Monday, October 23, 2017

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Vol. 2 by Brian Buccellato,(Writer), Bruno Redondo (Illustrations), Mike S. Miller (Illustrations)

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Vol. 2Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Vol. 2 by Brian Buccellato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I felt like this was very short but eventful. Superman is no longer neutralized, and he's madder than ever. Constantine is up to his scheming at maximum levels. I liked that this one had lots of magic in it. Injustice messes with my head, because Superman is a terrible and formidable villain. Wonder Woman as well. Ugh, her crush on Superman has made her into a terrible dupe. I am and always will be Team Batman, just saying. The body count is always high in this series, and I hate that people fall in with an authoritarian because he know how to manipulate fear (sounds familiar with the current situation in the US right now). I will finish this because I want to know how this ends. But I will be holding my breath and gritting my teeth the whole time.

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Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies by Greg Rucka, et al

Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The LiesWonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies by Greg Rucka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very good rebirth/reboot of Wonder Woman. It introduces a character who I would consider Wonder Woman's arch-nemesis, although their relationship is very complicated, Cheetah aka Barbara Minerva. Also, Steve Trevor plays a big role.

I loved the artwork. While nice, the cover art doesn't live up to the wonderful illustration inside the book.

Greg Rucka is an excellent writer, and his skills are beautifully displayed in this volume. His understanding of what makes the characters tick is evident. He gets Diana, Steve and Barbara. He also examines our society in which the lives of girls and women are disregarded as not valuable, especially if they don't serve some usefulness. Barbara's character arc shows the damage that a misogynistic culture can do to a person.

I also liked how this volume delves into the Greek mythology aspects of Diana's heritage. Her father is not who she thought he was. She also realizes that the Amazons have kept secrets from her. This leads to her sense of disillusionment. Also this book explores Diana's relationship with Steve. Although I not-so-secretly ship Diana and Bruce, WonderBat, I like her and Steve together. I think the problem is that Steve is a soldier and is entrenched in the human world, whereas Diana is immortal and pretty much a demigoddess, which puts a time limit on their relationship, and they're still trying to figure all out that out.

I'm pretty happy with this first book in the Rebirth series of Diana. This is the best Wonder Woman comic I've read so far. Looking forward to reading more.

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Suicide Squad, Volume 4: Kill Anything Tim Seeley (Goodreads Author) , Juan Ferreyra (Illustrations), Sean Ryan (Writer)

New Suicide Squad, Volume 4: Kill AnythingNew Suicide Squad, Volume 4: Kill Anything by Tim Seeley
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

This was a pretty good conclusion to this run of Suicide Squad. It's very frenetic and wild. It's hard to keep up with what's going on. Waller fans will like this volume because she gets to show how badass she is in the field. I wish I remembered more, since it's been forever since I read this. If you want to read modern Suicide Squad, then this is pretty decent, but I preferred the previous series.

Edited since this morning: I remember this. It involves a cult of death, and that was a pretty cool idea. Lots of crazy types stuck in a castle, trying to kill each other. Now that I think about it, this is my favorite in this run.

Pro tip: Don't wait three months to write a book review.

Overall rating: 4.25/5.0 stars.

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Justice League, Volume 8: Darkseid War Pt II by Geoff Johns et al

Justice League, Volume 8: Darkseid War, Part 2Justice League, Volume 8: Darkseid War, Part 2 by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is by far the darkest Justice League book I've read at this point. Darkseid is bad enough, but if he had offspring with a disgraced Amazon, you can imagine how bad that would turn out. Everyone of the JL has serious issues, and there are some fatalities. So much happens, and it's been a while since I read this, so I'm going by my memory. It was very good, lots of action, very dark as I said earlier. I really like how the Crime Syndicate from Earth One shows up. They are so deliciously twisted.

I think Geoff Johns is a good writer. He draws you into the story and his writing melds well with the art. Sometimes I get lost trying to interpret what the panels are doing in some books. I didn't feel that way with this one, even with all the drama that's going on.

A lot of big surprises in this one, and some really great cameos. Unlikely heroes show up, and the big dependable heroes seem humbled in this. I would recommend it, despite the fact that it's very chaotic in some ways.

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Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrisson (writer), Yanick Paquette (Artist), Nathan Fairbairn (Colourist), Todd Klein (Letterer)

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was kind of weird. It was a skewed version of the Wonder Woman origin story, but instead of their patron goddess being Hera, it's Aphrodite. You can imagine how that could change a few things. It has a lot more overt sapphic tones than I've seen with Wonder Woman (but hardly surprising or shocking). I mean its a Utopian all female society, so why wouldn't the women pair up together as partners and lovers? I was fine with that. I think some of their rituals were on the verge of kinky if I'm honest. I've always been leery of sex and violence together thought.

I did like that Steve Trevor was black in this version. The relationship that Diana has with him is undefined. Since Wonder Woman has a lover already, I wasn't sure that there were any romantic undertones in her relationship with Trevor as it was written.

When Diana comes to the world of men, she is portrayed as very dominant with an edge of cruelty. I didn't love that about her characterization. I don't see Diana as being that kind of person.

The storyline where she encounters the sorority girls on a wild spring break trip and bonds with a particular girl was a bit odd. I know it was a way to group Diana and teach her the ways of the modern world. I didn't much care for it.

Honestly, I was glad this is Earth One. While I didn't mind the aspect of Diana being queer, and I liked that Steve was black, I didn't care for other aspects of the storyline. It wasn't terrible, so I would still give this three stars.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Samurai Game by Christine Feehan

Samurai Game (Ghostwalkers, #10)Samurai Game by Christine Feehan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

3rd Reread Completed in October 2017.:

I think that Azami is one of Feehan's more complex GhostWalker heroines. She is definitely the most tortured. Like physically and emotionally. Whitney used her for experiments and operated on her repeatedly and then literally threw her away. She rose like a phoenix from the ashes, which is why her tattoo is so appropriate. I love how badass she is. Not only badass, but also very calm and soothing and has a sense of peace that took many years of discipline to cultivate. I think she's perfect for Sam.

Sam is such a sweetie. I love him. He's definitely lethal and capable of kicking butt big time, but he's also like a big cuddly teddy bear. He's so loyal. I was so glad to see he got a good heroine.

I loved how Sam and Azami connected deeply, and one couldn't even say it was because Whitney paired them. They share a history of having grown up in trouble surroundings and being adopted, and a craving for a real sense of family and home. It makes me so happy that they are together.

I like how much of the action in this book is Azami on her mission to cut off Whitney's espionage supply pipeline. She is ruthless about taking out her enemies, but I'm not mad at her.

One thing that bothered me this time as much as the last, Feehan barely mentions that Sam is African American. I would have liked more references to his skin color just as it was important to get a clear image of him in my head. I made up my own image. However, someone who picked up this book first probably wouldn't even know Sam was black.

As always, I love seeing Team One work together and joke around. I like how Feehan takes the time to introduce some characters she hadn't featured before, like Jonas and Kyle. I liked how much Ryland, Gator, Tucker, Nico, and Ian were in this, not to mention the ladies such as Saber, Lily, and Flame.

I never get enough of these book. This completes the reread of the books I have already read at least twice. Now I'm moving onto Viper Game, for my first reread.

2nd Reread Completed in April 2015. I wanted to revisit the GhostWalkers before I read Viper Game. And let's face it, I start getting withdrawal pains when I spend too long away from the GhostWalkers. I'm obsessed.

My thoughts this time around:

I just plain love this book. I mean, it's nothing special amongst the other books, but I really felt the love between Azami and Sam. I think even though they only knew each other for a short period, and they couldn't have been paired on both sides, it was just a synergy between them that made my true romantic heart feel warm and fuzzy. They make such a good pair, and Sam happened to put into words, they just fit together. Their relationship was deeply romantic and appealingly sensual. Those of us who have followed Team One's GWs, I don't think they could be dissatisfied at seeing Sam get his woman.

I love them just as much as individuals. Sam is so fantastic. He's such a good guy. Smart as a whip, lethal as a ninja and sweet as a puppy. That is my kind of combination. This is one of those heroes that I often wish "Why can't I have a guy like that?" It doesn't happen much. I usually view romance as escapism, and it's not wish fulfillment for me, if I'm honest. More than anything, I'm more in love with love. But, yeah, Sam is 100% on my personal compatibility scale. I think out of all the GhostWalkers, he's probably the one I feel like I would be a good match with in real life. But enough of that!

Azami, I have a serious girl crush on her. She's freaking lethal, but elegant and demure. She's highly intelligent, but has no desire to showboat about it. And she's a serious survivor. Out of all the crap that Whitney did in his experimentation with the GhostWalkers, he committed the most atrocities to her. But it didn't break her, she was reborn as a samurai. There is something about a woman warrior that I just love. While I don't have a tendency towards being a warrior in real life, I truly love that aspect of a woman. Yes, I admit I have a secret desire to be a ninja that never went away. Azami's secret assaults on Whitneys organization were long in coming. He things she's thrown away and probably dead, but she's the real ghost who is going to give him his reckoning.

I do believe this book is slightly more action-focused than the previous book. While Feehan goes in detail with some of the operational information, I liked that. I'm sort of geeky about special ops stuff.

I could probably rave more, but I don't want to repeat myself over what I said on my last read. I can say that it definitely stands up to a reread. Sadly, it makes me want to start the series all over again, but I lack the time for it. :)


Original Review:
I was so sad to finish this book. I love visiting with the GhostWalkers in any capacity, and the arrival of the long lost Thorn (now called Azami) was desperately appreciated. Sam is a sweetheart while clearly maintaining his capable and lethal identity as an enhanced soldier. He is a very calm, together person. I think in some ways, the quiet heart of Team One. From the other books he seemed courtly and down to earth, eminently huggable. It's nice to see more dimensions to him and to see his love story unfold.

Hanging out with Team One again was awesome. And getting to meet the incredibly gifted and advanced Daniel was a real pleasure. He's going to make life very interesting for his parents and the Teams. Also, it was nice seeing Ryland in the field again. I missed seeing him kick some butt. The Team is not just a well-oiled military team, but a close-knit brotherhood/family.

While there is definitely an insta-love vibe between Sam and Thorn, it works for them. I could and do believe in their love. Sam and Azami connect on an intellectual, physical and emotional level. Sam has always kept a part of himself separate from others (despite his tight bonds with the other members of Team One and their wives), and when Azami comes along, she finds her way into the deeper parts of him very quickly. He wants to be her protector, although this lethal woman is more than capable of taking care of herself and others. Sam sees the wounds that Whitney's experiments have left on Azami's psyche and body and it only makes her more beautiful to him, not the broken, unwanted person she fights to leave behind. I loved that Azami is a samurai warrior in every way. I also loved her demure, together, composed demeanor. Despite her calm, she is a very passionate, deep person. She has a lot of strength to survive what she endured from Whitney's heinous experiments, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. The tattoos she wears are very representative of her journey and her psyche. I have to admit, I wish I had gotten to see her go to town with a katana (I'm a martial arts freak, so forgive!), but she proves her lethal skill in many ways, as much as ninja assassin as a samurai (and for a girl who has always thought ninjas were freaking awesome, that worked for me). I liked what I saw of her brothers, and honestly would like to see more.

I am very curious to see where the conspiracy will go next with Whitney and Violet. It looks like there's going to be a game-changer on this front. Azami is going to be a real asset in this arena, with her intel into Whitney, and her resources as a Yoshiie. She probably hates Whitney more than all of the other GhostWalkers combined, and with good reason. Whitney made a huge mistake underestimating her and the other GhostWalker women, not to mention the strong bond between the GhostWalkers. His reckoning is coming, although I don't want to see this series end any time soon.

This book felt too short. I was enjoying it so much, when it ended, I was like, "Oh, no!" I would have been happy with seventy-five more pages, easy. It's like leaving a gathering of your favorite people when these books end, knowing you might not get to spend time together again for a while. I really don't want to wait a year for another installment. It's going to be a long wait. I think I will end up rereading this book to experience more of Sam/Azami's love story and the GhostWalkers yummy goodness.

It's hard to say how I felt about this book, other than loving it and smiling most of the time as I read. The action was hardcore and fierce, and the loving was intense and beautiful, deeply emotional. Despite that satisfaction I felt reading it, I fight a pervasive feeling of sadness because it's over and I don't want to leave this world. I guess I need therapy for my GhostWalkers addiction! That's all I can say right now! Another thumbs up from this die-hard GhostWalkers fan.

*This might be a first draft for this review as my feelings coalesce into something coherent.*

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The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne

The Hunter (Victorian Rebels, #2)The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate that I am so late writing this review. It's in no way a reflection on this book, because I loved it. Christopher Argent is the real deal. He is in every way a lethal assassin. Yes he really does almost kill Millie. But he can't do it. Something about her, he just can't. They form a bond that is terribly inconvenient to Christopher, he's a damaged soul who has vowed not to love anyone or anything since he lost his mother in such a horrible way. He is rich beyond calculation, has a fearsome reputation, is at the top of his game as an assassin, but inside he's a prisoner. He is truly a tortured hero in every way. I love tortured heroes. I love dangerous heroes. I love assassins. And he's a redhead. Bingo! It's Christmas.

Millie is a great heroine. She's strong and intelligent and loving and determined. She's able to work past her fears or rejection and rightfully fear of being with a cold, ruthless man like Christopher, to try to reach his heart. He's the man for her and she knows it very quickly. The question is how to conquer his arctic heart and soul.

Kerrigan Byrne knows how to write a spicy romance that will burn the pages up. She doesn't disappoint in this book. However, because Christopher is so damaged, it takes a while for them to get intimate and even longer before it's truly satisfying. I liked how she shows the ice melting around his heart, and how it's a painful process, much like when one has frostbite and hypothermia and must be warmed slowly. Millie is so good about giving Christopher space, but not giving up on him. She also has some wounds of the soul, but in contrast, she has gotten healing for her wounds. And she has her adorable son who anchors her and gives her a reason for being.

The action is very good and the villains are very evil. There are some quite violent moments. Nothing gory, but it's done in a way that cements the authenticity of the dangerous world that Argent lives in, and the seriousness of the thread that Millie is facing. I loved seeing Farah and Dorian from The Highwayman, and we get to meet the heroine for the next book The Highlander. I confess I read that one first, so I'm excited to look back and see where Mena came from. Her story is very sad. I'm glad she gets her happy ending in the next book.

If you're a historical romance fan and you're not reading this series, you need to rectify that immediately. This is a great series. I've loved every book I've read. Dangerous heroes and strong, intelligence, loving heroines in an authentic historical setting with plenty of action and intrigue. Oh and some hot loving. What more can you ask for?

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I reread this for the Classics for Beginners group read via the Audible audiobook narrated by Hope Davis. The audio format was a good idea. I was able to do other things and still experience the story again as an adult. While it definitely feels of the time period it was written, it didn't feel that dated to me. I will divide my comments into sections because that seems like a good approach for this book.


The characterization is in my opinion the focus of this novel. The main characters include Meg Murry, her younger brother Charles Wallace, Calvin O'Keefe, a slightly older boy that goes to Meg's school, and the mysterious Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Secondary characters include Meg's mother and father and brothers, and the various beings that they encounter on their journey.

Meg's characterization is complicated. At times she is unlikable because she tends to be moody and somewhat whiny. This is understandable, to a great degree, considering how her father disappeared and she misses him, and also her awkwardness as a person. Meg is brilliant when it comes to mathematics, but her social abilities are lacking.

Calvin is a character that balances Meg in very good ways. Calvin is a young man of words and communication. His ability to get along with everyone is crucial on their journey. He is able to understand people and talk to them on their level. And he's a very humane person. He takes the time to understand that brilliant people often don't bother with.

Charles Wallace is a special young boy. His intelligence is off the charts, frankly eerie. This never explained. However, his unique persona is at the crux of this novel. The great evil that they encounter happily tries to exploit his specialness for its own purpose.

Mrs. Whatsit, Who and Which are strange ladies that Charles Wallace and Meg become acquainted with, and help them on their journey to find their father. They seem like eccentric women but they are so much more. The relationship that Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin develops with them is one of loving support.

Meg's mother Katherine was not in this book very much. I wish we had seen her viewpoint more, but that wasn't the goal of the author. Meg's father Alexander plays a bigger role, but he is more ancillary compared to the three kids. He is their motivation and he's the catalyst for the story. The two twins Sandy and Dennys are used more as a contrast to Meg and Charles Wallace, because they are the relentlessly normal offspring in the family.

The evil beings in this novel are nebulous, not really explained, but definitely threatening. I think there are some very philosophical aspects that go alone with the concept of evil in this story that will attempt to delve into shortly.

There's another character that I can't get into without spoiling this review, so I will just say that Meg encounters a being who becomes a bit of an analogue for her mother and father. She connects to this being and gets a necessary sense of acceptance and caring that she hasn't experienced for some time due to the situation of her father being gone, her mother also being a scientist and having three other brothers with which she has to share attention.


This is a science fiction novel with a healthy dose of philosophy and a debatable aspect of religion/spirituality. That last part would depend on a person's viewpoint on the subject. Meg and Charles Wallace are essentially on a journey to find their father, and Calvin comes along for the ride. They travel to other worlds using the concept of tessering. This is something that Meg's mother and father stumbled across, but the Mrs. W know a lot more about doing right. Because this book is written for a younger audience (late tweens to teens), the danger that the kids encounter is there but it's not illustrated in detail. Nevertheless, you get the idea how dire the situation is for the kids.


"A Wrinkle in Time" is a novel about family, sacrifice, relationships, and the concepts of good versus evil. I will attempt to explain what I got out of the novel, probably imperfectly.

Being intelligent is a valued commodity. I think that L'Engle seems to want to say that being smart in and of itself brings along with it some challenges and doesn't protect a person from its consequences or solve all the problems that they might have to deal with in their lives. I believe this is well-illustrated through the struggles of Meg, Charles Wallace, and her mom and dad. Dad might be brilliant, but his brilliance alone cannot save Charles Wallace. Mom might be a brilliant microbiologist, but it doesn't mean she is any less lonely or doesn't struggle with being the sole caregiver to a young family of four children. Meg might be a math genius, but it doesn't make her excel in school or get along better with others. On the other hand, Calvin is a well-balanced person who is intelligent in his way, but also has emotional intelligence and is gifted with needed communication skills.

Meg shows how we must conquer our fears and do what needs doing in spite of them. Sometimes we go into situations knowing we are out of our depth, but this is inevitable. We have to just be present and do what needs doing, and if we're blessed that's enough. Meg also illustrates how we can strike out in our pain at others because of our suffering. With maturity comes the understanding that we all have struggles, and hurting others because we're in pain never achieves what we desire. She learns to temper her fears and frustrations and to focus on the goals and objective. I think that's a very good lesson for people of all ages.

Charles Wallace shows the cost of arrogance. He thought that because he was crazy intelligent and very unique, that would be all he needed to conquer the enemy, but it only got him into a worse situation. Arrogance can definitely write checks that we can't cash.

The concepts of spirituality are present in this novel. Many times, characters quote Bible verses. The true nature of some of the character makes me think of celestial and demonic beings. The theme of self-sacrifice, agape love, and sacrificial love is at the heart of Christian ethos. I don't think anyone could deny that these definitely point to the Christian faith of the author L'Engle. However, she doesn't force a telescopic view of the world through Christian theology on the reader. She cites and includes some philosophic concepts that more orthodox-thinking Christians would have a hard time with. She doesn't put Christians on a higher level in society than non-Christians who have also made important contributions. Also, science is a big part of this novel. On a personal level, I didn't find a belief in scientific concepts incongruous with spiritual belief, but this is not the case with fundamentalist Christian believers. For that reason, they would not like this book. Also, narrow thinking Christians won't like the idea that the Mrs. seem like kindly old witches.

Some Shortcomings of This Novel:

I would still give this five stars because I still love this book and it's also from nostalgia of when I read it many years ago. Meg's temper tantrums could be problematic. Also, there is a scene where Charles Wallace is very violent towards his sister that might be upsetting to some readers. The conclusion is a bit too abrupt for my tastes, quite honestly. I've found that to be the case with many books I've read lately. I said earlier in this book that it doesn't feel that dated. I'm sort of wrong in the sense that the concepts of family are very traditional. Meg feels like she can't go on without having her father's presence (as though he is a lodestar for his family). That in itself is not a bad thing, but modern readers who didn't grow up with this sort of family probably wouldn't connect to this. Also, when they go to Camazotz, it feels like "Leave it to Beaver" on steroids. Very traditional, 1950s sort of view of life. There is no allusion whatsoever to multiculturalism or the concept that all families don't look the same. I did like how L'Engle makes a point that this sort of societal design is sterile and kills any kind of ingenuity or joy of living.

Is This Science Fiction?:

That's a question that will inevitably come up for a reader. I think it definitely is science fiction. Google defines science fiction as: "fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets." Under this definition, it would be difficult to argue against this being a science fiction novel. A huge aspect of this novel is the concept of physics and using it to navigate through 'wrinkles' in time. Also, the book involves traveling to other planets and exploring what life on those planets would be like. Also how advanced science technologies would change life as we know it. The thing that might trip up some readers is the equally strong aspect of philosophy to this story. I don't think these two things are mutually exclusive. In fact, they can go hand in hand. Good versus evil is at the root of most good fiction. And this is played out endlessly in everyday life. Sometimes, it's subtle. Many of us can argue that we don't meet truly evil people, but when you do encounter evil, you always know it deep in your gut. If you haven't read this book, you should decide for yourself and let me know what you think of it as a science fiction book.

I would recommend this book to readers who haven't had a chance to explore this book. I liked the audiobook version. Hope Davis is a good narrator, and she acquits herself well in styling each character. Many years after my first reading, it's still one of my favorites.

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