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Sunday, July 26, 2015

REVIEW: Fables Vol. 22: Farewell

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review

Reading Fables has been a monumental part of my life for the past several years. In fact, these were the first graphic novels I ever read.  As the series comes to a close, there is a bittersweet sense of finality.

This final volume brings readers once again to the ultimate showdown between Snow White and Rose Red. Who will win this battle? Who will choose sides? Who lives? Who dies? Will Bigby remember his family or slaughter them all? All of our questions are answered and then some Likewise, fan favorites such a Boy blue, Lake, Flycatcher, Grimble and more take a final bow with great flourish.

Fans certainly won't be disappointed. This is a fitting end with much of the tell tale elements Fables lovers have come to expect.  There is certainly close attention paid to characters and the finalization of key stories.  While most loose ends are wrapped up nicely, readers get a few glimpses into the future which lead us filling fulfilled but also wanting more.

The illustrations continue to be colorful, detailed and so lush that the seem to jump from the page. I'm sad that this is the end of an era; however, Fables goes out on top.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#review #netgalley #Fables #BillWillingham #graphicnovel

REVIEW: Trashed by Derf Backderf

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review

Expected Publication: November 3, 2015

Illustrator and graphic novelist extraordinaire Derf Backderf (most notably of My Friend Dahmer fame) shares with readers an intimate, humorous and well informed look into the life and processes of garbage collection.  Trash. We all make and typically take for granted not only the collection process, those who work in this field and more importantly just how much trash individuals discard on a daily basis.

This graphic novel is a sincere yet biting look at this industry based on Backderf's own work experience as a trash collector. Fans of his work will see similarities.  Much attention is paid not only to dialog but also detailed black and white illustrations. There is certainly an edge of dark humor; however, what is most impressive is Backderf's incorporation of research, facts and additional statistics about the history of landfills and their impact on the planet.

As a reader, I came to this topic not entirely devoid of knowledge but I learned so much more and appreciate the author's message. Backderf's work sheds light on the issue in a unique manner and does so in a genre that will appeal to a wide audience. I continue to admire the author's style.  While black and white illustrations are less flashy than some, Backderf's attention to detail and artistic talent bring each illustration into focus.

Overall, I recommend this to fans of Backderf's work, graphic novel readers and those looking to be educated or teach other about trash and its effect on the environment in a uniquely humorous way.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

#trashed #derfbackderf #review #graphicnovel #netgalley 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

REVIEW: Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review

Speaking in Bones is the 18th and latest release in the Temperance Brennan forensic anthropology mystery series from author Kathy Reichs.  This novel certainly doesn't disappoint for fans of mystery thrillers steeped in suspense and science.

Despite all that science and law enforcement can do to solve crimes, there are inevitably those cases and questions which remain unanswered.  In her long career, Brennan has dealt with these such cases. Approached by "web-sleuth" (amateur detectives combing the Internet and other venues to tackle unsolved crimes) Hazel 'Luckey' Strike, Brennan learns that Strike believes she has info and the identity of one of our favorite forensic anthropologist's unsolved cases-- a young girl missing for several years named Cora Teague.

At first, Brennan is skeptical; however, soon some rather puzzling and significant discoveries thrust her into a perplexing mystery unlike others she's faced.  Filled with suspense, Reichs once again uses past professional experience and strong, emotional writing to weave a compelling story which will have readers breathless from beginning to end.

In addition to the case at hand, Brennan must still wrestle with the events of the previous book Bones Never Lie including her amusing, if not ailing, mother as well as her turbulent relationship with Detective Andy Ryan and his (SPOILER ALERT) surprising marriage proposal.

As a reader, if I had one criticism it would be that very rarely does Temperance Brennan learn her lesson.  Book after book, she wanders off to collect evidence, question potentially dangerous suspects or just plain snoop all by herself.  While she is usually smart enough to inform others of her whereabouts, it is painful to experience her making the same stupid mistakes.  Brennan is a scientist not a cop.  Don't got into a shootout with a flashlight and a spray bottle of Luminol. I've lost count how many times she's been whacked it the head, knocked unconscious or worse.  Hopefully, one day she'll learn.

I couldn't put this down and read it in a matter of hours.  If you are a fan of the series, the genre or forensics, then I wholeheartedly recommend that this be your next read.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @KathyReichs

#review #netgalley #mystery #temperancebrennan #bones #kathyreichs

Saturday, July 11, 2015

REVIEW: Falling Away by Jasinda Wilder

*Thank you so much to Jasinda Wilder for an autographed copy of this book via Goodreads!*

Falling Away marks the fourth and final novel in the Falling series.  Fans of the series (me included!) have been waiting not so patiently for Benjamin Dorsey's story after his heartbreak in Falling Under, when Ben's lifelong best friend, Kylie, chose Oz over him.  Ben has been in a downward spiral ever since. Traveling the country, working odd jobs and trying to ease his pain.  Things begin to look up with an opportunity to play football; however, a career ending injury crushes this dream.

Ben finds a kindred spirit in physical therapist, Cheyenne Leveaux. However, their friendship is short lived as tragedy strikes once again. Enter, Echo -- Cheyenne's beautiful, talented, wild, and emotionally devastated daughter. With an instant attraction, Ben and Echo lose themselves, for a time, in desire. Nonetheless, crippled by guilt and secrets, Ben just might lose his chance at happiness unless he pulls himself together, makes amends with those he loves and reconnects with Echo before she self-destructs.

As a reader, what I continue to find profound about this series and Wilder's work in general are the intricacies of character development.  The relationships and surrounding issues are realistic and contemporarily significant. Wilder has a knack for writing great character interactions while introducing and negotiating heart-wrenching themes of depression, grief, heartbreak, substance abuse and suicide. She does so in a way that is thoughtful and lends hope to her characters and readers.

In contrast, Wilder can write 'sexy' to rival some of the biggest names in fiction. Her erotic scenes will make the room seem just that much hotter. So, if you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for!?! Go forth and read!

Finished with this series? I also recommend Wilder's other series. Find out more about these on Goodreads. Need more emotional turmoil? Read the Ever Trilogy, Wounded or Captured.

P.S. If you're an audiobook fan, I highly recommend the entire series as a great listen.
Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @JasindaWilder

#fallingaway #review #romance #grief #goodreadsgiveaways #audiobook

Thursday, July 9, 2015

REVIEW: Insider by Olivia Cunning

A big thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for a fair review.  

Insider is the first book in Cunning's highly anticipated new series featuring rock band, Exodus End. The author continues to write in the genre that she does best, contemporary erotic romance, or what I've come to deem "hot rock".

The story picks up where the Sinners on Tour books left off but now predominately features the dangerous and devastatingly handsome rockers of Exodus End.  Readers are teased as to the intricate character backgrounds of books to come; however, this novel follows bassist Logan and his whirlwind, sexually charged relationship with Toni.

Toni has sacrificed much of her life and chance at independence to assist her mother in caring for her now 9 year old little sister with Downs Syndrome following the tragic death of her father. Touring with Exodus End to write an edgy and technology based interactive biography is Toni's first big break while working for her family's publishing company.  Needless to say, she is terrified that she'll fail and that her awkward, bookish nature won't lend to the band's trust, especially since they've been burned by the media before.

The attraction is instant. Toni cannot believe that daredevil bassist Logan wants her. He pushes her to claim her independence, her wild side, and take what she wants out of life. In turn, Logan is surprised how quickly Toni finds a place within his life and changes his outlook for what he wants for his future. There are plenty of twists and turns that make this a fun, sexy, and intriguing read.

Fans of Cunning's Sinners on Tour series won't be disappointed by cameos of our favorite couples. Furthermore, those looking for romance with just the right amount of screaming hotness are in luck. I can't wait for me in this series!

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Follow the author on Twitter: @oliviacunning

#netgalley #review #rock #erotica #romance #musicians #hotrock