Monday, November 30, 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 266 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by HarperTeen
Source: local library

Having not been amused by Stevenson's "Lumberjanes" I approached this also widely hailed title with caution only to find myself engaged and endeared. A lovely touching story that is both humorous and fantastically odd. Nimona is a wonderful character! She's a shapeshifter and I've always had a soft spot for 'shifters. But Nimona is unusual, she's either a girl who can turn into any living being she wants including a monster, or! she's a monster who can turn into any living being she wants including a girl. I loved the relationship between her and the not very evil villain. The story is full of action and adventure, but it is also about the oppression and fight for freedom of a town under the thumb of an oppressive, totalitarian government. I wasn't thrilled with the ending but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed my journey getting there and loved the art throughout.

Abbadon by Jimmy Palmiotti

Abbadon by Jimmy Palmiotti; illus by Fabrizio Fiorentino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Adaptive Comics
Source: egalley via edelweiss

I love a good old western and this has a serial killer plot to it so I was all set to love this graphic and it did not disappoint. A true Old West tale where the line between the good and bad guys is blurred. Fantastic art with some pretty gruesome scenes. A storyline that keeps you guessing, pulls several twists, and an ending that surprised me. I didn't like the ending that much, though, truth be told.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

One-Punch Man, Vol. 3 by ONE

One-Punch Man, Vol. 3 by ONE
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 210 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss & Amazon.ca

One-Punch Man (#3)

This lacked the outrageous humour and multi-battles of the first two volumes, but the witty dialogue keeps it interesting. The plot is developed as One-Punch actually has a goal to further himself up the rankings from where he's been first ranked and he and Genos start their apprentice/master relationship. The main story is too short though with two "bonus manga" one shots filling up the rest of the book. A decent read but hoping the next volume will have more "punches" than this one did.

My Hero Academia, Vol. 02 by Kohei Horikoshi

My Hero Academia, Vol. 02 by Kohei Horikoshi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

My Hero Academia (#2)

Love it! Superhero manga is pretty much like ninja manga with costumes and "My Hero Academia" adds in the school environment for a ton of action-packed fun. This did start off a little iffy for me but once the first training class was well underway I got hooked and the story had so much happening I found myself with a page-turner. For an extreme battle packed manga, it has a lot of character development and a pretty dedicated plot. Who the characters are as people is more important than their superhero identities and I really liked the way they were often drawn with half the face masked or a silhouette of the unmasked face behind the superhero. I'm really liking all of the characters at this point both the staff and students. Once again the plot builds up to quite an intense ending leaving me excited to read the next volume. Fans of Tiger & Bunny should like this too.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Flying Beaver Brothers Books 1-6 by Maxwell Eaton III

Before I left for my trip at the beginning of November I didn't have any Cybil books to read but since book 6 of this series was nominated I decided to read all the books since my library had them. Unfortunately, I can't say I enjoyed them at all which was disappointing since I had enoyed a previous book by the same author immensely.


The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan by Maxwell Eaton III
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Flying Beaver Brothers (#1)

 This series is for younger children, probably up to about age ten. It is full of action, in fact, everything zooms along in a sugar rush and pratfall humour is kept to a high. The penguins are cute as they pop-in here and there and the running joke whether they are puffins or penguins is cute. The penguins are not really evil, but their plan to freeze the island is thwarted. The book is coloured in shades of blue and grey.




The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Fishy Business by Maxwell Eaton III
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Flying Beaver Brothers (#2)

The penguins return and are now living with the beaver brothers. They are the best part of this book. Otherwise, this is a boring, pseudo eco-lecture. Factories are bad, they only care about profits, they always lie and we should never make anything out of wood. The characters who at first side with the factory change their mind not because they care about the forest but because 1) their sleep is disturbed and 2) their commercial deal and big house are taken away. The book is coloured in shades of green (colour of the cover) and grey. Eco-didacticism.




The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Mud-Slinging Moles by Maxwell Eaton III
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Flying Beaver Brothers (#3)

This one is more like the first with a sugar rush of non-stop action and slapstick comedy. I'm not fond of the beaver brother themselves, but the penguins are still here, now in their own home as spoken of in the last volume. New characters introduced are the moles, of course, but also the marmot brothers who also live on the island so we may see them again. But no sight of the fish from the last volume though the volcano has now turned into a mountain. Lots of references to previous volumes such that I'd find it hard to make much sense of this if I hadn't read the others. The main theme here is brothers having spats, getting over it and sticking together in the end. Not great but not bad.




The Flying Beaver Brothers: Birds vs. Bunnies by Maxwell Eaton III
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Flying Beaver Brothers (#4)

The beaver brothers get lost in a storm and end up on a different island; this one inhabited by birds and bunnies. By this time we know each book will be illustrated in the same colour as the cover so here we have shades of purple and grey. Many references to previous books and characters which will just seem unintelligible to readers who haven't read the previous books but will be fun to others who are keeping up with the series such as: "Give my best to Bruce." and "Fish Stix? Do you want one? No, they always break." The theme of this book is fighting; war if you get right down to it. The birds and bunnies are fighting each other but being controlled by someone else. The book is a whirlwind ride of action that moves from event to event and I can't say I'm very fond of the series at all.




The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Hot Air Baboons by Maxwell Eaton III
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Flying Beaver Brothers (#5)

 One of the baboons keeps getting his named changed from Ringo to Bono, which little kids are not going to get. Sigh! Let's just leave it at not impressed.










The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Flying Beaver Brothers (#6)

A sugar-rush of action from start to finish with characters and humour based on previous books. Not a recommended series.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ultraman, Vol. 2 by Eiichi Shimizu

Ultraman, Vol. 2 by Eiichi Shimizu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 212 pages
Published November 17th 2015 by VIZ Media
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Ultraman (vol. 2)

Shinjiro continues fighting petty criminals and likes the attention he gets so his reluctance to be Ultraman quickly dissipates. Then he's put to the ultimate test and sent to fight an alien. Lots of action in this volume! I loved the battle scenes. Lots of little things are going on with the plot as well: the reasons for the Ultraman scheme, the serial killer story, and Rena the pop star plays an important role. Everything is intriguing and as I said the action is great.

Yo-kai Watch, Vol. 1 by Noriyuki Konishi

Yo-kai Watch, Vol. 1 by Noriyuki Konishi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Perfect Square
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Yo-kai Watch (#1)

Yo-kai Watch is a proper manga for the young kids. A fairly simple story in which Nate Adams collects Yo-kai friends. Once he has befriended a yokai he may call upon them again to help him out later on. he gets about eight of them in this book. The text is pretty easy to read for this age group so the plot doesn't get too involved but there are plenty of strange characters each chapter (the yokai) and each one either has a problem Nate helps them solve or they help Nate solve a problem. There are fun-loving antics with lots of humour. It will be a bit repetitive for anyone over about age ten, but young readers will love having their own proper manga just for themselves.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lafcadio Hearn's "The Faceless Ghost" and Other Macabre Tales from Japan: A Graphic Novel by Sean Michael Wilson

Lafcadio Hearn's "The Faceless Ghost" and Other Macabre Tales from Japan: A Graphic Novel by Sean Michael Wilson;  Michiru Morikawa (Illustrations), William Scott Wilson (Afterword)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Shambhala
Source: egalley via Netgalley


I'm not a big fan of Lafcadio Hearn, a Victorian Gothic writer who translated Japanese tales of the macabre at the turn of the 20th century. I always doubt whether Hearn was true to his sources as his tales of demons, spirits and yokai are so much more gentle than folktales I've become familiarized with through massive amounts of manga. However, these are slightly strange tales, a little odd, hardly macabre, but pleasant enough reading for a slight shiver. The art is much more satisfying and well done.

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Troy Little

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Troy Little
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 176 pages
November 3rd 2015 by Top Shelf
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Well, what can I say? I loved the art. I haven't read Thompson's book and never had any desire to, but it's one of those books always on the classic or must-read book lists. Now I can finally feel like I'm not missing out but don't have to put myself through the torture of actually reading the book. What a horrid story. I hated it and can't fathom why this is a "classic". I'm glad to have experienced it in the graphic novel format, though.

Nnewts: Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel



Nnewts: Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 185 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by GRAPHIX
Source: local library

Nnewts (Book 1)

Doug TenNapel is one of my favourite graphic novelists. I don't think I could not like anything he did :-) This is a cute fantasy for kids, not his very best work however still good for middle schoolers and elementary. Though the death of the main character's family may be too much for sensitive younger children. Very cute main characters, the nnewts, and scary-looking bad guys but also kind of creepy-cute. Basically an underdog story, where the protagonist has withered legs and cannot walk. It's amphibians vs lizards and a classic good vs evil story. At this point, volume one is an entertaining story without any earth-shattering moments, but the book ends with several plotlines dangling and the promise of something more to come. Knowing TenNapel's other work, I'm interested to see where he goes with the story. Fortunately, the wait won't be long now as book two is due out Jan. 2016!

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde Books 1-4 by Frank Cammuso

The fourth book in this series is nominated for a Cybil this year so I decided to go ahead and read the entire series to get a feel for it. I usually do that when I'm a judge, if it's a reasonable amount of books. This was a fun series!



Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Source: local library

 The Misadventures of Salem Hyde (1)

Salem is a little girl with normal parents but has a great-aunt who is a witch. She's inherited the gene and is a head-strong girl who hasn't been able to control her magic or spells. Along comes Whammy to be her teacher. This is a cute, funny comic book drawn in monotone with shades of green. The humour is aimed at kids with the occasional joke or two aimed up higher to the adult who may be reading the book to the intended audience. This works well and kept me, the sole reader, interested. Both Salem and Whammy appeal to me and it's certainly the kind of thing I'd have loved at that age. Look forward to the next story.



Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Amulet Books
Source: local library

 The Misadventures of Salem Hyde (2)

This is a cute little series particularly aimed at girls. Full of hi-jinx and escapades with no lessons learnt, Salem and her teacher, Whammy the cat, annoy each other but are becoming good friends. I particularly like the art which in this book is b/w drawings with shades of pink. The cover is pink and book one had a green cover with the illustrations inside shades of green. Cute and funny.




Cookie Catastrophe by Frank Cammuso
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Amulet Books
Source: local library

 The Misadventures of Salem Hyde (3)

My favourite one so far! This one has an orange cover so by now we know that means the illustrations will be coloured with shades of orange. A girl scout themed story only here they are called the "Squirrel Scouts". Salem gets to wear a uniform, endures the hardships of door-to-door cookie selling and finally camping. Of course, she's plagued by spells going wrong causing havoc at every turn but she's improved a bit since the first book and does get one right now and then at least when it comes to fixing her mistakes. This continues the humour on two levels reaching both the intended audience and the adults who may be reading too. I'm charmed with this cute series.




Dinosaur Dilemma by Frank Cammuso
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Amulet Books
Source: local library

 The Misadventures of Salem Hyde (4)

This series gets better and better. Book 4 had me laughing out loud. Starting off with a hilarious dead goldfish sketch, I eagerly turned the page for Salem's next 'misadventure'. Salem's spells don't exactly go wrong in this volume as she gets the results she's looking for, but they create a havoc she hadn't expected. The story is hilarious with lots of gags and humour on two levels, one for the kids and the other reaching out to the adults. I especially giggled over a scene with Whammy trying to tell Salem about a dog he had called Old Yeller. Salem turns the humour into a joke about the lame name and giving examples of better names for a yellow dog, but when she asks what tricks could he do like perhaps play dead ... well, Whammy, gets all sad. And I just cracked up! Speaking of yellow, keeping to the theme of these books a yellow cover means the illustrations inside are b/w drawings coloured with shades of yellow. The yellow isn't as vibrant as the other books, but I like the way Cammuso brought the colour itself into the story this time. This is a really fun series, with just a hint of dark humour but full of cuteness and hi-jinx. I'd certainly recommend for libraries.

PS. Book 5 is aready out too, just a few weeks ago! Frozen Fiasco. My library doesn't have it yet so I'll wait until the new year to read it.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick



The Marvels by Brian Selznick
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 665 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Scholastic Press
Source: local library

I was hooked until the text part of the book met up with the illustrated part then he lost me. As the story proceeded to unravel and reveal I found myself disappointed, dissatisfied and eventually becoming bored. The first half of the story is tense and exciting, the illustration is, of course, outstanding, but the expected climax is not worth the build-up. The twist is dull and silly. The whole time I felt like I was reading about an old man

This book is different from his first two in that it is written in two separate blocks. First comes the almost 400 pages of wordless illustration then comes a block of almost 200 pages of text, finishing with a short section of illustration. When I first saw this I thought this might annoy me rather than the switching back and forth of the previous books but it didn't at all. It read fast and it still works this way; it's just a boring plot and quite melodramatic at times too. 2.5 stars actually.

PS, This isn't a graphic novel by definition. I wouldn't even call it a hybrid, but it was nominated in this category. If I was a librarian I would shelve it with juvenile fiction, plain and simple.