Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: Fallen

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Karin Slaughter's Georgia series of books. I never expected her to pull her Will Trent and Grant County series together, but her doing so works incredibly well. (This is the second such book that pulls the two series together, and I suspect they'll be staying here.)

Faith Mitchell, an agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, arrives at her mother's to pick up her baby daughter, only to find her mother missing and blood on the door. In the course of going through the house, she finds one dead body and a hostage situation. Within the next 5 minutes, both the hostage and the hostage taker are dead at Faith's hands. And the nightmare is just beginning. Faith, and her partner Will Trent, need to find out - unofficially, since the GBI isn't being allowed near the case - what from Faith's mother's past has come back to haunt them all.

I'd been anxiously awaiting this book because I wanted to see more of Will, Faith and Sarah (one of the main characters from the Grant County series). The mystery was very well written, going in places I hadn't been expecting yet, when I looked back, I knew I should have realized. Watching the exploration of Will and Sarah's relationship was a real heart-warmer for me. (For all that I loved her husband, Jeffery, it had been over 4 years since Jeffrey's death and both Will and Sarah deserved happiness.) I was glad to be able to settle in and read through this one. Unfortunately, I had to return it to the library, but I suspect that I'm going to be picking it up again soon for a re-read.

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Review: Succubus Revealed

Succubus Revealed
Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the final book in Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid series. Georgina was once human, but sold her soul to Hell a few thousand years ago in return for everyone, including the husband that she'd hurt so badly, forgetting she existed. She'd have to work for hell as a succubus. It wasn't too bad for the first couple thousand years - though there were a few men that she left because she felt too deeply for them. But now, in the 21st Century, she's gotten tired of her job and fallen truly in love with a human writer, Seth Mortensen. But being a succubus means that nothing can be easy - particularly love.

Succubus Revealed starts up the Christmas after Seth saved Georgina from the Oneroi (dream spirits) and broke off his engagement with Georgina's friend in order to try to make things work between he and Georgina. Georgina has given up her much-loved job as manager at a local bookstore and is instead working as an elf for a mall Santa. Things are going as ok as they can for a succubus and a human when Georgina gets paperwork from Hell, transferring her to her dream location of Las Vegas. But things are a little too pat - her dream job, people she loves working with, a human job that she'd love doing. And Georgina, along with her friend Hugh and her roommate, Roman, have to find out just why Hell is getting so involved in her life.

I knew where a lot of this was going, but it didn't matter to me. I'm the kind of person that can read the end of a book and still love getting to that point anyway. I was glad to see Georgina finally get what she deserved and to see Hell get what THEY deserved. If it hadn't been for the machinations, Georgina may never have been curious enough to find out what was going on. They made their bed, and I was glad to see them lie in it.

It was a great end to a fantastic series, and it's one that I really need to get my hands on to own. Because I think I'd enjoy rereading this one quite a bit.

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Review: Bloodlines

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bloodlines is set in the same world as Richelle Mead's popular Vampire Academy series, this time looking at things from the point of view of Sydney, the human Alchemist that (somewhat reluctantly) helped Rose when she was on the run from a murder rap. Now the Alchemists, who are charged with making sure that the rest of human-kind doesn't know that vampires actually do live among them, have sent 18 year old Sydney back to school - as the supposed older sister of Moroi (or living vampire) Jill Masterson. Jill's life is in danger, since she's the only thing that is keeping her half-sister on the Moroi throne. So it's decided that it's best to get her out of the Moroi world all together. And the best place for that is Palm Springs, CA - where most Moroi wouldn't be able to handle the sun.

Of course, nothing is as easy as it could be. Sydney is under suspicion because of her assistance of Rose months earlier, Jill is feeling the strain of having to be so closely watched, and Sydney not only has to deal with another Alchemist that she hates, but mysterious tattoos that are showing up in school giving the humans with the tattoos some pretty impressive powers. Oh, and the bodies that seem to be showing up around the group as well.

It was wonderful to come back into the world of the Moroi, dhampires and Alchemists. I really liked the character of Sydney when she first came on the page so seeing her get a series of her own was fantastic. Also having some other favorites - particularly the super-sexy Adrian - was a plus as well. I'll admit that I'd expected that Keith (the other Alchemist) had something to do with something happening in Palm Springs, but the identity of the murderer threw me for a real loop.

If you've read the Vampire Academy series, then you'll definitely want to check it out. And if you haven't, but enjoy paranormal, you'll want to check out the Vampire Academy series and then read Bloodlines. I really can't wait for the next book in the series to come out!

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Review: Captain America: Road to Reborn

Captain America: Road to Reborn
Captain America: Road to Reborn by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Road to Reborn is a bridge between the Death of Captain America and Captain America: Reborn, giving the reader a glimpse into what has been happening with those that are important to Steve Rogers - or, as the world knew him, Captain America.

The stories were all good bridges, helping casual readers get ready for Cap's return. Of the stories, my favorite had to be Sharon's in the beginning, when she finally remembers the things that happened at the end of Death of Captain America. It was a strong story that I'd been wanting to see since I'd (granted, only a few minutes earlier) finished the end of the previous series. There was also a good look at Bucky and Cap, back in the days of WWII that I enjoyed.

I don't think these stories struck me quite as much as the stories from Death did, but they were a good read none-the-less. For Sharon's story and to give me an idea of what happened before I picked up Reborn, it was definitely worth the read.

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Review: Captain America (Volume 3): The Death of Captain America - The Man Who Bought America

Captain America (Volume 3): The Death of Captain America - The Man Who Bought America
Captain America (Volume 3): The Death of Captain America - The Man Who Bought America by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the conclusion of the Death of Captain America series, and I've got to admit, it went places I wasn't expecting.

S.H.I.E.L.D. finally knows what's really going on, and they do their best to stop it. They succeed, though partly due to Faustus helping Sharon Carter escape from Red Skull's programing and partly because Red Skull's daughter is too eager to prove herself to Daddy. There is a climactic fight at the end in Red Skull's headquarters, though Skull is one of the few that seems to escape... it's just not the way he was expecting.

As I said above, there were a few places that this story had gone that I just wasn't expecting. Why Sharon Carter was important, the loss of her child and what ultimately became of Red Skull were just a few of the things that widened my eyes as I read. Of all the characters, Sharon was the one that I felt the worst for by the end. While Faustus was doing her a kindness in erasing some things from her memory, I wish she'd had the chance to grieve.

All said, this was a fantastic series and it reads well for those that are fans of Super Hero comics but not necessarily familiar with the ins and outs of the Marvel universe.

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Review: Captain America: The Death of Captain America Volume 2 - The Burden of Dreams

Captain America: The Death of Captain America Volume 2 - The Burden of Dreams
Captain America: The Death of Captain America Volume 2 - The Burden of Dreams by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Burden of Dreams is a solid middle book for the Death of Captain America series, helping to bring the reader closer to the end game. It's where a large part of the action occurs - including Tony Stark revealing the letter to Bucky that shows that Steve (Captain America) wanted Captain America to go on, as well as Red Skull and Doctor Faustus ratcheting their plan up a notch by having brainwashed S.H.I.E.L.D. agents fire on protesters outside the White House.

This is, by far, the most action-packed of the three books and, as any second book should, makes you want to read the next one as quickly as possible. The artwork was as good as I'd come to expect from others, and the story had me turning pages quickly in anticipation. And one of the best lines comes from Bucky as he's taken on the mantle of Captain America. He goes to throw the shield at the bad guys and it looks like he misses, with the shield hitting a girder and bouncing away. The baddies know then that it's not Steve - not the real Captain America. But once the shield hits someone trying to sneak up on Bucky's partner, he admits that the shield went exactly where he'd meant it to.

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Review: Captain America (Volume 1): The Death of Captain America - The Death of the Dream

Captain America (Volume 1): The Death of Captain America - The Death of the Dream
Captain America (Volume 1): The Death of Captain America - The Death of the Dream by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Following directly on the heals of Civil War, the three books of the Captain America: The Death of Captain America series begins with Cap's assassination and follows the hunt for his killers, to the very end where the whole plot is revealed.

This, being the novel in which Cap was actually assassinated, was the most heart-wrenching for me. And I say that being a DC fan who hasn't read a lot of Captain America. But I do know enough of this icon for it to hit home. I was unfamiliar with many of the players in the game, but it didn't take much reading to get me up to speed (which, in my mind, is a good thing for graphic novels dealing with something as world-shaking as this). The story was able to engage me fully and I had a hard time not picking up the next one immediately because I needed to fall asleep.

Though for all that the story itself was a great read, the best part for me was reading the introduction. It told of how Cap's death came about and how they were able to keep this a secret until the books were released. It was a great view into the minds of those behind this momentous decision.

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Review: Gotham Central Vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead

Gotham Central Vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead
Gotham Central Vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth of the series, this book starts out with the Commissioner taking down the Bat-signal. Batman is now going to be among the wanted rather than someone the police go to when they need help taking down the biggest bads. It explores how GCP are trying to deal with this change. The second story involves a corrupt CSI that has a habit of taking things from crime scenes to sell and line his own pockets. This time, what he steals could cause an officer to lose his job. The final story is the longest of the three and gives us a glimpse into Star City as well, thanks to a Silence of the Lambs-like need to get the help from a madman that's locked up there.

The stories were interesting, but they didn't strike me as strongly as the previous books in the series. Still, getting a chance to learn more about the GCP's MCU was great. It primarily focused on Montoya and Allen, but they're a couple of my favorites, so that was a good thing for me.

I'm interested in getting vol 5, but my library doesn't have it currently. So... maybe sometime in the future.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Gotham Central Vol. 3: Unresolved Targets

Gotham Central Vol. 3: Unresolved Targets
Gotham Central Vol. 3: Unresolved Targets by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book covers two stories - one involving the Joker and the other involving the Mad Hatter. Both are incredibly engaging stories with a bunch of nuances that have you reading carefully.

The first half of the book follows the MCU as they search for the Joker because of his latest madness - the high-profile killings of some of Gotham's most important people. After the first couple of deaths, he sets up an elaborate trap to keep the MCU looking around in the wrong places while he turns himself in. It's a harsh story, leading to a death in the end. But it's a good one.

The second half brings former Detective Bullock back to the case that has haunted him for a long time. While not officially on the case, he steps into the MCU's case to supposedly try to help them. But it turns out that Bullock is completely blinded to the true story that emerges, instead being convinced of the truth that he wants to be there.

I don't know why, but these two stories didn't strike me as strongly as the first two graphic novels. The story wasn't bad, but it didn't quite give me the thrill in reading it as I'd gotten with the others. Still, it is a good read if you don't expect it to be as strong as the first two.

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Review: Gotham Central Vol. 2: Half a Life

Gotham Central Vol. 2: Half a Life
Gotham Central Vol. 2: Half a Life by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is one of the better ones of the series, not just for the stories contained within (all having to do with Two-Face's obsession with Detective Renee Montoya) but for the forward from the author. I loved the chance that Renee gave Two-Face in the beginning of the story, and had tears for her when Two-Face tried to ruin her life, succeeding in doing almost that.

I love the characters and the artwork in this book. I was expecting it to be a good series, since it covers one of my favorite topics, but I hadn't realized just how good this one was going to be. I don't think you necessarily have to read the first book to enjoy this one - each book seems fairly self-contained.

There are a lot of surprises through-out this book, which makes it harder to review, but it's definitely worth picking it up. As I mentioned, it's one of the best one in my opinion.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: Gotham Central Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty

Gotham Central Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty
Gotham Central Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another book that I'd picked up when I was looking for something quick to read. I figured, since it had Gotham in the title, that it would be a Batman-related story. And it was... somewhat.

Gotham Central takes a look at the lives of the police officers in the Gotham Central Police Department - most specifically, of the M.C.U. It's a great look at the everyday heroes that are trying to keep Gotham safe.

The first compilation has the member of the M.C.U. trying to find out who is responsible for the death of one of their own. Three cases combine and merge as the story continues, letting us see that there's more than just the Bat protecting the people of Gotham.

I really love this series. I love finding out about the characters that are just doing their jobs, not in it for the glory but for what they can do to help others. No, not everyone you meet in the GCPD are fine, upstanding citizens. There is still a lot of corruption. But those aren't the ones that are focused on.

I've picked up and read the next several books in the series (reviews coming tomorrow or the next day, or so I hope), and it continues to be great. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the superhero world, but wants to see what the regular heroes are like.

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Review: Civil War

Civil War
Civil War by Mark Millar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I mentioned in my previous review, I picked this up after reading Fallen Son. I wanted to read what brought about Captain America's death, thinking that it would be at the end of this book.

Well, I was wrong about that part. The book ended with Cap's surrender, which made me need to seek out the next books.

The civil war of the title is between the super heroes of the Marvel world. After a tragedy brought about by the foolish actions of some reality-show heroes, the public is clamoring for something to be done. And that something is making heroes take off their masks and register. The heroes are torn in two, each faction lead by a powerhouse of the hero world.

Leading the faction for registration is Tony Stark - Iron Man. He takes the tragedy very personally and feels it's the only way to keep things like what had happened from happening again (I don't want to give away too much because I don't want to hit anyone with spoilers). Leading those who are against registration is Steve Rogers - Captain America. He, and the others like him, think that requiring heroes to register is taking away their liberties. And the fight between the two sides gets very heated before it is all over.

The whole book was very moving and very touching. I enjoyed reading it quite a bit and, like many of the best books I've read, was making me want more immediately.

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Review: Fallen Son: The Death Of Captain America

Fallen Son: The Death Of Captain America
Fallen Son: The Death Of Captain America by Jeph Loeb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A couple weeks ago, I was looking for something quick to read while I was at the library. As usually happens, I went to the graphic novels to pick up something. I'd read quite a few of the DC GNs they'd had there, so I started looking at the Marvel. When I saw this title, I thought, "You know, I remember hearing about Captain America's death, but I don't know many details. I think I'll pick up this one."

Well, Fallen Son isn't the story of Captain America's death, but the way that his friends deal with the aftermath. I really liked the way that this was written, as each chapter was a different step of dealing with grief. It didn't surprise me much that Wolverine was the one that the denial chapter dealt with, or that Iron Man was the one making deals. Everything in the book fit my (admittedly limited) knowledge of the world.

Reading this made me go back and pick up the Civil War graphic novel to see what lead to the death of Cap. It's gotten me into a whole new world of comics that had never really interested me before. And I'm not regretting a minute of it.

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A New Home for My Book Reviews

As I mentioned on my main blog, Sanity's Overrated, I'm moving my reading reviews here to my new blog.  Welcome to Views from the Reader Side.

It will probably take me awhile to update and create this blog to be it's own special place, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the reviews I post here.  I'll be auto-linking from my GoodReads account, at least until I can get my Amazon Associates account shifted to this blog instead.

For those that are curious of the other books that I've reviewed over the last year, you can check them here out on my main blog.  I suspect I'll be bringing that page over here eventually as well.

Please let me know anything that you may want to see here.  Because I want this to be a place that you will all enjoy as well!