaining for me.

I also loved the artwork and illustrations to THE SHADOW HERO. Mad props to Sonny Liew for that.

Overall, THE SHADOW HERO is an awesome comic series that I’m really looking forward to continuing to read. It stands out from the crowd just like all of Yang’s other books, and a refreshing take on superheroes that many people do not get these days with Marvel and DC (even though I love XMen and the Avengers as much as the next guy). This book is definitely well worth a read, and will appeal to a variety of genres (probably 12+). 4 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 169

Series: The Shadow Hero

In Comics: James Mascia and Most Dangerous Game

most dangerous game by richard connell

“The Most Dangerous Game” features a big-game hunter from New York, who becomes shipwrecked on an isolated island in the Caribbean and is hunted by a Russian aristocrat.

Description taken from Goodreads. 


Written originally in 1924, James Mascia is hoping to renew interest in Richard Connell’s MOST DANGEROUS GAME by bringing it into graphic novel form and putting a sci-fi twist on the island survival story. The high school English teacher is heading a project to bring the story to life with stunning artwork, aliens and action at every page. He is also hoping that the graphic novel will bring attention to other literature classics and be as successful promoting reading to teens as his other works.

I recently had the chance to interview James and learn more about his crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter, more details about the book, what inspired these retellings and himself.

That inspired you to do an adaptation of Most Dangerous Game? Does the story itself mean anything special to you? 

I am an English teacher in Maryland. And many of my students don’t like to read, and some of those same students think there isn’t anything that will interest them. So, last year, I took the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and put them all together into a single story in my graphic novel called “The Poe Murders”. This got students to become familiar with the works of Poe who had never read him before. Some of my students even went on to read some Poe stories after being introduced to him in my graphic novel.

So, with that success, I decided I had to do another. One of the first stories that popped into my head was, “The Most Dangerous Game”. It has danger, and action, and I believe high interest for young readers. The plot is about a human being being hunted by another human being, after all. I checked into it, and the story is in the public domain, which means I can use it without fear of infringing on anyone’s copyright.

However, I didn’t want to do just a straight adaption, because to me that isn’t creative enough. So, I thought, what if it’s a science fiction story and instead of one human hunting another, the story will be about an alien hunting a human being. So, I rewrote the story and now we’re working on the artwork for it, which is amazing!

Have you always wanted to create graphic novels/comics?

I’ve always enjoyed reading comic books and graphic novels, and I’ve always enjoyed writing. So, I suppose becoming a graphic novel author seemed only natural. The only problem I have is, while I am good at writing, I suck as an artist. So, creating a graphic novel isn’t as easy for me as it is for others as I have to work with artists. However, as I stated above, our artist, Satine Zillah, is amazing.

In Most Dangerous Game, what was the hardest thing to envision or draw? (i.e. the aliens, the planet itself, characters, etc.) 

I am really not the person to answer that question since I am not the artist. What I can tell you is that I wrote very detailed descriptions of our four major characters (Rainsford, Whitney, Zaroff and Ivok). Satine has drawn them better than I could have imagined them. The way they are drawn is exactly as the descriptions suggest. She takes the words of my script and transforms them into masterpieces on the page.

What do you hope that reading the graphic novel version Most Dangerous Game will do for students as a companion or visual guide to the book? 

Well, I want it to do a number of things. First, I want students to read it who have never read it before, and possibly then have them go back and read the original work. I would like to see teachers use it in classrooms to possibly have students compare and contrast this version with the original, or, use it as a replacement for some lower-level readers. I also hope that it inspires students to read as well as inspire them to create their own stories. As I tell my own students, if I can do it, so can they.

If “The Most Dangerous Game” is as successful as “The Poe Murders” has and continues to be. I will likely continue on with other classic literature, adapting and updating them to make them accessible to our teens today.


To find out more about this project and how you can help, visit the MOST DANGEROUS GAME Kickstarter page. You can see examples of the fantastic artwork below.

RainsfordconceptartWEB IvokconceptartWEB WhitneyCharacterConceptartWEB TMDG_01 ZaroffconceptartWEB

Review: Amulet, Vol. 6 by Kazu Kibuishi

amulet by kazu kibuishi book 6

Emily, Navin, and their friends continue to battle the Elf King in hopes of destroying him forever, but one of his most loyal followers, Max, isn’t making it easy for them. The crew journeys to Lucien, a city that’s been ravaged by the war. Emily has more enemies there than she realizes — and it’ll take everything she’s got to get herself and her friends out of the city alive.


I recieved an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not impact my opinions about the book in any way. 

Kazu Kibuishi is one of the people that fostered my love for graphic novels and not just traditional comics, and I was really excited to be able to read and review an ARC of the next book in this amazing series.

First things first–if you haven’t read all of the books in this series before this book, you should. Not because the story doesn’t make sense, but for two other major reasons. 1) The story doesn’t make as much sense and 2) because the other books are worth reading.

In this book, I didn’t think that Kibuishi went as far with his plot. However, he still packed a lot into this story and I really appreciated the way he went back into his story and answered a lot of the questions I’d had from previous books. My love for all the characters was made even stronger and I liked the way all the characters were put through different kinds of trials dealing with others–especially Emily’s brother, Navin, due to their alliance with the other part of the war effort.

All the usual suspects for the characters I loved (or loved to hate) are there, and that’s great, but I think with this book my love for Trellis as a character was fully solidified. Trellis has grown so much throughout the course of these books and I’ve come to really enjoy seeing how he progresses. I’m looking forward to what Kibuishi does with him in the next books. When it came to Max though, I was a little disappointed. I felt like Kibuishi could’ve done much more with Max.

As always, the artwork is amazing in this book. I didn’t get to see a whole lot of the color in most of the regular comic part of the book since I got an ARC copy, but all the landscapes and what I did get to see of the colored work, everything is beautiful. I love Kibuishi’s style and the colors and background team for this book did a fantastic job.

Then there’s the action, adventure and supporting characters. I wish I had gotten to see more of Leon and the crew in this book, but I was glad to see what Kibuishi did with past characters from this series. The action is also great and I liked seeing Emily come to become even stronger in this book, not just as herself but in her relationships with the people supporting her. The pacing is great and there’s a lot of explanation as to why things are the way they are.

I wanted to see more happen before the ending of this book, but it left me excited for the next book and overall, not disappointed. Fans of this series will love this book and I hope it will bring even more attention onto this series. After reading this book, fans of this series should also read his other works and the Flight comics, which are all awesome books. 4 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 256

Series: Amulet #6

The Christmas Countdown Day 6, 2013: Zombies

Hello and welcome to the sixth day of the RealityLapse Christmas Countdown! The theme for today is zombies, and we’re six days away from Christmas. Today we’re starting off with some of my favorite zombie novels of all time…. You know… the kind that makes you think. Brings about questions like:

zombieattack

And makes you wonder.

zombies-demotivational-1

And brings about the notion that you’re never quite prepared enough.

preparedness

On that note, Jonathan Maberry to start us off.

rotandruin

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

The first time I read this book, I had no words for it by the time I was done. I had never read any zombie book like this before, and even now–I find it hard to find anything quite like it. All I really knew was, Jonathan Maberry is awesome. I had rumors about PATIENT ZERO before, but I hadn’t read any of his books before. And he impressed me on his first try. I still find it hard to describe this book. Like all good ones, it’s hard to describe in words. Because it ends up with a lot of contradictions. This book is sensitive and smart, yet tough and almost horrifying at times. It’s clever, witty and fun yet straightforward and tight. It talks about what it means to be a zombie, but even more so about humans. Ugh. I have CJDAB (Cannot Justifiably Describe Amazing Books) syndrome. To read my full review, click here.

World_War_Z_book_cover

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.World War Z is the result.

Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

I personally have a good time reading some select zombie books, but most of them freak me out even if I love them. This book was no exception. Anyone reading this seen the movie version of this book? I bet some of you have. That movie, whether you liked it or not, (I did) was just a sliver of this book. I love the thrill of watching the movie and then going back to the book in this case, just because I feel like they pair up so well together. By reading the book, you really gain an understanding of why the movie was made the way it was. I was fascinated and sucked into both, and I highly recommend them.

enclave

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

I can’t help but love this book. Deuce and Fade brought a new kind of zombie book to me–one that was thrilling and fun and seemingly more YA-like than most other zombie books I had read. That, and it completely captured the zombie feel through the Freaks without completely freaking me out. This book is fun, thrilling at times and a great adventure. I still haven’t read HORDE yet but I’m dying to and I’m for sure going to be doing it soon. I have high hopes for the ending and I hope Ann Aguirre doesn’t disappoint… To read my full review, click here.

thewalkingdeadgraphicnovel

An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.

I loved so much about this series. I don’t watch the tv show, but if it’s anything like the books I can definitely see the appeal to it. These stories are real, well-paced and have awesome world-building. I had a ton of fun reading them and I felt like the pictures really added in a great element to the story. I was very impressed with all the graphic imaginings of this world, in fact, and it brought more to the story than I could’ve imaged for this kind of book which was an awesome addition.

therithmatist

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

Somehow, I enjoyed this book much more than Brandon Sanderson’s other fantasy novels–despite his rep as a fantasy writer. This story is engaging and creepy. If someone had come up to me with this idea for a chalk-zombie-paranormal fantasy, I probably would’ve been pretty creeped out–and then come to the conclusion that only a select few authors could pull it off well. Turns out, Brandon Sanderson is one of those authors. And he’s done it. THE RITHMATIST is unlike many other books I’ve read and I really loved the uniqueness of it all. I loved the characters and the plotlines as well. An awesome fantasy-zombie read.

So that chalks up my favorite zombie reads, but what are yours? Are you interested in zombies? Despite the stereotype of most zombie books, there are many unique and amazing ones out there. Give these a try and stay tuned for the next day of the RealityLapse Christmas Countdown Day Seven: Biographies, Memoirs and Nonfiction.

 

The Christmas Countdown Day 4, 2013: Graphic Novels

Ahh, the long-awaited day of graphic novels. Some people may say that graphic novels shouldn’t really count as novels, because they’re “picture books”. What I believe, however, is that graphic novels can contain some of the most well-thought out, meaningful stories ever written. And because of it’s format, you can’t skim any of it. There’s so much to be taken into account when looking at a graphic novel, and everything comes into play.

Today, on the RealityLapse Christmas Count Day 4, our theme is graphic novels, comics and cartoons. I just wanted to explain that today, I was going back through my graphic novels/comics/cartoons category and was completely swamped with all the graphic novels I had read. I haven’t done a graphic novel post in a while, so today I felt like I should spotlight some of the lesser-known or maybe forgotten graphic novels, comics and cartoons. For more amazing graphic novels, you should check out my graphic novels, comics and cartoons category. But I couldn’t resist from throwing some classics in here….

calvinandhobbes

The first collection of the increasingly popular comic strip that features a rambunctious 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger who comes charmingly to life.

This was the book that started it all. Yup, that’s right. CALVIN AND HOBBES was the very first comic I ever read. After finishing the whole series and reading it over and over again, my brother introduced me to many other comics, but throughout the years I’ve always come back to the two of them. Bill Watterson is a genius, and I will always be thankful to him for making my first comic read such an amazing one. Though I’ve read many comics I’ve loved, and many of them have made my 4.5 star list, only C&H made it to my five star list. You can see Calvin and Hobbes online here and you can see them MOVE here!

thegoon

Bones will be broken and heads will roll The Goon is a laugh-out-loud action-packed romp through the streets of a town infested with zombies. An insane priest is building himself an army of the undead, and there’s only one man who can put them is their place: the man they call Goon.

THE GOON was one of the very first books I reviewed for RealityLapse and discovered because of it. I love THE GOON and while it’s suited for a YA audience because of it’s violence and some cursing, I loved the elements to it. There was so much to be had with the characters. Spider, Goon and Franky were not the only characters that I grew to love, and the story behind THE GOON was heartwarming, heartbreaking and action-packed. You can read my full review here!

dilbert-big-front

DILBERT fever is sweeping the country. From mountain and valley, from hill and dale, people are asking , “How can I have more DILBERT in my life?” Now, at last, help is at hand. ALWAYS POSTPONE MEETINGS WITH TIME – WASTING MORONS, the first compilation of DILBERT comic strips by Scott Adams, has arrived. 

Dilbert. You know you love a book when you’re in a very public place and you laugh out loud while reading and you don’t even care if people think you’re crazy. DILBERT was one of the comics that was like that. While DILBERT may not teach the best lessons or have the best story behind it, DILBERT has it’s own special quality to it that makes me laugh every time I read it. You can find Dilbert online here.

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Anyone who’s ever experienced the turmoils of family life will relish thisFoxTrot treasury, Enormously FoxTrot. A wild and witty compendium comprising the best-selling collections Bury My Heart at Fun-Fun Mountain and Say Hello to Cactus Flats, this colorful saga of the Fox family will inspire laughs and instant recognition.
From the endurance test of together-time vacations to the always chaotic goings-on at work, home, and school, the Fox family exhibits the day-to-day lunacy that comes with family life–a life that includes the trials of dad Roger’s computer ineptitude and mom Andy’s culinary adventures. The Fox siblings–Peter, Paige, and Jason—display a recognizable, albeit quirky, look into the real world of growing up.

I actually didn’t know about Foxtrot until about a year ago, but I’m glad I found it. I have got to say, I genuinely enjoy it and it was a very nice comic strip that made me laugh and kept me amused. There’s a sort of Bill Watterson feel to Bill Amend’s voice as a writer that I really liked. I loved reading about the Fox family and I had a great time watching them go through their daily lives.

childhoodishell

Jampacked with 48 of the wittiest cartoons from Matt Groening’s syndicated “Life in Hell” comic strip. You also get 25 chapters of the “Childhood is Hell” maxi-series and a bunch of bonuses.

This was the first book that I read in Matt Groening’s LIFE IS HELL series. For those of you who don’t know, if you think that style is familiar–it probably is. Most people know Matt Groening as the creator of THE SIMPSONS. Through this book, it’s great to get an early feel for Matt Groening and it’s great to see where his early work ended up. This book is hilarious and anyone who has ever been a kid will enjoy it. Even if you don’t, you can always check out WORK IS HELL, SCHOOL IS HELL, LOVE IS HELL or even just LIVING IN HELL.

sidekicks-wallpaper

INTRODUCING: METAL MUTT! STATIC CAT! AND… FLUFFY!?!

Captain Amazing, hero of Metro City, is so busy catching criminals that he rarely has time for his pets at home. He doesn’t even notice when they develop superpowers of their own.

So when he announces that he needs a sidekick, his dog, hamster, and chameleon each decide to audition. But with each pet determined to win the sidekick position, the biggest battle in Metro City might just be at the Captain’s house.

Then archvillain Dr. Havoc returns to town, and suddenly the Captain’s in serious trouble. Can the warring pets put their squabbles aside? Or is it curtains for the Captain?

This is a great, heartwarming action/adventure novel that is great for pet lovers. A wonderful story with an awesome ending. Fluffy, Roscoe, Shifty and Manny are all great and I loved reading about them. Though SIDEKICKS is a stand-alone, I do hope that Dan Santat brings them back in a later book.

americanbornchinese

All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he’s the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl…

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn’t want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god…

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he’s ruining his cousin Danny’s life. Danny’s a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse…

These three apparently unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist, in a modern fable that is hilarious, poignant and action-packed.American Born Chinese is an amazing rise, all the way up to the astonishing climax–and confirms what a growing number of readers already know: Gene Yang is a major talent.

Gene Luen Yang is awesome. Even if he hadn’t written this book, I would still really respect him for having written the AVATAR books. But this book… The way that Yang wrote this book is incredible. It couldn’t have been told as well any other way, and only Yang can tell it the way he did. I love the story behind this book and often times, I laughed out loud with how true and realistic this book can be. I love the way Yang and Derek Kirk Kim bring real life into their stories and artwork. While Kazu Kibuishi is amazing in his own way, Yang and Kim really hit home with the stories they tell.

jellaby1

Quiet, brilliant Portia has just moved to a new neighborhood with her mom. Adjusting to life without a father is hard enough, but school is boring and her classmates are standoffish — and even Portia’s mom is strangely distant. But things start looking up when Portia mounts a late-night excursion into the woods behind her house and discovers a shy, sweet-natured purple monster. Life with Jellaby is a lot more exciting, but Portia’s purple friend has secrets of his own; secrets that may even lead to the mystery of Portia’s father’s disappearance!

I first heard about Kean Soo through her work in the FLIGHT series. I got into Jellaby later on, around the time I read BINKY THE SPACE CAT and OWLY. Jellaby and Portia are both extremely cute and to make up for the dialogue that I feel they sometimes lack, Soo makes up for in the adorable pictures and the adventures of Portia and Jellaby.

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In 1923, Nikola Tesla’s career is in its twilight… until he unveils a robot with automatic intelligence – ATOMIC ROBO! After decades of dealing with all manner of weirdness, Atomic Robo and the so-called Action Scientists of Tesladyne become the go-to defense force against the unexplained! See ROBO take on Nazis, giant ants, clockwork mummies, walking pyramids, Mars, cyborgs, and his nemesis, Baron von Helsingard, in his first trade paperback graphic novel.

I found ATOMIC ROBO about the same time I found FOXTROT, and I was really happy to have found it. ATOMIC ROBO is fun, action-packed and has a fresh premise that I really enjoyed. I thought the different sicence parts to it and the way Robo was made was really fun. Even for MG readers, this story can be really enjoyable.

Well, that wraps up Day Four. Do you enjoy graphic novels? What is your opinion on them? Come back tomorrow for Day Five, Awesome Characters.

Happy Birthday Al!

First of all, I just want to say happy birthday to my best friend, Alyson. We’ve known each other for–I think–the last eight years or so. Alyson has introduced a lot of things to me. Instagram. Last Friday Night by Katy Perry. Thrift Shop by Macklemore. When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars. All of these songs she showed me before they were popular. Justin Bieber. One Direction. Hope Solo. Granted, not all of these things were positive (at least on my end XD) but she’s always been a great friend and I love her passion for life and hearing her soccer coach rants.

We’ve also passed along our own fair share of books to each other.

To close, I just want to say, Alyson, thanks for putting up with me. And happy birthday.

Oh yeah. I hate this song, but it’s ours all the same. (ツ)_/¯ ◔_◔

My favorite books that Alyson has passed on to me, (in chronological order):

1) Moving Day by Meg Cabot

Ahh, these books. I remember these. They are my first clear memory of Alyson’s favorite series when we were little. Another friend of ours nicknamed Alyson Aly Finkle after these books. That’s right. Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls. ‘o’

Synopsis: When nine-year-old Allie Finkle’s parents announce that they are moving her and her brothers from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian in town, Allie’s sure her life is over. She’s not at all happy about having to give up her pretty pink wall-to-wall carpeting for creaky floorboards and creepy secret passageways-not to mention leaving her modern, state-of-the-art suburban school for a rundown, old-fashioned school just two blocks from her new house.

pg count for the hardback: 240

Series: Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls

2) Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

The first time I saw Alyson plucking these books off the shelf, I thought of the oranges. Clementines. And the whole day all I could think about was the book. And I ended up reading it while eating an orange. -_-

Synopsis:

Clementine is having not so good of a week.

-On Monday she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair.
– Tuesday, Margaret’s mother is mad at her.
– Wednesday, she’s sent to the principal… again.
– Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.
– Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.
– And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.

Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.

pg count for the hardback: 144

Series: Clementine

3) Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Alyson picked this book up at the book fair and from then on, whenever I saw it, I thought of it as The Book Alyson Picked Up At the Bookfair That I Hadn’t Read Yet. And so I read it, and it was pretty great. In fact, this was the book that introduced me to Wendy Mass.

Synopsis: And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.

At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It’s also were three lives are about to be changed forever:

Ally likes the simple things in life–labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way.

Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide?

Overweight and awkward, jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations.

Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one’s place in the universe.

pg count for the hardback: 322

Stand-alone

4) The Kind of Friends We Used To Be by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Synopsis: In the old days, when Kate had no interest in romance, she never cared what other people thought. Now, it appeared, love was turning her into a rotten human being. Eleven-year-old Kate Faber wishes she could talk to her best friend, Marylin, about this. But Marylin is no longer her best friend. Or is she? Kate and Marylin were always the kind of best friends who lived on the same block for their entire lives, and who agreed on what kinds of boys were worth kissing and who should be invited to their sleepover. The kind of best friends who didn’t need words to talk, but who always just knew.

But lately Marylin has started to think that Kate can be a bit babyish. And Kate thinks Marylin is acting like a big snob. Somehow nothing is the same, but secretly Kate and Marylin both wish it could be…

pg count for the paperback: 247

Sequel: The Kind of Friends We Used to Be

5) Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Okay, so technically I had seen this book before I saw Alyson reading it, but it was because she said it was good that I actually decided to read it, and now it’s one of my favorite middle-grade graphic novels. To see my full review for this book, click here!

Synopsis: From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

pg count for the hardback: 224

Series: Smile

6) Finally by Wendy Mass

I decided I would read this book when I saw it on the floor of Alyson’s room. Then I decided I would read it when I saw it on her table a few months later. And then, I finally read it when I saw it on her bookshelf. For the longest time I didn’t know if this book was called Finally 12 or Finally or 12.

Synopsis: A humorous look at what it means to FINALLY turn twelve years old.

You can pierce your ears when you’re twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you’re twelve. You can babysit little Timmy next door when you’re twelve. You can get a cell phone when you’re twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front passenger-side seat when you’re twelve.
When you’re twelve, when you’re twelve, when you’re twelve . . .
My name is Rory Swenson, and I’ve been waiting to turn twelve my whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen.
My life will officially begin.

pg count for the hardback: 304

Series: Willow Falls #2

7) Talent by Zoey Dean

Again with the book fair. Well, actually, this is a combination of book six and book three. I saw Alyson buy this at the book fair and then it was when I saw it on a stack of books on the floor of her room that I decided to read it.

Synopsis: It’s all about talent in LA: who has it, who doesn?t, who wants it, and who can find it first! When thirteen-year-old Mac Armstrong witnesses newcomer Emily Mungler’s stellar lying-to-gain-entry performance during a movie premiere party at the Roosevelt in Hollywood, it dawns on her that her own talent is to discover it in others! So Mac and her BFFs set out to prove it by turning fresh-from- Cedartown-Iowa Emily into a box office bombshell. They?ll make deals, throw parties, crush on boys, all on the way to discovering that no matter how famous or important you are, friendship always comes first. Well, almost always.

pg count for the paperback: 304

Series: Talent