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Monday, April 14, 2014

Hiatus

CURRENTLY ON A BLOGGING HIATUS

I just need a break from blogging after 7 years with no down time (and that doesn't include my other blogs pre-book blogging!)

I AM STILL READING AND REVIEWING, though, and if you want to keep up with me your two best options are:

1) Follow me on <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1682713-nicola-mansfield">Goodreads</a> for *all* my reviews.

2) Follow my <a href="https://twitter.com/lilelizajane">Twitter Feed</a> for links to the best, the really good or unique books I reviewed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

131. Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou.  (buy)

Rating: (5/5)

Feb 11, 2014; VIZ Media, 216 pgs

Ages: (16+)

"Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle-school student Ganta Igarashii finds himself sentenced to death in the bizarre and fatal theme park/prison known as “Deadman Wonderland.” The inmates of this insane penitentiary fight for survival every day to provide entertainment for the masses. Ganta is determined to survive Deadman Wonderland and clear his name, but the price may be his soul…"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Off to a fantastic start. This is creepy, unsettling, horrific Japanese dystopia at its finest.  Add in a paranormal element and everything you could want is here.  Deadman Wonderland is a most unique world; an amusement park built on top of a privatized prison, the park is run by the inmates and the death row inmates are especially heinously controlled and  made to participate is events (games) which result in life or death.  A little like "Hunger Games" only more violent.  While futuristic and dystopian the story easily crosses over into horror.  Numerous cast members are introduced in this first volume but the focus is on the main two characters, Ganta wrongfully imprisoned on death row for a massacre he did not commit and Shiro, a strange girl with white hair who befriends him.  Awesome new series!  I love this kind of stuff!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

128. Tiger & Bunny 4 by Mizuki Sakakibara

Tiger & Bunny 4 by Mizuki Sakakibara.  (buy)
Tiger & Bunny, 4

Rating: (4/5)

Feb 11, 2014; VIZ Media, 180 pgs

Ages: (13+)

"The heroes face down the deranged NEXT killer Lunatic. Lunatic’s vigilantism has the city on edge, and the heroes find themselves having to convince everyone that NEXT are working for the good of Stern Bild City. Lunatic is in the wrong, but there is much more to the madman than anyone knows…"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

A good issue that takes up the plot of the strange hero introduced and at the end of the last issue and we meet the entirely creepy NEXT "Lunatic" who is a vigilante type, working solo to rid the world of convicted criminals and if they aren't actually guilty ... oh well!  The Heroes on Hero TV must find this guy, get him out of action and restore the Heroes' reputation with the people back to them as they haven't been having much luck lately.  The hero to make an appearance and get his focus this time is the Origami Cyclone, a nice guy who is similar to Bunny in looks, a bit smaller, more rugged, appears to be younger, but one brief mention seems to say he is older, however around the same age.  Origami doesn't feel like hero material as he thinks his power is lame and not a front-line player who could ever make a difference.  With the help of T&B they put him to work and he works as a team using his power of impersonation is a crucial part of bringing in criminals while at the same time the Lunatic is trying to take him down.  Good Stuff!!  Japanese superheroes are a totally different breed than US ones, that's for sure! LOL

Monday, March 24, 2014

125. Magi, Volume 4 by Shinobu Ohtaka.

Magi, Volume 4 by Shinobu Ohtaka.  (buy)
Magi, The Labyrinth of Magic (Vol, 4)

Rating: (5/5)

Feb 11, 2014; VIZ Media, 208 pgs

Ages: (13+) T

"After many adventures, Aladdin and Morgiana finally reach the great city of Balbadd, only to find it seething with corruption and dissent. There, Aladdin reunites with his friend Alibaba hoping to once again capture a dungeon together. However, Aladdin finds that Alibaba has changed and has become the leader of a band of outlaws..."

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I continue to enjoy this series immensely.  It has everything I love: magic, battles, paranormal, developed characters and a strong storyline.  Morgiana is probably the focus of this volume, though Aladdin is a close second. Captured by slave traders once again Mor. puts her new found talents as a Fanaris warrior to use and we have some great strong female warrior action as she saves not only herself but many others, eventually meeting up with Aladdin once more.  They set off on the journey to Balbadd together, Mor so she can take the ship back to her homeland and Aladdin so he can find his long separated friend Alibabba.  What greets them in Balbadd is a town under siege and terror of a horde of thieves who rob from the rich and give to the poor.  But they meet the King and he is a nice guy so they agree to help him out with the thief problem.  Old friends reunite under difficult circumstances and introduced is a new familiar character from the annals of "The Arabian Nights".  A great ending to the book in the way of:  "now let me tell you a story ...."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

119. Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini edited by Tom Pomplun

Graphic Classics: Rafael Sabatini edited by Tom Pomplun (buy)
Graphic Classics, Volume 13

Rating: (4/5)

2006; Eureka Productions, 144 pgs

Ages: (12+)

"Seven Great Tales of Mystery and Swashbuckling Adventure!

• Captain Blood
The origin of Sabatini's famed gentleman pirate in comics by 
Rod Lott and Carlo Vergara

• The Dream
A tale of love, murder and hypnotism, as illustrated by Rich Tommaso

• The Risen Dead
A walking corpse and an abused woman's revenge,
adapted by Antonella Caputo and Jackie Smith

• The Plague of Ghosts
A petty criminal turns ghost-hunter, illustrated by Gerry Alanguilan

• The Valet Mystery
A blackmailer meets his match in a story adapted by Stanley Shaw

• The Spiritualist
Is it spiritualism, or charlatanism? Illustrated by Roger Langridge

• The Fool's Love Story
A jester's unrequitted love, presented by Milton Knight,
and starring his characters Hugo and Trish!

• Plus a biography of Rafael Sabatini in comics by 
Mort Castle and Kevin Atkinson"

Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

I had never heard of Sabatini before I started reading this series and noted his name on the list of titles.  Since then I've read one story in another collection in this series but do not think I've come across him anywhere before.  Since I didn't know the author I started by reading the brief bio always included at the end of these books.  That he was most well-known for his sea-faring, buccaneering stories interested me as did that he was a writer of the 20s and 30s, as I like literature from that time period.  This was a very entertaining book for me and a great introduction to a new-to-me author.  I now realise that I've seen the old Erroll Flynn type movie remakes of his novels but the first story here, an adaptation of the swashbuckler Captain Blood was my least favourite.  What follows is then a varied collection of short stories which would be classified as of the macabre, ghost stories, mysteries, perhaps horror.  I enjoyed all of them and now would most certainly read any shorts I came across by this somewhat elusive author.  There is also included a short graphic biography of Sabatini's life as well, which I enjoyed.  Another book in this series did that also and I was impressed when it was done then.  This graphic-bio. introduction to the author would make a great regular feature for the author-themed titles in this series.  The art is of the usual quality that one expects from the earlier books in this series.  Black and white with varying degrees of styles that all appealed to me in one way or another.  A fine book in the collection and a great way to sample a new author.

Friday, March 21, 2014

124. Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Realm Knights by Pat Shand

Realm Knights by Pat Shand.  Illustrated by Butch Mapa.  (buy)
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents

Rating: (3/5)

Jan 21, 2014; Zenescope, 156 pgs

Ages: (18+)

"Sela. Robyn Hood. Red Riding Hood. Captain Hook. Neptune, God of the Sea. Van Helsing. On their own, they are some of the most powerful beings in the Grimm Universe... but together, they are the Realm Knights! Brought together to stop an ancient evil from regaining his all-powerful weapons, can these conflicted warriors work out their own issues in time to save the world?"

Received an egalley from the publisher through Net Galley.

I really enjoyed this.  It collects together a bunch of the Grimm Universe characters and makes a special ops team out of them (mostly against there will) to fight off Cronus who is trying to reunite the Titans and take back control of the world.  Fun mixture of Greek mythology and the Grimm Universe.  Only problem is that this book falls into a continuity that has already started somewhere that is not made clear to the reader where they should start.  There are lots of asterisks referring one to either published trade collections or single comic issues.  The only character I had previously met before in my Grimm reading was Robyn Hood; I'm sure knowing some of the others would have raised my enjoyment level considerably.  The 2-volume "Unleashed" series is referred to in the asterisks and, as far as I can tell, should at least be the books to read before this one.  I found the art a little underwhelming than what I'm used to with anything I read from Zenescope; this is the first time I've come across Mapa on artwork and the gorgeousness from the regular stable of artists is just not there.  This is an interesting team-up though, I especially liked Van Helsing (she is awesome) and I'd read more.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Justice League Collections Sale! - Comics by comiXology

Justice League Collections Sale! - Comics by comiXology



 PS - I don't have any affiliation here. Just passing a good deal! I can't buy any because I already have all these :-(
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