Friday, January 13, 2017

Paul's TOP TEN Books Read in 2016

2016 was a year of uneven reading for me. I read a total of 47 books, but a big chunk of those were graphic novels. And when I did read, I did it in bursts. This was another great year for YA Fantasy books with the start of a few very promising series. 2016 was also a great year for representation and diversity in YA. 2017 is only going to improve. It's time to share my favorite reads of the year. Below you will find the TOP TEN books that I read in 2016. Click on the titles or cover pictures for links to my reviews!

 MY TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2016


False Hearts (False Hearts, #1)


Timekeeper (Timekeeper, #1)


Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

What were your favorite books of 2016? What books are you looking forward to in 2017?


Star Wars: Obi-wan and Anakin (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Obi-Wan & AnakinAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Star Wars: Obi-wan & Anakin

Author: Charles Soule
Illustrator: Marco Checchetto
Recent Release Date: July 19, 2016

Synopsis: Before their military heroism in the Clone Wars, before their tragic battle on Mustafar, and many decades before their final confrontation on the Death Star, they were Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his young Padawan, Anakin Skywalker. Now join them a few years into the "chosen one" Anakin's training. Teacher and student have grown closer over time, but it's been a difficult road. And things aren't about to get any easier. In fact, when they are called to a remote planet for assistance, the pair may be pushed to breaking point. As they find themselves stranded on a strange world of primitive technology and deadly natives, will they be able to save themselves? First they must learn who called for help...and why!


Review: A new Marvel Star Wars comic set in the prequel era! Obi-wan and Anakin takes place between episodes I and II. There are a lot of allusions of things to come. The Anakin and Palpatine relationship is interesting. Other than references and characterization, this comic is just another one-off. Obi-wan and Anakin end up stranded on a planet. They meet the local, interesting people and have an adventure. It reminds me of a Star Trek episode because it doesn't really effect anything else in the overall story. 

I want more Prequel era comics! I loved all the bits that took place on Coruscant and that related more directly to the overall Star Wars story. 

I give this graphic novel a 4/5. For those reading all of the new Marvel Star Wars comics, definitely read this one too, but if you're a more casual reader you could skip this one. Unless you're a Prequel era fan like me!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Timekeeper by Tara Sim - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Sky Pony Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

Timekeeper (Timekeeper, #1)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Timekeeper

Author: Tara Sim
Recent Release Date: November 8, 2016

Synopsis: In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.


Review: Timekeeper is a great example of a YA Fantasy with a gay protagonist. It's set in an alternate Victorian world where clock towers literally keep time in order. It's such an original idea. 

I give this book a 5/5. I want more books like this. I love how Danny's sexual orientation is just one aspect of him, but it still contributes largely to his character and the story. This is another book I should have written the review of sooner after reading the book. I can only tell you that I highly enjoyed reading this book. I finished it in just a few days. 


Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (audiobook) - Paul's REVIEW

AuroraAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Title: Aurora
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Year Published: 2015

Narrator: Ali Ahn
Audiobook Length: 16 hours 55 minutes

Synopsis: A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, Aurora tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.

Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now we approach our new home. Aurora.


Review: If you liked The Martian, I highly recommend Aurora. Science is at the forefront of this science-fiction novel. I liked that it wasn't just physics and engineering, too. There's a lot of population genetics and sociology. So much science goes into maintaining a generation ship, especially when things go wrong. 

There are a lot of great characters in this book, including the computer system. 

I listened to this book in audiobook format and I found it really interesting and when I got lost, it didn't take me too long to get back on track. 

I give this book a 4/5. If you're into hard science-fiction, this is a must-read. 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake
Recent Release Date: September 20, 2016

Synopsis: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


Review: I am loving these YA Fantasies with ensemble casts! Just like Truthwitch, I absolutely loved this book. The world is big. The characters are well developed. The magic is so interesting. 

The different types of magic are so interesting. I wanted to jump into this world and explore it. This is just the first book and I am excited to more to come!

I give this book a 5/5 and highly recommend it. I know this review was pretty void of details, but I don't want to spoil anything. If you like Fantasy YA, this is a must read!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Paul's REVIEW

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Upcoming Release Date: July 31, 2016

Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


Review: I was disappointed. There was so much potential. This just comes off as fan fiction. I understand that this is the script for a play, but the things that I didn't like are basic story elements. Those elements might be covered up by glitz and explosions when you see it on stage, but they were my biggest grievance. 

I do not like how time travel is used in this book. Time travel was done so well in the Harry Potter series. The rules introduced here seem so arbitrary and don't make sense. It seems more like a way to show scenes and characters that the audience will enjoy. 

The tacked on romance at the end is so stupid. The Harry Potter series gets flack for the relationships set up late in the series, but Rowling did an excellent job of writing friendship. This book is the opposite. It writes a budding romantic relationship so well, but it calls it just a friendship in the end.

There are good things this book did. Slytherin was shown in a different light. Complexities of adulthood and the difficulties of parenthood were shown well. 

I wanted so much from this book so maybe I am being unfair in my critique, but I give this book a 2/5. I absolutely want to see this play. I may even read this book again, but I don't think it is good. The rating is also comparing it to the standard I have for all things Harry Potter.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard - Paul's REVIEW

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Truthwitch

Author: Susan Dennard
Recent Release Date: January 5, 2016

Synopsis: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. 


Review: Why did no one make me read this book sooner!?! It's such a ME book. There's an ensemble cast. There's wonderful worldbuilding. An amazing magic system. Beautiful writing. It's the whole package. 

Dennard is such a great writer. The characters all have their own voices and interact in such cool combinations. There's an unknown greyness to a lot of characters, which I love. There's moral complexity. It's not an easy black-and-white/good-and-evil story. 

This is only the first book in the series and I'm already hooked. It reminds me of Star Wars and Avatar/Korra. There's such a big world and I am ready to explore it. 

I obviously HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book! And I will be reading its sequel very soon! I give this book a 5/5. It's just so wonderful I don't know what more to say about it. Just go buy it. Read it. Then fangirl about it with me!


The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin (Illustrated) - Paul's REVIEW

The Ice DragonAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Ice Dragon

Author: George R. R. Martin

Synopsis: The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.


Review: This illustrated book tells a fairy tale from the world of Westeros. It's cool to think that this is a story heard by our favorite characters in Game of Thrones. The art matches the tone of the story, feeling cold itself. The ink being shades of blue helps with that. 

I give this book a 4/5. It's a nice gift for diehard Game of Thrones fans, but it doesn't add too much or is a necessary buy. 


Monday, January 9, 2017

Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston - Paul's REVIEW

AhsokaAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Ahsoka

Author: E. K. Johnston
Recent Release Date: October 11, 2016

Synopsis: Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance….


Review: I am a big fan of what has become of the Star Wars books since the Disney buy. Ahsoka is another Young Adult Star Wars novel and just like Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, this book is a must read!

This book follows Ahsoka between Order 66 and her appearance on Rebels. There were so many things hinted at that I wanted to know more about. Ahsoka is one of my favorite Star Wars characters and I loved getting a book from her perspective. 

I hope there are more books like this. Johnston did an excellent job of capturing Ahsoka's personality. Fans of Clone Wars and Rebels should read this book. 

I give this book a 5/5. It's a necessary read for Ahsoka fans! 


Updraft by Fran Wilde (audiobook) - Paul's REVIEW

Updraft (Bone Universe, #1)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Title: Updraft
Author: Fran Wilde
Year Published: 2015

Narrator:  Khristine Hvam
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 6 minutes

Synopsis: In a city of living bone rising high above the clouds, where danger hides in the wind and the ground is lost to legend, a young woman must expose a dangerous secret to save everyone she loves.

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage. 

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city's secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever - if it isn't destroyed outright. 


Review: There's some really cool worldbuilding in this book. Spires made of living bone. An interesting caste-like system of job assignments. Flying through the clouds. But, I found I had more questions that were never answered about the world. 

I listened to this book in audiobook format and it took me awhile to finish it. I couldn't really get into the book. There were many slow parts. 

Overall, it was a fun, enjoyable book. But, it could have been so much more. I give this book a 3/5.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull (audiobook) - Paul's REVIEW

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True InspirationAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Title: Creativity, Inc.
Author: Ed Catmull
Year Published: 2014

Narrator: Peter Altschuler
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 52 minutes

Synopsis: Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation - into the meetings, postmortems, and "Braintrust" sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture - but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, "an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible."

For nearly 20 years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner 30 Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired - and so profitable.


Review: This book covers a combination of topics: business, creativity, and managing. It's also an autobiography. It covers the creation of Pixar and how it became the huge entity in entertainment it now is. I really enjoyed every aspect of this book. I found it so intriguing. Steve Jobs shows up as well as other big names that effected Pixar throughout the years. 

I give this audiobook a 5/5. I recommend it to creative types interested in how to merge the business and art of entertainment. Also, fans of Pixar, who like to see behind the scenes, will love this!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray - Paul's REVIEW

BloodlineAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Star Wars: Bloodline

Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: May 3, 2016

Synopsis: When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy. 

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing. . . .


Review: Claudia Gray is so good at writing Star Wars. If you haven't read Lost Stars, her YA novel that covers the whole of the original trilogy, you need to read it now! In this book, Gray tackles the difficult task of showing Leia between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. She did a wonderful job!

Politics are very present in this novel. I enjoyed the politics of the prequels and I liked seeing how the political climate changed after the fall of the second Death Star. There are interesting parallels to our own two-party system in America. 

Gray does a great job of filling some holes and hinting at other events that have taken place in our favorite characters' lives since the Emperor's death. Marriage. Ben. 

I love when there's characters that are just casually lgbt!

Ransolm Casterfo is such a well written character. You may dislike him at first, but when you spend time with him you start to understand his perspective. 

The glimpses we get into Han and Leia's relationship just barely wets the tongue, but it is so satisfying! I want Gray to write all the Star Wars books!

This Star Wars book is about an older woman in a relationship having a friendship with a younger man. That along with the politics and perspectives really make this book a product of its time. So 2016! I can't wait for even more modern Star Wars in 2017! Hopefully written by Claudia Gray!

I give this book a 5/5! It's one of my favorite Star Wars books! So well written. Amazing complex characters. Claudia Gray is queen!


Friday, January 6, 2017

Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3 (comic): The Shu-Torun War

Darth Vader - The Shu-Torun WarAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3: The Shu-Torun War
Author: Kieron Gillen
Illustrator: Salvador Larroca
Recent Release Date: August 9, 2016

Synopsis: The Dark Lord of the Sith's unstoppable march continues! The natives of Shu-Torun are revolting, and there's no way the Empire will stand for that. When Darth Vader is tasked with leading a military assault against the planet, could it be that his rise to glory has begun? But who will follow Vader into war? Would you? Then again, it's better to fight alongside Vader than against him. That's a lesson that the ore barons are about to learn.


Review: I miss Doctor Aphra. The droids are fun. This volume finds Darth Vader dealing with a war and royal families on a supply planet. I am so over the other potential apprentices of the Emperor. They're annoying. 

Queen Trios is a really interesting character. I like the culture of glamour and dukes on this planet. An intensely courtly culture. 

I give this volume a 3/5. It continues the Darth Vader story, but nothing special happens in this volume. Hopefully the next volume picks up the pace. 


Thursday, January 5, 2017

LOVE IS LOVE (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Love Is LoveAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Love is Love

Edited by: Marc Andreyko

Synopsis: The comic book industry comes together to honor those killed in Orlando this year. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics - - mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today's world.


Review: This comic is beautiful. It's amazing how so many different writers and illustrators came together to make this happen. The proceeds benefit victims, survivors, and their families through Equality Florida. One- and two-page stories fill this graphic novel. Some are illustrations, while others are poems or comic strips. They address different aspects of the Pulse tragedy, some directly and some more broadly. 

The Pulse incident was very close to me. I've been to Pulse many times, having gone to college less than an hour away. I even had my first kiss with my now husband there. The night of the shooting, I had friends that left mere minutes before it started. Many of the stories bring me back to that Sunday morning, trying to get a hold of any friends that may have been there. 

My eyes were wet after reading this whole graphic novel in one sitting.

I give this graphic novel compilation a 5/5. You should buy this now! Not only are there wonderful stories and reflections of the LGBTQ community, but it goes to a wonderful cause. 


Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from ABRAMS Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

OtherboundAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Otherbound

Author: Corinne Duyvis
Recent Release Date: June 17, 2016

Synopsis: Amara is never alone. Not when she's protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they're fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she's punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can't be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he's yanked from his Arizona town into Amara's mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He's spent years as a powerless observer of Amara's life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan's breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they'll have to work together to survive--and discover the truth about their connection. 


Review: This is a review I should have written right after reading this book. I really enjoyed it and can't remember all the details, but the emotions are coming back to me. This book has a lot of wonderful representation. The relationships are complex. This book deals with the idea of reliance on someone else to live. The idea of only being kept alive because you are helping someone "better" than you live. 

Sign language is featured in this book. It was very interesting to read about. Sexuality is also shown in a different way. Nolan is a virgin, but has experienced/seen Amara having sex.

I liked how the concept of different worlds and travelers between those worlds was seen as spirits. 

Families are portrayed well in this book. Handicaps effect the whole family. Sibling bonds are shown. 

The ending is also great!

I give this book a 5/5! It's a fantasy book with representation. There need to be more books like this in the world!


Star Wars Vol.3: Rebel Jail (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Star Wars - Rebel JailAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Star Wars Vol.3: Rebel Jail
Author: Jason Aaron
Illustrators: Mike Mayhew and Leinil Yu 
Recent Release Date: August 16, 2016

Synopsis: What comes next for the Rebels after the events of Vader Down? Find out as the adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends continue! The Rebel crew are en route to a prison base with a very important captive. But, unlucky for them, they aren't the only ones with their eyes on this prize! And, in another

tale from the journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi, journey back to the Jedi's days of exile on Tattooine. Moisture farmer Owen Lars may have taken in young Luke, but he refused to let Ben be part of the boy's life. Now, prepare to discover the reason why!


This volume is pretty thick. There are additional stories before and after the ongoing Star Wars series. Annual 1 starts out this volume.It is a story of a Rebel spy trying to take out the Emperor himself. The volume ends with another Kenobi story. Young Biggs and Luke appear. And the origin of Black Krrsantan's scar. 

I really enjoyed learning about Sana and Aphra's history together. and Nerf herding reference!

The stinger at the end is great!

I give this whole volume a 4/5, but I give the Annual 1 that starts it out a 5/5. it's a great continuation in the Star Wars ongoing comic, but nothing too special.  


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

False Hearts by Laura Lam - Paul's REVIEW

False Hearts (False Hearts, #1)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: False Hearts

Author: Laura Lam
Recent Release Date: June 16, 2016

Synopsis: Orphan Black meets Inception: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult. 

One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood.

She’s arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect involvement with Verve, a powerful drug, and offer her twin sister Taema a chilling deal. Taema must assume Tila’s identity and gather information – then if she brings down the drug syndicate, the police may let her sister live. But Taema’s investigation raises ghosts from the twins’ past.

The sisters were raised by a cult, which banned modern medicine. But as conjoined twins, they needed surgery to divide their shared heart – and escaped. Taema now finds Tila discovered links between the cult and the city’s underground. Once unable to keep secrets, the sisters will discover the true cost of lies.


Review: Laura Lam is awesome! If you haven't read Pantomime, you need to! Add it to the top of your tbr list right now! You have plenty of time to read it and its sequel Shadowplay before the third book comes out in March. Also, you should follow Laura Lam on twitter @LR_Lam. But I should get back to this book...

False Hearts takes place in a near future San Francisco where a drug called Verge is popular. The worldbuilding, even from the start, has so much depth and realness. It is futuristic, but plausible. Laura Lam's writing is beautiful. 

The structure of the story is done in an interesting way. Tila is in the present. Taema tells the story of the past in parallel. This is the perfect medium for this story to be told. I just am so amazed how much of an amazing storyteller Laura Lam is. 

There is so much in this book that sounds weird out of context, but comes together so well. Conjoined twins. Feelings of loss. Togetherness. Cults. Technology. Drugs. 

Obviously, I give this book a 5/5. I HIGHLY recommend it and everything else Laura Lam does. 


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 1 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 1Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 1
Author: Kyle Higgins
Illustrator: Hendry Prasetya
Recent Release Date: September 13, 2016

Synopsis: Longtime fans of the smash-hit show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and newcomers to this ensemble driven series, will discover a deeply compelling world packed with highflying adventure and tremendous heart. Welcome to Angel Grove. Home to the Power Rangers and weekly monster attacks. Tommy Oliver was the new kid in town when evil doer, Rita Repulsa, swooped in and made him the Green Ranger. Now, free from her mind control, Tommy struggles to find balance between the plights of high school, making new friends, and the dangers that come with being a hero. Writer Kyle Higgins (C.O.W.L., Nightwing) and artist Hendry Prasetya (Voodoo vs. Green Lantern) explore the untold story in the life of the Green Ranger as he struggles to overcome his demons and learns to trust again. This collection also features short stories from Steve Orlando (Midnighter), Corin Howell (Bat-Mite), Mairghread Scott (Transformers:Windblade) and Daniel Bayliss (Kennel Block Blues).


Review: I've been getting back into the Morphin' mindset in anticipation of the upcoming 2017 movie. I've rewatched the original show on Netflix and wasted hours lost on Power Rangers wikipedia pages. I knew I had to read this new comic by BOOM! Studios. 

This comic takes place during the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but some elements have been updated and modernized. One of the biggest changes I noticed was the focus on the teenage lives of the kids. Their families are mentioned and some are even seen. They discuss AP History. Trini's father has an interesting story.

Another element that is more at the forefront than in the original tv show for children is the complexities of war. It wasn't at the surface of the show, but came up in many 90's teen war stories (like my favorite, Animorphs!). Team work is an element that definitely was in the original show. Trusting in the team is a big part of this comic. 

The rangers all kept their personalities from the show, but are also made into more rounded characters. I liked seeing Trini and Billy's friendship. Kim's snarkiness.

The villains also get some depth. Scorpina and Goldar are both featured. 

 This first volume ends with a cliffhanger and I've already heard so much about the second volume that sounds amazing! This comic is a well written, modern take on the 90's Power Rangers. I did not expect to like it this much. And I want more! There's even a fun Bulk and Skull story at the end of this first volume. 

I give this first volume a 5/5! I highly recommend it to fans of the original Power Rangers, whether you still watch the recent incarnations of the franchise or haven't thought about Power Rangers since Tommy lost his green ranger powers.