Saturday, May 28, 2016

DC Universe: Rebirth #1 by Geoff Johns (Kinda review)

Title: DC Universe: Rebirth #1
Author: Geoff Johns


It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don't say we didn't warn you!

THEY SAID IT: "Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe," says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. "It brings back what has been lost: the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!"


So this is a thing I have been anticipating since I knew it was happening. And that was quite a few months back. And I am a little bit torn. 

Let me start this review off by saying I have never been into the Big Two. Neither DC nor Marvel gave me much to look forward to or anything really that I felt like trying. I was late to the whole comics fan club, so I stuck to the stories I knew I liked. And those were, and still are being published by BOOM! and Image comics, almost exclusively. I do dabble here and there in other publishers works, but for the most part, I like the types of stories that Image and BOOM! studios delivers. I am the audience for those comics, and I've always been okay with that. The whole capes comics never really interested me, from either Marvel or DC. 

That changed, however, when I heard that DC was resetting it's entire Universe. And for me, that seemed like the perfect opportunity to jump on the bandwagon of some pretty iconic superheroes. I thought that it was my chance to see what I've been missing, as I would be on the same ground floor as everybody else.

So, I waited. And I looked into websites, and blogs, and others opinions of the reset. And I did my research as to what titles were coming out, who was on the team, when they would be released. I have an entire three page outline of release dates for the comics in this reset I wanted to get my hands on (basically ALL of them). I've been counting down the release of the 80 page intro to the new world for over a month now. This has been one of the first events in a long time that I have anticipated this hard. That I have been this excited for. And I'm torn.

Release day happened this past Wednesday, and of course I had to work. So, I avoided all social media all day. Easy enough, I was supposed to be working... Then I got to the store, and saw the SOLD OUT card where my copy of this glorious start was supposed to be. I literally felt like crying. But I looked again, and saw the last copy of a variant cover (not the one I wanted, but it would due to get me the story). And I grabbed it.  I wasn't leaving the store without it.

When I got home, I sat down and started. Straight out of the gate I was let down, because there at the bottom of page one, there was a little publisher note saying that this story, the reset story, the beginning of the entire world, needed to be read after Justice League 50 and Superman 52. Well, I didn't have either of those comics, because from all the research I had done, this was going to start the entire thing off. So I hadn't expected being behind from the beginning. And that feeling carried throughout the comic. There were references to many characters that I frankly don't know, backstories and alternate worlds were referenced, again that I don't know. And the ending, the big was about characters and a story that I DON'T KNOW! 

Even through the confusion, I kept reading. How could I stop? This was the single most anticipated comic for me, well since I had started reading comics. Everything up until this point had always already been released, I didn't have to wonder or wait. The next one was always already there. With this DC Rebirth, I felt like a part of something. And I got left behind out of the gate. But, I finished it. And sat and thought about it. And then looked up spoilers, which I will refrain from mentioning because of, well spoilers. I had already read the comic, I just need clarification. 

I ended up really liking it. For what it was, a start to a new Universe. A reset, if you will. But not completely. I had this change of heart from my initial let down because I felt like I had a fresh perspective. I had no real expectations going into this series, I had no love of a certain character that was being let go or reintroduced. I was, if you will, falling for the Universe and it's inhabitants as the creative teams deemed fit to introduce or get rid of them. I may be a slight bit lost as to plot line direction, or even how the reveal was so shocking, but I still got the story for what it was. 

And I figure, we all have to start somewhere. Comic readers of now weren't reading comics back when all these superheroes were first introduced probably, so they were new at some point. And I am new, and I am glad I get to be on this bandwagon. This story was most definitely a feels read for me. And I liked that there seems to be a level of emotion going on with this direction of these stories. I look forward to reading the first issues of a lot of the characters that we see in this Rebirth issue #1 come June 1. 

I feel as if this wasn't a review of the actual comic story but of my journey to where I am now. But that is okay, I felt it necessary to talk about. And it's almost one in the same as with a review of the comic. 

I was once intimated by the Big Two, and the long list of backstory issues that I had missed, as well as trying to follow along with continuity and the vast perimeters the words of DC and Marvel encompass. But, thanks to DC Rebirth, no more! I am a cape fan, and look forward to the journey this will take me. This was a win in my book. A win for an entire new type of story that I will now be enjoying. 

And PS...DC please make sure I see a TON of Aqualad! He is by far my favorite introduction so far! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Berlin Package by Peter Riva

Title: The Berlin Package
Author: Peter Riva

Rating: 4.5 Stars!

A film producer, a handsome star, and an African safari guide must race to protect themselves and the world from a terrorist nuclear trade.

Film producer Pero Baltazar thought he was taking a Berlin filming assignment. He needed the work, needed to get back in the saddle after fighting off a life-threatening experience in East Africa—al-Shabaab had attacked his crew, intent on a much larger terrorist attack. Suddenly he finds himself under orders from his part-time employers at the State Department and the CIA when he is handed a mysterious package. It’s an assignment he doesn’t want. The problem is, it’s a job contracted by mysterious patrons who are prepared to kill him if he doesn’t deliver.

Pero—now in far too deep—turns to friends, old and new, to help him unravel the mystery of the package, uncover connections to Nazi concentration camp gold recently sold by the US Treasury, and thwart the ex–Stasi chief, now head of a powerful banking group.

In this fast-paced sequel to Murder on Safari, Pero calls on Mbuno, his friend and East African safari guide, to anticipate the moves of his enemies as if they were animals—dangerous vermin—who have kidnapped both the film star and director. Mbuno’s tracking skills may keep them from getting killed—provided Pero can rope in more help and keep the CIA at bay.

Exhilarating and expertly crafted, The Berlin Package is a gripping, page-turning thriller set in post–German reunification Europe.

So, like all Peter Riva's other books, I loved it! It was a tad slow in the beginning, which is why it didn't get the full 5 stars, but other than that I didn't have any problems.

This book brings back Pero, and he is in yet another situation that could mean his death. I love that Pero seems to always find himself in some serious predicaments. It makes for a great story. And I love that with this character, the constant dram level issues he is facing is believable. It isn't this goose chase of plot fillers. It seems to honest to goodness be Pero, and his life. This is one of the reasons this series intrigues me so much. I was worried before going into the first one that it would seem forced. And still had my reservations before this one, but it isn't. It just seems like another story in the life of Pero, and I sure hope there are more to come!

This story is a little different, as it kind of follows Pero and his connections in the State Department, which we got to see in the last book. It takes place in Berlin, and Pero must deliver a package. In this book we see Pero and some of our old friends from the previous books. Mbuno makes his appearance, which pleased me to now end. I loved how the author incorporates the kind of feel of the previous book into this one as well, even though it isn't taking place in East Africa, but in Berlin.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was slow, like I had said, but it sure picked up fast. Once it started going, I was unable to put the book down until the end. If you are looking for a quick and immensely action packed read, I suggest you pick up this book. As well as the previous one. They are great, summer blockbuster reads, for sure! 

Author's Bio:

Peter Riva has spent many months over 30 years travelling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books. He lives in Gila, New Mexico.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook
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Title: Soulless
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Author: Gail Carriger


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. 

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Reaching Angelica by Peter Riva

Title: Reaching Angelica
Series: Tag #2
Author: Peter Riva

Source: For Review


In a massive spaceship destined for Alpha Centauri B, with a genesis crew including Zip the telepathic dog, his old friendly nemesis Cramer, and a computer being name Ra (now inhabiting a human form and calling herself Aten), Simon Bank emerges from a hundred-year coma and is hailed as an awakened hero. Stuck with unwanted responsibility, he is forced to try and solve the entire enigma of the universe—a small undertaking—before the spaceship, his friends, and all life on Earth are swatted out of existence by super beings he has accidentally awakened.

Simon’s only hope is to plunge into other dimensions with his mind—into the secrets of the universe’s pan-dimensions—as only he knows how. The fate of all life hangs in the balance as he struggles to prove himself worthy of the Path and the absolute trust his friends place in him. Simon knows all too well that if he fails there is no hope—none at all—for anyone and that includes his best friend, an artificial intelligence computer called Apollo, which he sadly left behind. Besides, Zip would not be pleased, either.

For fans of cyberpunk and classic science fiction, Reaching Angelica is the second book in Peter Riva’s Tag series, the comic, thrilling, and continuing saga of Simon Bank—ex–master system computer wrangler and very unlikely savior of the universe.

Peter Riva has done it again. I have completely fallen in love with yet another one of his books! I think, after this one, I only have one more of his to read that is out, and I am both excited and saddened by this prospect. Because I have grown to love the characters and stories and worlds this author creates. 

Reaching Angelica is the sequel to The Path, and it again follows Simon, who is just the most unique character that I have been given the opportunity to get to know! And I love the premise of this one, where Simon has just awoken from a coma, one that has lasted a hundred years, and has to save Earth. He is accompanied by Zip, who is a dog...a telepathic dog, Cramer, and Ra/Aten. All of these characters are lovely and just add to the wonderful dynamic that this book creates. Peter Riva is able to blend personalities together to make a group of characters you won't soon forget. 

I greatly enjoyed the concept of using the mind as the tool to save humanity. And won't go into all the details of the hows and stuff, but it just added a layer to the story that made me want to keep going. There is all sorts of added plot points that keep this story on the fast track to amazing. 

The fun doesn't stop there. This book is packed full of twists and turns, and has a serious case of bind bending awesome writing. I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to lose myself into this book and Simon's newest adventure. Because I tend to suffer from Sequel Syndrome, in which I hardly like to touch a sequel with a ten foot pole. I don't know what it is, because it isn't a lack of wanting to know what happened, but more of a worry that the next book won't be as good as the first, and then I am disappointed, and yeah. But I am going to assume, from here on out, that all Peter Riva's books, sequels or first in a series or stand-alones or the directions to his microwave, will be great and a must read. Because after reading this, I now have a better appreciation for the urge to read an author's complete backlist and futures list. 

If you like science type books with killer character development and quirky awesome side characters, great story, and all the awesome you can imagine in one story, then this series is for you. I don't want to go to much into the plot, as it's a sequel, and I hate accidentally reading spoilers in reviews/blurbs of books. But I will say that this book is a must read if cyberpunk books are your thing! Read the first one The Path, and then quickly have this one ready as you will want to read it right away. 

**I did receive this book for review as part of a blog tour. All opinions are my own, and have in no way been altered based on the acquisition of the book**

I received this book for iRead Tours

Sex Criminals #1 by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarksy

Title: Sex Criminals #1
Suzie Down in the Quite
Author: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky



Suzie's a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John... who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. In the vein of THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN and BRIDESMAIDS, Image Comics invites you to come along with MATT FRACTION (Hawkeye, SATELLITE SAM) and CHIP ZDARSKY (Prison Funnies, Monster Cops) for the series that puts the "comic" back in “comics” and the "sexy" back in “sex crimes.”


So, I picked this trade up back when it first was released, and it sat on my shelf with countless other comics, unread. I finally decided that I wanted to get back into comics with the coming DC Rebirth and my subsequent childlike excitement over being at the ground point of a new Universe for characters I had previously written off as unaccessible to me, as an extremely late comics reader. With all that said, I used to buy a LOT of comus, in both single issue and trade, and for whatever reason kind of just stopped reading them. It wasn't that the ones I was reading were bad, I just kind of lost interest. But now I want to read what is on my shelf so I am free and open for all the new stuff that will be coming out next month! :) 

That long introduction out of the way, I really enjoyed the first issue of Sex Criminals. I figured it would be one that I absolutely fell in love with and obsessed over and wanted, no needed, ever single issue EVER. But sadly, it wasn't the best thing in the world. But it was pretty darn close. I went into this with too much expectation. I wanted another Saga, another We Stand on Guard...basically another Brian K. Vaughan. And that is my fault. I tend to get obsessed with writers and then everything I read is compared to the other writer, and it isn't fair to the book/comic at hand.

This was a fun and definitely very good start to a comic series I will be following. I haven't decided if I am going to only collect the trades, as I have the first one, or if I am going to start picking these up as the are released in single issue. That decision will be determined at a later date, when I have read the 4 remaining issues I have left.

I thought this issue opened the story out great. It hooked the reader with this insanely unique plot and ran with it. I liked the direction that this story is going with Suzie and Jon. I don't usually see great plot direction in the first issue of a series, as the writer and illustrator have a lot of ground work to cover to introduce the story and blah blah. But Matt Fraction was really able to tell you a story and show you where it might go, and get you to want to follow these characters. 

With all the sex and the explicitness of the series, there is an added layer of depth and realness that I really appreciated. I liked the backstory we are given about Suzie in the first issue, and think that even though this is supped to be a comedy of sorts, Matt and Chip are able to add something more to the series, to give it that extra edge, so to speak.

Very interesting start, and I will be continuing on. Solid read, and thing the artwork is absolutely stunning and fits the story very well. I love when the art and story just match up perfect! It makes for a more rounded experience with the comic, in my opinion.

That is all for now, but I highly suggest picking up the trade of this if you have the chance. Interesting and super engaging story...just should have not had We Stand on Guard be the last comic I had read so long ago...might have been 5 stars :D