I live in New York City and I'm surrounded by books all day and when I go home I have more books waiting for me. Read my "About" page on top to see what I mean. I just want to share my book experiences and my love of all-things-books, with hopefully the occasional review thrown in. If you wish to contact me, the address is polishoutlanderATgmailDOTcom

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Prophetic nightmares. Near-brushes with death. Killers pursuing her and her friends. Stacey Brown knows that being a hereditary witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All she really wants to do is work things out with Jacob and figure out what to do with the rest of her life. But before Stacey and Jacob can have a future, they must face their pasts. Black is for Beginnings reveals the never-before-seen backstory – and what lies ahead – for the young, spellcasting lovers.

First off, I really enjoyed the Black is for Nightmares series. I read the first one just to see what it was about and soon after that, I found myself getting the other books from the library. At the end of the fourth book, I was desperate to know what would happen to Stacey and Jacob. This graphic novel pretty much ties up that huge loose end. Not only that, it gives you a glimpse into Jacob’s life before he ever met Stacey which was very-much needed. This story was quick and to the point and even though the story has come to an end, I do wonder if there will be more.  Dreams are definitely involved here, as they are in the previous books, but thankfully nothing horrible happens. It just focuses on Stacey and Jacob. I read this in one quick sitting, and afterwards I didn’t know whether to put it in my graphic novel section of the bookcases, or in my YA section next to the first book. Right now it’s sort of just floating between both.

One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die. In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children’s illustrator and author, recreates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama, where David — a highly anxious yet supremely talented child—all too often became the unwitting object of his parents’ buried frustration and rage.

This I had read for one of the book clubs at work. This one had caused quite the stir when it was announced that it was nominated for a National Book Award–in the Childrens’/YA category…when it was published as an adult book. I didn’t provide any more of the summary because I feel it gives too much away. When we met to discuss this, I was the odd-woman out (it just so happened that it was all women who met that day) because I didn’t like it. Rather, I was left feeling with the question of “And? So?” I will admit, his childhood was just awful; non one should have to experience what he did. But for some reason I couldn’t connect with it. It wasn’t that it was a memoir. That’s fine, I have no problem with that. But if I were to compare this to Blankets by Craig Thompson, it would be no contest (I loved Blankets and it was my first foray into graphic novels…thank you Narwhal Love and Lit). And that book was brought up in our discussion as well as a comparison. In a sense, it’s a regurgitation of a life story, as awful as it is…and for me this one didn’t click. Does it make me a bad person though? I sure hope not. I guess it just wasn’t for me. We did go into detail about the art and how the adults are always seen with their glasses on so they look like they have these weird goggles on. There was great attention to detail like that though so I will give credit where it’s due. But is it a childrens’ or a teen book? That was also debated and we came to no real conclusion; because let’s face it, if a kid or a teen wants to read something, they’ll find a way to read it, even if the books weren’t meant for them.

Scott Pilgrim’s life is totally sweet. He’s 23 years old, in a rock band, “between jobs,” AND dating a cute high school girl. Everything’s fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. Will Scott’s awesome life get turned upside-down? Will he have to face Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle? Short answer: yes. Long answer: Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1

I had no idea what this was when I first started to read this. I picked this up at New York Comic Con (I think…it could have been somewhere else though) and just knew that it was kind-of-a-big-deal. But I will say this: it was fun to read..except I don’t think I got the whole epic video-game-type of battle at the end with the first evil boyfriend. I’m pretty sure there were video game references throughout that I just did not get (I didn’t grow up with video games). But despite this, I liked the world that was created in Canada with convenient subspace highways. Granted, I won’t be rushing to get the other volumes but I will probably request them from the library…if they have them, and if not, I’ll wait for the big sale at Midtown Comics. One thing though…the main character dating a high-schooler in the beginning? Umm…for some reason that bugged me, even though everything in this world was harmless and part of me was, “Why on earth would he want to date someone so much younger to begin with?” So I’ll leave you with that. Oh, and apparently a movie is in the works, directed by Edgar Wright. He’s one of the men who brought you Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Yeah, I might go see that if he has a hand in it….

North World really isn’t that different from our own… the biggest difference is the presence of mythical monsters, talking bears, arcane arts, and, of course, the heroes who stand ready to defend the innocent and helpless from these extraordinary threats! Conrad is one such hero and he’s about to experience something scarier than any of the mighty beasts he’s faced down … his ex-girlfriend’s wedding!

This one was one where I could take it or leave it–I’m less inclined to read the next installment of this than the next  Scott Pilgrim. It was an interesting world, with a whole set of people who go out and kill beasts and monsters for assignment, plus a mystery of who the big-bad is in town causing up trouble. I guess I just feel so indifferent to this that I’m not sure what else to say.

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