Monthly Archives: October 2012

Promo Post: Bones Wires by Michael Shean

Title: Bone Wires
Author: Michael Shean
Series: Standalone
Genre: Science Fiction
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase:Amz/ B&N

Blurb from Amazon:
In the wasteland of commercial culture that is future America, police are operated not by government but by private companies. In Seattle, that role is filled by Civil Protection, and Daniel Gray is a detective in Homicide Solutions. What used to be considered an important – even glamorous – department for public police is very different for the corporate species, and Gray finds himself stuck in a dead end job.

That is, until the Spine Thief arrives.

When a serial killer begins harvesting the spinal tissue of corporate employees all over the city, Detective Gray finds himself plunged into the first truly major case of his career. Caught in a dangerous mix of murder, betrayal and conflicting corporate interest, Gray will find himself not only matching wits with a diabolical murderer but grappling with his growing doubt toward his employers in the dawning months of the American tricentennial. A thrilling mystery set in the same world as the Wonderland Cycle, Bone Wires is a grim trip into the streets of the empty future.

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Review: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 1 by Keiko Nobumoto

Title: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 1
Author: Keiko Nobumoto
Artist: Toshitsugu Iida
Series: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 1
Genre: Manga
Format: Paperback
Source:  Library
Pub. Year: 2003
Purchase: Amz/ B&N

Blurb from B&N:

Four wolves on the run from mankind answer the highest, most dire calling-they seek the legendary Paradise. From the creators of Cowboy Bebop and Escaflowne comes this new manga take on the hit suspense anime Wolf’s Rain. Humans thought the wolves died off two centuries ago in this bleak post-apocalyptic wasteland. But some survivors lurk among the humans by mentally cloaking their animal bodies. One white wolf, Kiba, scours the land for the scent of the Lunar Flower that will lead them all to Paradise…

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Random: Starting to notice a pattern. Watch anime, then read the manga version.

I love the anime of Wolf’s Rain so I had to pick this manga up. It’s a much faster pace than the anime though.

Character wise, the majority of the anime cast is present in the book. The wolf pack consists of Kiba (the emotionless but true believer of Paradise), Tsume (cynical of Paradise), Hige (always hungry) and Toboe (the kid). They are not best friends and just join forces because when you are being shot at, it’s the only rational thing to do. We have Detective Hubb Lebowski and his ex-wife, Dr. Cher Degre. Cher is the scientist who is analyzing Cheza the Lunar Flower and key to Paradise (so the wolves are tracking Cheza). There is also Quent the wolf hunter and his dog, Blue. They may play an important part later because he is determined to kill the wolves. The villain is Darcia who looks fantastic with his crazy porcelain mask and black hair flying everywhere. He is what a villain should should like. Strong and paralyzing. Everyone is pretty much interested in Cheza and her abilities.

What Paradise is..is Paradise like the Garden of Eden. The wolves are looking for it because they are near extinction. It’s not explicit as to why Kiba is looking for it but it could be a new home for the wolves because it looks like only wolves can track Cheza down. Cher has to analyze Cheza for the sake of science. What Darcia wants with Cheza is not explicit in the manga yet but like all good villains, I hope he will eventually reveal why he is after the Lunar Flower’s abilities.

Like I said, it is fast paced so perhaps not all the character are completely open to the readers. All the main characters are introduce right way but it is easy to keep track of them because they are drawn with unique features. The plot is pretty simple, everyone is looking for Cheza. They just want to find or have her. There are some minor sub-plots like Toboe meeting Tia and learning about the flower legend and the complicated relationship between Hubb and Cher.

Overall, it was pretty decent. It’s not a complicated plot, it’s just “Find Cheza.” All the characters are unique so there is not problem to identify them but they haven’t been given much of a personal background. They almost appear one dimensional but they are not. The art is amazing and so is the dialogue. The dialogue can be funny at times like Tsume saying that if they (the wolves) have to resort cannibalism that they shouldn’t eat Kiba because “he is full of crap.” I think it is hilarious; Tsume with his cynical and sarcastic is probably the best character of the series.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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76th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: M/GN/VG, TV Addict, Science Fiction, Dystopia, First in a Series

Review: The Highway Shooter by C.E. Chesscher

Title: The Highway Shooter
Author: C.E Chesscher
Series: Standalone
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Format: E-book
Source:  MuseItUp Publishing
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ Smashwords/MP
I received this novel free of charge from MuseItUp Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:

In The Highway Shooter: A South Texas Cozy Mystery, newspaper reporter Glennis Dunning and Deputy Sheriff Jake Briggs join forces to fight for justice for a Hispanic teenager wrongly accused of murder.

As Enrique Sandoval awaits his murder trial, disenfranchised Latinos, convinced of the teenager’s innocence, rise up for the first time ever to challenge the entrenched power structure. As Latinos flex their new-found power, a labor movement arises from neighborhood meetings in 1967 Pettrolius, Texas, a Coastal Bend oil town.

Dunning and on-again, off-again boyfriend Briggs mount an effort to bridge the racial divide and restore order before the town spirals toward disaster. The pair has a month to disentangle the real murderer’s web of deceit. If they fail, an innocent boy faces the electric chair, and the town’s wounds may prove permanent.

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As it turns out, I’m not a fan of cozy mysteries. I never knew that until this book. Or maybe it is just this book. I have to admit, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about this book.

Character wise, Glennis Dunning was a good main character. She was independent and questioning of her 1960’s society. She was like “No man tells me what to do and I don’t report to any man” so she was pretty cool. Deputy Briggs was the man Glennis wasn’t reporting to and he seemed a little slow. He wasn’t a captivating male lead because he didn’t have a defining feature that made him stood out. He wasn’t sarcastic or funny; he was just there.I didn’t particularly cared for the villain or the supporting cast.

Let’s get down to went wrong, for me, in this book. One of the most crucial things is how Glennis goes about solving the case. There is not one shred of physical evidence that could be admitted to a court of law. It’s all conversations and what people tell her. It’s hearsay is what a lawyer would say and I agree. I think she is a smart lady for putting it together but it’s not pieced together elegantly. And if the villain had not revealed what he knows in a fantastic Law & Order style, then Enrique would have gone to jail. Keeping quiet is the always the right move for the villain but really, when are villains rational?

Another issue with this novel is the amount of dialogue. It read like a play and that is frankly annoying because I’m not reading a play, I’m reading a novel. A lot of the information was revealed through dialogue or events that as readers we are not privilege to but that’s going along with how the case was solved. It wasn’t lacking in details but there is something missing in the book. It may that it needed more world-building…I guess.

What it did right was just the handling of relationship between the characters. Glennis and Jake have a complicated relationship and it shows. Glennis tends to get mad at him quite often but they do work together well. The relationship between Glennis and her mother is an important one because it showcases where Glennis’ independent streak comes from.

The political nature of this book was believable and great until Chesscher decided to portray the Hispanic leader as a sleazeball. It pretty much ended my positive view on the way the tensions were highlighted. The tension between whites and Latinos was apparent in the way the town was divided and how the Sandoval family was treated. The politics of the book are a hit and miss with me because it hits right at the mark of what the Hispanic community went through during that time but having a sleazeball as a leader just devalues it. It’s a little disappointing but I suppose I understand where the author is coming from. If the white leader is a sleazeball, then so must the Hispanic one in order to be fair.

In the end, this book is not for me. Not because it is badly written or subject matter. It’s not for me because I prefer serial killers over innocent bystanders, people with legal training over reporters, and book that don’t deal with politics unless they are really political books.

2 BB-Library

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75th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Men in Uniform, E-book

Review: Batman Year One by Frank Miller

Title: Batman Year One
Author: Frank Miller
Series: None
Genre: Graphic Novel
Format: Hardcover
Source:  Library
Pub. Year: 1987
Purchase: Amz/ B&N

Blurb from Amazon:
A deluxe trade paperback edition of one of the most important and critically acclaimed Batman adventures ever, written by Frank Miller, author of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS!

In addition to telling the entire dramatic story of Batman’s first year fighting crime, this collection includes reproductions of original pencils, promotional art, script pages, unseen David Mazzucchelli Batman art and more.

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It is really hard to properly review any Batman-related item because I love Batman so I’m extremely biased. Extremely biased.

Miller reintroduces Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, Catwoman, and Gotham City to the readers. Bruce Wayne still has the same background story of his parents being murdered. He tries to have the playboy personality. He shows his commitment to trying to clean up the city. I wasn’t expecting Catwoman to show up in the first book. Catwoman is pretty awesome (in general) and her history is changed. She doesn’t have a costume right at the beginning of the book. The most fascinating character to me was Jim Gordon. He has an interesting background that I didn’t expect or know. His wife is Barbara, not his daughter like in the animated series. I always knew he was a clean cop but Miller shows that clean doesn’t always mean a wimp because Gordon places his enemies in their place. Gordon appears to be the moving forward factor in this book.  Harvey Dent makes a quick appearance as well. Interestingly enough, he seems to be on the side of Batman instead of chastising him.

The villains, oh, I’m a huge fan of Batman villains and villains…mostly. Since it is at the beginning of Batman’s career, the well-known and crazy villains are not in the book. The villains are common people and the corrupt police officers. That’s an important feature because Batman hasn’t perfected his crafts and it makes sense to take on villains that are not as “out there.”

Artwork, I really love it. It is so different than manga artwork. For starters, there is a color. It’s amazing how much that changes the attitude of the work. The artwork appears to be more of a classic style of comic so there are more block-like shape characters but a little darker. There is a dark mood in Gotham City.

There are some extras features at the end of the book like a letter from Miller describing his thoughts on Batman. Extra sketches and rough drawn sketches. They are nice to see.

At the end of the book, Gordon mentions The Joker and his threat to the city just like in Batman Begins. That was great of Christopher Nolan to give a nod to this graphic novel.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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74th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: M/GN/VG